Thursday, December 25, 2008


TV is not all junk. Or at least, sometimes it's good junk. Seinfeld was my lifeline during the darkest years of my illness, and this holiday season I've been remembering fondly one of the best episodes, the one about Festivus.

Festivus is a winter holiday Mr. Costanza invents when he is fed up with Christmas. (Who hasn't felt that way from time to time?) There are no gifts. The only decoration is a metal pole, the only traditions are The Airing of the Grievances and The Feats of Strength.

(Still not sure what Festivus is? click here.)

This year I've been feeling the Festivus spirit rather than the Christmas spirit. To start, I couldn't get into gifts this year. I've been busier than I should be with the house I just bought, which is undergoing remodeling for energy efficiency and a few modern conveniences (like a shower), and meanwhile I've been feeling that we all have plenty enough stuff. The drive to have more and more stuff has lead the country and the world into economic and ecological disaster, and I'm just not feeling it that the solution is to go out and buy more.

I thought I'd found the perfect solution to my gift quandry at the eco-house remodeling store: energy saving outlet extenders. I bought one for everyone in the family and had them shipped back to DC.

"Don't expect much, there more like Festivus presents than Christmas presents," I told my relatives.

The only problem: the eco-store mixed up addresses and two days later a big box of outlets arrived on my doorstep in Seattle. So no presents for my family after all-- even more in line with the Festivus spirit.

Meanwhile, at the new house a mysterious metal pole, secured in a cement base, stands tall in the back yard. (Here it is in the picture, to the left of me. It's a bit difficult to see.) "What's that?" a recent visitor asked. It had me baffled as well, but suddenly it clicked, "It's a Festivus pole!"

My brother got into the swing of things tonight and wished me happy Festivus when we spoke on the phone.

It turns out we aren't the only ones remembering the holiday. In Washington DC, one neighborhood has dedicated a few outdoor bulletin boards to The Airing of The Grievances, and in my own Washington State, a Festivus display went up at the state Capitol Building.

The Poet and I got a laugh out of this reaction. Enjoy!

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