festivus, for the rest of us

The excitable folks over at Fox News get even more excitable at this time of year, as a result of their never-ending struggle against the War On Christmas. This year, Christmas is apparently facing a very real threat from a fictional source: Festivus.

The outrage is over the inclusion of Festivus poles in the Wisconsin and Florida state Capitol buildings — particularly because the one in Florida was made out of empty cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

As Dan Amira from Daily Intel explains, states have started including other holiday decorations in government buildings as a compromise, so that “instead of fighting (likely unsuccessfully) to keep their displays Christmas-only, many localities have acceded to letting non-Christians promote whatever weird shit they believe in.”

In Wisconsin and Florida, this happened to be Festivus, a non-denominational holiday “for the rest of us,” invented by Frank Costanza in a 1997 episode of Seinfeld. Typically celebrated on Dec. 23, the holiday features an airing of grievances, feats of strength and a Festivus pole.

“I am so outraged by this,” Gretchen Carlson exclaimed on Fox News. “Why do I have to drive around with my kids to look for nativity scenes and be, like, ‘Oh, yeah, kids, look, there’s baby Jesus behind the Festivus pole made out of beer cans? It’s nuts!”

“We don’t have to have the Klan out there on Martin Luther King Day with their monuments right next to a bust of Martin Luther King,” agreed Catholic League President Bill Donohue. “We don’t want to have neo-Nazis out there to stick it to Jews on Yom Kippur. And we shouldn’t have people out there ready to trash Christianity given that proximity.”


As the Palm Beach Post reports, Florida’s pole was included at the request of a local atheist, in protest of a nativity scene that was also being displayed.

In Wisconsin, a classic metal pole in the Capitol rotunda also bore a sign explaining that “there will be an airing of grievances over the noon hour on Dec. 23, but no feats of strength ‘due to liability issues,'” according to The Associated Press.

For the somehow uninitiated, here’s a rundown of the holiday from the Seinfeld episode that started it all:

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