Festivus: The ‘Seinfeld’ holiday for airing grievances is for everyone this year

It’s time to celebrate a holiday that allows us to maintain a healthy dose of anger.

That’s right, there is Festivus.

December 23 is Festivus, a day dedicated in (television) history to all who feel that regular holiday traditions don’t quite fit the bill this year.

In pre-pandemic times, Festivus was for those more willing to embrace their inner “Bah’s bullshit” than the spirit of Christmas. It’s fair to say that more of us may be in this camp than ever before and the antidote, or at least an outlet that may be healing for us this year, is Festivus.

The holiday comic was born on the TV show “Seinfeld” on December 18, 1997, when George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, revealed that his father (played by the late Jerry Stiller) created the day to meet the religious and commercial aspects of the traditional December holiday. Jerry Seinfeld, the hero on his show of the same name – which ran on NBC from July 5, 1989 to May 14, 1998, with nine seasons and 180 episodes – cares about the holiday and its special rituals.
And if we get really technical, Festivus may have roots going back to 1966 when “Seinfeld” writer Dan O’Keefe, who introduced Festivus in the plot line, first heard that his father was dreaming of the holiday. “Festivus for the rest of us!” It’s the slogan that caught like wildfire after the episode.

Eid traditions

The holiday comes complete with a host of traditions to match sPandemic economic year, new variables, more potential lockdowns and otherwise gloom, including a fading pole instead of a brightly lit tree.

Perhaps the most poignant Festivus tradition is to invite a special party known as “broadcasting grievances,” where you can tell the people in your life how they disappointed. I’m sure ‘Seinfeld’ was still producing new episodes, they would expand the standards of Festivus to allow you to complain about the pandemic and everything else upside down in your life.

I, for example, will happily gather around a capricious and rescued pole and complain my head. I’m going to talk about all the missed family gatherings, missed dates with friends, and my child’s missed play dates. I will even grumble about the missed moments when I could meet a stranger, make a new friend, a neighbor, a new opportunity, or a new breath of life. I feel better just thinking about all the complaining, about letting 2021 In one fell swoop, it’s all in the name of Festivus!

I hope I feel better and be grateful for my family’s doing well and my child will have more fun ripping off the wrapping paper and playing with the box that took forever to arrive.

I know aerating my fist can be analgesic, but too much complaining, like too much anything, may not be good for me.

“The trick to doing this in an emotionally healthy way is to distinguish between two types of grievances—those we can do nothing about and those we actually wish to resolve,” said Jay Winch, a clinical psychologist in New York. who has a following as Dear Guy on TED and as co-host of the Dear Therapists Podcast, via email, in a previous interview.

If your complaint transcends things beyond your control, such as illness, canceled vacation plans, or work stress, then “By all means stand around that column and breathe,” Winch said.

But if you have some measure of grievance control, the answer may not be to yell in a rough column while others listen. Choose instead to address grievances with them directly, or “scream into the abyss but don’t create tension and fights that can destroy what would be a beautiful (tongue-on-cheek) celebration of pettiness, misery, neighing and victimhood,” Winch said.

Just complaining isn’t a helpful strategy, according to Tina Gilbertson, a Denver psychologist and author of Constructive Indulgences: How to Overcome Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Up for Them.

“Valuing your grievances is only half the battle when it comes to feeling better,” she said. In a previous interview. Make sure someone endorses the feelings behind each complaint, or do it yourself. For example, if you say, ‘I hate feeling trapped at home,’ give them a response like, ‘Yes!’ It is terrible to feel trapped at home. “Every darkness needs a loving witness to be healed.”

For those who want to really get into the discourse of the law of Festivus, the column and complaints are followed by an attempt to identify literally everyone around you. This is clearly unwise if you are quarantining or avoiding unvaccinated relatives, or if you expect them to cook dinner later. But it can be comforting to wrestle with your housemates and let off some of that extra tension, as long as no one gets hurt.

However, there is reason to stop before getting down to business.

“I think ‘publishing grievances’ as described on ‘Seinfeld’ is probably the last thing we need this year,” David Sussman, a licensed psychiatrist based in Lexington, Kentucky, said by email.

“With the compound stresses of COVID-19, political conflict, and racial unrest as of 2020, we need to focus on positivity, healing, and collaboration for now,” added Sussman, who is also an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky.

What a party spoiler.

This year, Festivus, a holiday born in American television, which we have counted on this year of staying at home, is not appropriate. the rest of us as far as it is most of us. So, go ahead, raise your call and voice your grievances. Maybe leave a little room for positivity if you can, because even George Costanza’s dad smiled occasionally.

This story was updated from the December 2020 story.

Alison Hope He is a New Yorker writer who prefers humor over sadness, travel on television, and coffee over sleep.

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