Dirty Laundry

Dirty Laundry

Dirty Laundry

Happy Festivus, everyone!

Festivus, of course, was introduced to the world thanks to a 1997 episode of Seinfeld. Festivus is a protest holiday that takes place on December 23 in response to the commercialization of Christmas. On the show, it was created by Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller).

Frank hilariously explains, “Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.”

Thanks to the popularity of the iconic sitcom, Festivus is now playfully celebrated by many Seinfeld fans the world over. That alone could potentially be considered a “Festivus miracle.”

The Actual Origin of Festivus

While this holiday seems like something cooked up in a writers’ room, Festivus has origins in reality. Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe co-wrote the episode honoring Festivus, and it was his father who actually invented it.

In a 2009 Q&A with The Washington Post, O’Keefe shares that many of the one-liners from this Seinfeld episode were created in the writers’ room, except for one. He said, “‘A Festivus for the Rest of Us’ was an actual family Festivus motto, referring initially to those remaining after the death of my father’s mother, and then coming to mean in general a forward-looking focus on life and the living, i.e. ‘Let the dead bury the dead.'”

Later in that same Q&A, O’Keefe shared there was never a set date for Festivus and that it was celebrated “whenever the hell my Dad felt like it.” It was celebrated between September and May. One year, his family didn’t celebrate Festivus at all, while another year, there were two celebrations.

He also revealed it wasn’t until he was eight years old that he realized his Dad made up Festivus. He came to this realization after sharing with another kid on his school bus that his family celebrated Festivus the previous night, and this other kid had no idea what he was talking about.

Now, before the “Airing of Grievances” or the “Feats of Strength,” consider looking back on the countless Seinfeld-isms that have become part of the pop culture lexicon. Think of it as another “Festivus Miracle,” if you will.

  • Festivus

    People celebrate Festivus now.  Seriously, here’s a Festivus kit for sale on Amazon!

  • 'Hello…Newman'

    Know someone you can’t stand? Ever greet them with the same disdain? Stop kidding yourself; yes, you have!

  • The Jerk Store

    We’ve all met someone who belongs in The Jerk Store. Perhaps you can air your grievances about them on Festivus!

  • 'You’re So Good Looking'

    …And sneezes have never been the same! Also, this is truly an underrated Seinfeld-ism.

  • 'Shrinkage'

    HE WAS IN THE POOL! Also, poor George! You just really feel for him in this moment.

  • '…Not that there’s anything wrong with that'

    This is easily one of the most versatile Seinfeld-isms from the whole series. We bet you use it more often than you think.

  • 'No soup for you!'

    Seinfeld has changed the way we look at soup since this classic episode! Do you have any idea the kind of reach you need to have to change the way people think about soup?!

  • 'Spare a square'

    You know a show is influential when you could be sitting on the toilet and think about it. Also, we all should be generous and spare a square for someone in need.

  • Man hands

    Jerry was always picky about his women. However, this was easily one of our favorite “deal breakers” of his.

  • 'Master of your domain'

    Really…this entire episode is a prime example of just how good the writing was. Plus, we imagine it launched countless other similar bets with friend groups.

  • 'Sponge-worthy'

    The fact that Luke from Gilmore Girls is the one trying to prove himself to be “sponge-worthy” makes this clip even better. (We bet Lorelai would consider Luke “sponge-worthy.”)

  • 'Yada Yada Yada'

    Anyone else “yada yada’d” sex?  Anyone…anyone?

  • Regifting

    Some of us have “regifted” pre-Seinfeld, but they helped coin the term. In fact, we bet there’s a lot of regifting this time of year.

  • Schmoopie

    My in-laws call each other “schmoopie.” Even though they’re just kidding around, it’s still gross.


  • 'These pretzels are making me thirsty!'

    Regardless of the type of pretzel, it’s hard not to think of this Seinfeld-ism when you’re eating them. Similar to soup, they’ve even impacted how we think of pretzels!

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