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Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us

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Looking to add a little bitterness to your holiday season? Then FESTIVUS is the book you cannot do without!

Take Frosty out behind the woodshed and hide your menorahs, kinaras, diyas and whatevahs…the time has come for Festivus! The event celebrated by Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller) on Seinfeld, in which a bare aluminum pole replaces all holiday and religious symbols, where participants compete in "feats of strength" and undertake the "airing of grievances," has transcended ...

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Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us

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Overview

Looking to add a little bitterness to your holiday season? Then FESTIVUS is the book you cannot do without!

Take Frosty out behind the woodshed and hide your menorahs, kinaras, diyas and whatevahs…the time has come for Festivus! The event celebrated by Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller) on Seinfeld, in which a bare aluminum pole replaces all holiday and religious symbols, where participants compete in "feats of strength" and undertake the "airing of grievances," has transcended television to become a worldwide phenomenon. In this side-splitting romp through the Festivus landscape, Allen Salkin meets Miss Festivus, tastes Festivus beer, and ponders the Festivus snail (along with Festy the cat), showing how anyone with a little creativity-and a dash of Costanza-can celebrate a Happy Festivus!

  • My Man Plautus: Learn how (and dear God, why?) the ancient Romans invented Festivus.
  • Mom, is that you? Peruse dozens of photos and illustrations of Festivus celebrants in their natural habitat.
  • Be sure to wash the nails: Learn to cook tasty Festivus recipes like Shrimp impaled on mini Festivus poles and Ham with Junior Mint and Snapple glaze.
  • There she is, Miss Festivus! Criteria for judging your own Miss Festivus contest (hint: the abilities to bowl a 170 and clean a carburetor count big).
  • Are those my chestnuts roasting? Lyrics and chords to that surefire smash "O Festivus!"and the chart-topping hit all the kids are singing: "Gather 'Round the Pole."
  • No fire hazards here: Tips on acquiring a gloriously inflammable aluminum pole.
  • A foreword by Father Festivus himself, Jerry Stiller! See why Festivus is more fun than being killed by a giant boulder.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594836381
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 4.87 (w) x 5.62 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Allen Salkin's writing has appeared everywhere from the New York Times to Yoga Journal, and his article "Fooey to the World," which was the basis for this book, was one of the most-read articles of the year. He lives in New York City and teaches Journalism and Writing at NYU.

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Read an Excerpt

Festivus


By Allen Salkin

Warner Books

Copyright © 2005 Allen Salkin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-69674-9


Foreword

BY JERRY STILLER

In the ancient days when gods played their own games, and had their own celebrations, tossing lightning bolts between mountaintops, hurling great boulders-Festivus came out of that. It's a holiday that celebrates being alive at a time when it was hard to be alive.

There was no Christ yet, no Yahweh, no Buddha. There were great ruins and raw nature. But there was a kindling spark of hope among men. They celebrated that great thunderous storms hadn't enveloped them in the past year, that landslides hadn't destroyed them. They made wishes that their crops would grow in the fields, that they'd have food the next year and the wild animals wouldn't attack and eat them.

There's something pure about Festivus, something primal, raw in the hearts of humans.

And then there is the idea of an aluminum pole, the centerpiece of the modern celebration of Festivus. Airplanes are made out of aluminum to take you through life from one place to another-in one piece, usually. Aluminum is a type of metal that can say so much if something is done to it, like turning it into an airplane.

But there's nothing to an aluminum pole. It has no feeling. It says, "I am what I am." You endow the aluminum pole with whatever you want to. It leaves you open to explore your own meaning. It is lightweight stuff, but in the form of an airplane it gets you from one part of the world to the next. Remember that.

And one more thing on aluminum. You don't want to put too many m's into it. "Aluminum" is easy to say, but don't think too much before you say it out loud. If you think too much about how you say it before you say it, you'll screw it up.

So with these sparks of godly and individual human imagination flying, I say this: A Festivus miracle to me would be not having to give anybody a gift during the time of year we call "the holidays," and not feeling like I've shortchanged anyone or hurt their feelings. The other end of the miracle would be that if I didn't get a gift from someone I expected it from, I wouldn't think, "Why didn't they remember me?" Nope. Just wipe the slate clean.

I mean, most of the time when you get a gift, you have to prove to the gift-giver how much you loved what they gave you. It takes a toll on you. I receive letters sometimes from people describing every little thing about the gifts I've sent to them. I don't even remember what I sent! These people should have more in their lives.

Which brings me to wrestling, another centerpiece of Festivus, the feats of strength. Wrestling is raw, primal. With my own son, I used to tumble around. He always used to come out on top for some reason. He was very agile. I let him win, of course.

Snails are primal, too. It's no coincidence there is a snail called Festivus. The snail is the ocean. Earth, wind, fire, water, the essential elements. For Festivus, make it: earth, wind, fire, and snails.

That's why if I'm to air my grievances here, I say: Let's cut this holidays thing. Let's cut it down to the bare minimum.

I am not alone in feeling this way, but very few people will actually say it out loud. Then these things like Festivus come along. Something that makes its way onto a sketch on Seinfeld or Saturday Night Live or another show like that, it comes out of something that's in the air. It resonates and people run with it.

For some people the revelation comes too late that life is best kept to the essentials. Some people are given their last rites and that person might say in their last breath, "I should have celebrated Festivus."

Look, I'm not trying to be an anticonsumer Jerry the Curmudgeon here. I'm a Gucci man, a Prada man, myself. I buy gifts from these stores. People have a right to purchase things if they want to.

All I'm saying is, if you celebrate Festivus, you may live a little longer.

You are getting back to the essentials, to the days of gods on mountaintops and howling wolves. Because you are saying the holidays are in the heart, a celebration of being alive with our fellow humans. For that purpose, an aluminum pole will do just as well as anything else-as long as it's not stuck in the wrong place.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Festivus by Allen Salkin Copyright © 2005 by Allen Salkin.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2005

    Let the Festivus Commencivus!!!

    This is one of the funniest books I've read this year, and the photos of real 'Festivites' had me cracking up. Perfect as a holiday stocking stuffer or for any Seinfeld fan, or as the book says, any friend who usually borrows your books and doesn't return them. Highly Recommended!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2013

    Ditto to macamp review. This is a three because

    Of the magic word I seldom see and highly recommend except when suckered by a free or one and two dollar special and that is BORROWED from ebook library at your library. What can you lose but a little time and you can give a better review if you dont have to archieve or delete. Mom of Sparta

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  • Posted July 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Festivus, yes! This book? Eh...so-so. The concept of Festivus is

    Festivus, yes! This book? Eh...so-so. The concept of Festivus is hilarious, and I find it endearing that some people actually celebrate it; however, this book is, unfortunately, better in concept than in execution. It is more engaging in the beginning. As you continue reading - if you continue reading - you will likely find yourself less and less inclined to continue to the next page. I rented the digital book for free via a local library. It is a quick read, even more so if you opt to simply stop once the downhill spiral is fully in place. - Festivus, yes! This book? Eh, not so much...read the first part and stop when it starts to hurt. I shall now go forth and procure an aluminum pole to have on call should the need for Festivus suddenly strike.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2008

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