Saturday, December 17, 2016


                         HAPPY FESTIVUS  


The Winter Holiday season, in particular Christmas  are portrayed in our society as the happiest time of the year, an opportunity to be joyful and grateful with family, friends and colleagues.

It has always seemed to me that this time of the year highlights the hypocrisy of Society by designating the period for everyone to be joyful, compassionate toward those less fortunate, being friendly, courteous, and doing "all the right" choreographed things in their interactions with others.

Suddenly sick children in hospitals are showered with free gifts by strangers, magical Santa Claus appears to provide needy children with toys, the poor are given free warm clothes, food, and treated as human beings.

What about the rest of the year, when most of these very same people who are still suffering, become invisible, ignored by most others, where does the kindness they received during the Holiday Season go? It simply disappears, these humans no longer are worthy of being recognized.

According to the National Institute of Health Christmas/Holiday Season is the time of year that people experience a high incidence of depression.

Hospitals and police forces report high incidences of suicide and attempted suicide.

Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers and other mental health professionals report a significant increase in patients complaining about depression.

One North American survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded the season.

It appears to have more to do with unrealistic expectations and excessive self-reflection for many people.

For some people, they get depressed at this time of the year and even angry because of the extreme commercialization with the focus on gifts and the emphasis on "perfect" social activities.

Others get depressed because it appears to be a trigger to engage in excessive self-reflection and rumination about the inadequacies of life (and creates a "victim" mentality) in comparison with other people who seem to have more and do more.

Still others become anxious because of the pressure (both commercial and self-induced) to spend a lot of money on gifts and incur increasing debt.

Some report that they dread Christmas because of the expectations for social gatherings with family, friends and acquaintances that they'd rather not spend time with.

And finally, many people feel very lonely at Christmas, because they have suffered the loss of loved ones, are distant from family members, or live alone.

To counter all of this, I suggest that we all look back to the truly positive holiday spirit of "Happy Festivus" which is the traditional greeting of Festivus, a holiday featured in "The Strike" episode of The Seinfeld Televison show aired on December 18, 1997.

According to the Seinfeld model, Festivus is celebrated each year on December 23rd. 

However many people celebrate it other times in December, and even at other times throughout the year.

The slogan of Festivus is "A Festivus for the rest of us!"

The usual holiday tradition of a tree is replaced by an unadorned aluminum pole, which is in direct contrast to normal holiday materialism.

Those attending Festivus may also participate in the "Airing of Grievances" which is an opportunity to tell others how they have disappointed you in the past year, followed by a Festivus dinner, and then completed by the "Feats of Strength" where the head of the household must be pinned.

The Festivus celebration includes four main components:

The Festivus PoleThe tradition begins with an aluminum pole, which is used for its "very high strength-to-weight ratio."

During Festivus, the unadorned Festivus Pole is displayed.

The pole was chosen apparently in opposition to the commercialization of highly decorated Christmas trees, because it is "very low-maintenance," and also because the holiday's patron, Frank Costanza, "finds tinsel distracting."

The Airing of Grievances: At the beginning of the Festivus dinner, each participant tells friends and family of all the instances where they disappointed him or her that year.

As quoted from Frank Costanza: "I've got a lot of problems with you people, and now you're going to hear about it!"

Festivus Dinner: A celebratory dinner is shown on the evening of Festivus prior to the Feats of Strength. In the episode the meal appeared to be meat loaf or spaghetti in a red sauce.

The Feats of Strength: After the dinner, the head of the household tests his or her strength against one participant of their choosing.

Festivus is not considered over until the head of the family has been pinned. However, a participant may be allowed to decline to attempt to pin the head of the household only if they have something better to do instead.

Set aside today, or any day this month, including December 23rd and break out the meat loaf, because Festivus is once again upon us!