Happy Festivus Birmingham! It’s 2020. We can’t wait for the “airing of grievances”

Festivus pole found in an Irondale neighborhood near Elder St. in 2019. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Alright Birmingham. Get the pole out of the crawl space. Start making your list of grievances. Prepare for the feats of strength. Festivus is today – December 23.

First appearing in 1997 on an episode of the legendary sitcom Seinfeld, Festivus was created by the character Frank Constanza, the father of George Constanza, as a way to protest rampant consumerism during Christmas. Frank got the idea for Festivus after a fist fight at a Department store trying to get a doll for George.

Festivus Traditions

How does Festivus work? Here are the five traditions of Festivus.

Aluminum pole. During Festivus, the pole is displayed unadorned in front of your front yard or inside the home.  Why is it bare?  Remember – Frank “find[s] tinsel distracting.”

“The “Airing of Grievances.”  Talk about a very 2020 thing to do. The airing of grievances  takes place immediately after the Festivus dinner has been served. At that time, each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed them over the past year. 

Remember how Frank begins the Airing of Grievances: “I got a lotta problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it!”


Festivus pole in Homewood Edgewood Neighborhood. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Feats of Strength. After the grievances, the head of the household selects one person at the Festivus celebration and challenges them to a wrestling match. Tradition states Festivus is not over until the head of the household is pinned.

Dinner. What do you eat during Festivus Dinner? Meatloaf of course served over  lettuce.  Dessert is an M&M decorated cake.

Got it!  And remember, the slogan… it’s a Festivus for the rest of us!

Celebrations in Birmingham?

Over the past four years, Bham Now has looked for Festivus poles in and around Birmingham.  This year, we discovered two new poles, neighbors in fact, on Regent Lane in Hoover. 

Below are snapshots we’ve taken over the years.

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An unadorned Festivus pole in James Hill in Ross Bridge. Photo courtesy of Lura Morris
A traditional Festivus pole, in the Homewood neighborhood of Edgewood

Do you know of any other Festivus events being celebrated in the Magic City today? Drop Bham Now a line in the comment section or email us at hello@bhamnow.com .

Tell us your Festivus miracles!

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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