Dec. 13 marks our third annual Festivus party, and interest continues to grow.
Why Festivus? For starters, it's funny. Any holiday that centers around a naked stainless steel pole needs to have some serious chutzpah, because c'mon - it's a pole.
The Airing of Grievances, fueled with high-octane adult beverages, never disappoints. "To my family and friends - you have disappointed me during the past year in the following ways..."
But what really keeps the guest list growing is the underlying premise - for all the Seinfeld references, puffery around Feats of Strength, and perfectly timed Festivus references (I find tinsel distracting), this get-together is foundational. It's simply good friends and family gathered to enjoy tasty morsels (my Korean bulgogi rocked last year), assorted spirits, and the comfort of a no-pressure, no-expectation evening.
Being a non-denominational faux-holiday, there's none of the traditions continued from youth. We make this up as we go, using a half-hour sitcom as our guiding light. It's not an office party, so no worries about saying the wrong thing. In fact, it's expected. If you don't come loaded with some grievances to share, the group dynamic rapidly identifies you as a fake Festivus prophet, and if you thought the Crusades was bad, try becoming a grievance bulls-eye.
Those who may have been the root cause of Festivus grievances typically don't attend, which is a pseudo-Santa sort of way to help everyone become a better person during the year. Not in a My Name is Earl manner, where we're trying to right past wrongs, but in a way that motivates us to examine our interconnectedness while promoting the concept that something might occur to someone we don't even know that could eventually trickle down to us, and therefore we should be kind, and compassionate, and strive to understand life in a holistic fashion.
It's also a healthy, proactive way to prepare for the new year. The image of someone costumed as an elderly 2008, stooped and arthritic, being a party buzz kill while the infant 2009 drops a dukey in his Huggies until he's mature enough to carry on a conversation is less than appealing.
Let's bitch about the letdowns and missed opportunities, the people who failed to come through as promised, and the agencies and organizations that screwed us in 2008. Then, in a group catharsis, we let it go, and focus our energies on things to come, challenges to face, friends to support, and a world to improve.
So happy Festivus, everyone. I've got a lot of problems with you people. And now, you're gonna hear about it.