The Real Festivus

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Press:Berkley Pub Group Perigee Trade; First Printing edition (November 1, 2005)
Author Name:O'Keefe, Daniel


It's beginning to look a lot like Festivus!  From the Seinfeld writer and co-creator of the holiday that's becoming a world-wide cult phenomenon. 
Beginning on December 23rd and ending sometime in May (if revelers are still into it), Festivus is becoming one of America's most revered secular-if peculiar-holidays.
Since making its public debut in 1997 on Seinfeld, Festivus is finally fully explained in the definitive guide to its bare-bones celebration of second-rate miracles and hopeless regrets.
Discover the Festivus traditions: Gather Round the Festivus Pole: A latter-day addition to festivus celebrations, traditionally a simple aluminum pole.
While tinsel is strictly forbidden, non-threatening decorations are permitted within reason.
The Airing of Grievances: At the Festivus dinner table (spaghetti, meatloaf, whatever) participants inform family and friends of the ways in which they've been a disappointment.
The Feats of Strength: Customarily Festivus is over when the head of the family is wrestled to the ground and pinned.
(Either participant may decline if they have something better to do.) Conceivably this whole thing could be stretched out until sometime in May.


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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     If you like the Seinfeld version don't waste you money with this book.
  •     Just absolutely love The Real Festivus! We celebrate Festivus every year and love the story behind the story! Festivus isn't over till the fat man gets pinned in our house! LOL!
  • a velvet bag. Short, but well written. Hilarious. Buy it now. I'm serious, stop thinking about it. Buy it. Now.
  •     That should tell you something. I regret buying it. I found it self-indulgent, elliptical, poorly-written, and, most unforgivably, UNFUNNY!
  •     As a longtime "Seinfeld" fan I was compelled to buy this book to learn the true secrets behind the Festivus holiday.
  •     If you're going to buy one Festivus book this year (and who isn't?) this is the one to get. It's written by the Seinfeld writer whose family created the holiday that eventually...
  •     This book is so funny I'm telling all my friends about it.Jason Alexander who played George Costanza kicks it off with a hilarious introduction, about how he's always...
  •     "The Real Festivus" is written by the man who came up with the general idea for the Festivus theme in the Seinfeld episode.
  •     If you're a Seinfeld fan you know all about Festivus, the faux holiday that was invented by George Costanza's father Frank:Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.Cosmo Kramer: What happened to the doll?Frank Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!In the Seinfeld episode ("The Strike"), the celebration of Festivus involves an aluminum pole, feats of strength, and a ritual airing of grievances. It is not, at least in George's view, an occasion of celebration, but rather a holiday to be endured. The idea of Festivus has nonetheless leapt from the small screen into the popular imagination. Need a Festivus pole for your own real-life celebration? You can buy a six-foot floor model online.As it turns out, Festivus did not spring fully formed from the heads of Seinfeld's writers. It sprang from the imagination of Daniel O'Keefe Sr., the father of one of those writers. The O'Keefe family actually celebrated Festivus annually during the 1970's and 80's while Dan O'Keefe and his two younger brothers were growing up. But as the author explains in The Real Festivus, the holiday they observed was rather different from--if no less bizarre than--the celebration popularized on television:"Though only a family of five originally celebrated Festivus, these days it is celebrated by literally dozens of prisoners, college students, and bored people in rural areas across this great nation. And some crappier nations like Canada and Uruguay. And God bless them all and keep them from rape and thresher accidents. But they're doing it all wrong."In this record-straightening book, O'Keefe explains the genesis of Festivus, its symbols (a clock and a bag, but no pole) and rituals. Festivus was celebrated (irregularly, with no set date) with depressing music and the recitation of poetry and the ingestion of meat. There were strange hats and coarse political statements. Each year one or more themes were assigned to the holiday. (In 1977, for example, the theme was, "Are We Depressed? Yes!") But the most important element of Festivus was the annual tape recording. More than half of this book is taken up with a transcription of some of those Festivus tapes--jokes and pronouncements and embarrassing family secrets and summaries of the family's history since the last recording.Do these transcripts make for interesting reading? Well, not per se. We readers are like outsiders peering through the O'Keefe's windows. The boys are teasing one another, their mother sitting to the side, for the most part quiet. Their father is hamming it up in front of the cassette recorder, now speaking German, now breaking into song, now declaiming in some more or less meaningful pidgin Romance language. Most of the jokes are lost on us, but we can appreciate the atmosphere within. And so the Festivus transcripts, if not riveting, wind up providing us with a surprisingly intimate portrait of a family, its members intelligent and deeply odd, playful but mutually supportive.In his humorous introduction to The Real Festivus Jason Alexander (George Costanza on Seinfeld) says of the book that it is "a shameless attempt to cash in on an international phenomenon. It is airport or bathroom reading at its best." Which is true enough. But it's also mildly informative and funny and charmingly written and brief. Recommended, in short, for the Seinfeld aficionado.-- Debra Hamel
  •     As a fan of Seinfeld, I snagged this book in a bookstore outlet because of its obvious Seinfeld connection.
  •     Most of the book is taken up with the family transcripts of their Festivus celebration. Lots of inside jokes and stories that are just not that amusing to read.
  •     Great details and amusing insight into how the whole Festivus holiday came about, as told by the guy who wrote the Seinfeld episode it was introduced in. But I hadn't expected the book to be this FUNNY. O'Keefe has a lot of great jokes throughout - from what's wrong with other holidays, to theories about why his dad invented the holiday, to other odd family rituals.Interestingly enough - the book also features a very funny introduction written by George himself, Jason Alexander. Why this feature isn't advertised here is kinda odd.If you're a fan of laughter (and who isn't?) - you'll be a fan of this book.
  •     In preparation for a tongue-in-cheek Festivus celebration this year, I needed tips on the traditions. Dan O'Keefe's book provided a good and clear summary of the history and traditions. Interestingly, there are several significant differences between the Real Festivus and the Seinfield Festivus.The transcriptions of Fesitvus past are mind-bending. Some of the photos, graphics, recipes, and songs were humorous counterpoints.Now we are faced with a tough choice. Do we celebrate a "Real Festivus" or the commercialized derivitive Seinfeld Festivus!? Holidays are always so difficult. You just never know what to do...The Real Festivus is not a great book. But it is fun and informative. No regrets here.
  •     This book is hilarious and gives you the basic rules and regs and history of the great holiday of Festivus.The bad thing is that about half the book is made up of stories just to fill enough pages to justify an entire book. You could probably get the same info from a page or two off the internet. The book is so short I read it in about an hour! It was funny though.

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