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Friday, December 25, 2020

i find tinsel distracting
I’ve hardly made a habit of mentioning Festivus around here. But maybe I should. Because more than a decade after the airing of the famed Seinfeld episode that ushered the fake holiday into popular consciousness, Festivus has taken on a real-life life of its own:

The Festivus faithful have gathered across the globe and have come together in places as various as seedy bars, campus squares and corporate boardrooms. Citizens, with varied degrees of success, have petitioned to raise Festivus poles beside public nativity scenes. Social networking sites and holiday-specific venues — like festivusbook.com and festivusweb.com — are go-to places for those who want to share the cheer, or jeers.

For at least eight years, Julianne Donovan, 35, has been hosting Festivus parties in the Kansas City, Missouri, area. The graphic designer and illustrator said she was drawn to the holiday when her then-company department, which included people of various faiths, decided to trade in the traditional Christmas party for something more inclusive.

“It went over well except for one person who thought it was blasphemous and tried to knock over our Festivus pole,” she said. “He refused to come to the potluck, was forced to, came, ate all the food and left without saying thank you. Grievances were aired about him.”

Chances are good that Ms. Donovan was employed at either Vandelay Industries or Kramerica. Because if any companies out there are going to observe Festivus, those would be the locks.

Frank Costanza would be proud of the spread of his brainchild. He even would have challenged that recalcitrant employee to the Feats of Strength, just to instill the true Festivus-for-the-rest-of-us spirit into the non-believer.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 12/25/2009 09:27 AM
Category: Comedy, Pop Culture, TV
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Forget that tired old “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” shouting match. Advent Conspiracy is turning things on their heads by reframing the whole debate:

In many ways, Advent Conspiracy has appropriated some of the traditional arguments of the conservative Christians who see themselves as defenders of Christmas. A popular rallying cry of the foot soldiers in the war on Christmas is “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Often, however, it seems that being able to score a half-price Nintendo DSi and a “Merry Christmas” from the checkout clerk is the real prize. The Religious Right has spent decades casting secular culture as the enemy. And yet instead of critiquing the values of the consumer marketplace, many conservative Christians have embraced it as the battleground they seek to reclaim.

A movement like Advent Conspiracy is countercultural on two fronts — fighting the secular idea that Christmas is a monthlong shopping and decorating ritual and also the powerful conservative notion that the holiday requires acknowledgement from the nation’s retailers to be truly meaningful. It’s not easy, says a youth pastor whose church supports Advent Conspiracy. “When you start jacking with people’s idea of what Christmas is and you start to go against this $450 billion machine of materialism and consumerism, it really messes with people,” he explains. “It takes a lot of patience to say there’s a different way — Christmas doesn’t have to be like this.”

Of course this de-commercialization of Christmas won’t fly with the family-values crowd. Getting everyone and everything in their myopic line-of-sight to conform to their beliefs is their idea of validation. Talk about not getting the reason for the season…

Maybe the ultimate result of all this X-marks-the-mas battling will be a de-emphasis of Christmas altogether, and a shift to Easter as the highest of Christan holy days. That’d make more sense theologically, anyway.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 12/25/2009 09:17 AM
Category: Society
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