If you have no idea what Festivus is, please stop reading immediately and find Seinfeld season 9, episode 10, and watch it at least three times. Once you pick yourself up off the floor, you'll have a renewed sense of seasonal joy.
Well, my friends, today is Festivus. A day of airing grievances, competing in feats of strength, and raising an aluminum stripper pole in place of the Christmas tree. I'm actually not sure it's a stripper pole, but it is quite reminiscent of one. Everyday events can be called a "Festivus Miracle" and the magic of the holiday lives on. It's also a day in which one is encouraged to blow off work for "religious purposes." It's the perfect holiday
The premise behind Festivus is that, unable to get the toy of choice for his child, Frank Costanza invents his own holiday to counter Christmas and the commercial mania that goes along with it. I don't think this is a bad idea, and have been casting about for a way to invent my own holiday for years.
This year, the "hot" toy is something called a Hatchimal. I praise the Lord every day that my kids are too old for hyped toys (and also that I escaped the ridiculous Elf on a Shelf mania, but that's a whole other post). Apparently, Hatchimals are some sort of creature hatched over several hours out of an egg. They look pretty cute, and like something my kids would've enjoyed in third grade.
Upholding the Christmas spirit and traditions of greed, stress, and money-grabbing, people who have a sixth sense about what will be the "it" toy of the season snatched them all off the Wal-Mart, Target, and Meijer shelves back in the days of yore before Trump became president and everything went south. These toys are now selling for upwards of $200 on e-bay and on Facebook garage sale sites. I witnessed a rather ugly back-and-forth on one of these sites, in which an angry mob of Hatchimal-seeking parents vilified a capitalist just trying to make a buck this holiday. I expected the headlines the next day to be about desperate parents marching with pitchforks and torches on the mansion of the scrooge holding Hatchimals hostage for huge ransom.
Pinterest has climbed on board with this madness, offering letters of condolence and promises of post-Christmas Hatchimal delivery signed by Santa himself for parents to give their grieving children on Christmas morning. There will be no Hatchimal under the tree, kids, because avaricious capitalists are selling them for more than mommy and daddy can afford, but you'll get one soon when the hype dies down.
Festivus counters all this. Instead, you get to air your grievances and get out your aggression, which seems much healthier than sweating to death in stores for trinkets. So here are some of my grievances, and I'll exhibit my feats of strength later in what will surely be a gruelling Orangetheory Fitness class far beyond my meager physical capabilities (burpees, anyone?):
1. My stepfather, in addition to hauling me into court with frivilous contests to my mother's will over the last two years, took all our family heirloom Christmas decorations after she died.
2. It's winter. There are enless months of gray, cold, and miserable days still yet to come.
3. People where I live do NOT know how to drive and it makes me stabby. Also, pedestrians here walk WAY too slow and down the MIDDLE of the parking lot aisles. MOVE IT, PEOPLE!
4. I have friends who are really hurting right now and I don't know how to help them.
5. No matter how much I work out, I still have the body of a creature that would result if Bilbo Baggins mated with a manatee.
See, now, that felt good, although I'm right now countering these things with positives so I don't feel icky (which goes against everything Festivus stands for). I'd encourage you to look at the holiday season through the Festivus lens, and I hope you all experience a Festivus miracle or two today. And maybe even find a rogue Hatchimal at sticker price on a random shelf today.
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and teacher of gifted middle school students. She is the author of two novels - see the "Cate Books" page of this site for information! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.