A Festivus For The Rest Of Us!

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Howdy friends. I know I’ve shared some strange things about myself in the past. One thing I left out over the years is my love of Seinfeld. I know it might date me a little that I’m a huge fan of Seinfeld, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve seen each episode at least twice, and some of them many more times than that.

At any rate, as most hardcore Seinfeld fans know tomorrow is Festivus. If you don’t know what Festivus is, then check out this little diddy on its origins. If you’re not wanting to read that, then Festivus is essentially something made up by a Seinfeld writer’s family in the 1960s. After being included in the December 18, 1997 episode, “The Strike” it took on a life of its own. The celebration is meant to be a response to the commercialism of Christmas and is usually made up of the following parts:

  • An aluminum pole, without tinsel (because tinsel is distracting), instead of a Christmas tree
  • Feats of strength
  • A Festivus dinner
  • Rather common, everyday things labeled as “Festivus miracles”
  • And, my favorite of all, the “Airing of Grievances”

Truth be told, the Airing of Grievances is really meant to be ways of telling others how they’ve ticked you off throughout the year. For a variety of reasons I won’t be doing that today but I will use Festivus as a way to have a good old fashioned rant. 🙂 If you were around last year, then you know I’m not a fan of the massive overcommercialization of the Holidays so I thought a Festivus post would let me have a little fun while getting some things off my chest. With that out of the way, on to the airing of grievances…

  • We traveled to Chicago this fall. I love Chicago, but what’s the deal with the tolls? I get you need to have them. But, would it kill you to have them in some sort of regular amounts? Take $1.65 for example. Would it really kill you to just make it $1.50 or $2?
  • Paintbrush Mickey…for those of you in the know, our youngest little Frugal Rule, JP, has taken to, uh, fecal art the past few months. He has a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll that’s about a foot long. Suffice it to say, I’ll NEVER look at Mickey Mouse the same way!
  • I joined the dark side and bought a MacBook Pro about two months ago. My previous PC was a beast and quickly went downhill. With all the talk I’ve heard about Macs being intuitive, I guess they just weren’t made for me as I’ve spent the past two months wanting to fling the thing through our living room window. Hey, I guess I can be happy it’ll qualify as a tax deduction this year! 😉
  • Calendars? Who needs a calendar? Apparently our clients don’t know that they, or holidays, exist.
  • Diapers, oh diapers. These little paper products are the bane of our budget because all three of our little ones are still in some form of a diaper. At a little under $200 per month on diaper products I can’t wait for that expense to be gone!
  • Weight loss. As many know, I’ve been working on losing weight since the end of February. It’s gone relatively well. In fact, I’m hanging tight at 80 pounds down. That’s great, but I’ve been stuck in the same 5 pound range the past month or so. Oh, if the last 20 were as easy as the first 80!
  • Is it just me or did the Christmas shopping season hoopla start even earlier this year? We saw stuff in Costco in August! What happened to Halloween and Thanksgiving, people!?!
  • $2,035.12. That’s how much we’ve paid the fools at Verizon for cell phone service this year. Typing that number just makes me ill, but is my own stupid mistake. Oh, how I can’t wait until May 4, 2015 when we can cut and run. The crazy thing is that bill is only a fraction of our health insurance bill and at least we get something out of Verizon!
  • Frozen, oh how I hate Frozen! It seems as though Disney planned to hold back the overwhelming majority of Frozen products to be sold right before Christmas. Smart marketing move. But, Disney, did you really have to release the same movie and package it as a sing-a-long version? It’s the same movie people!
  • I’ll end the Festivus rant on a high note…thanks to us doing all of our shopping on Amazon and at Costco now I’ve not stepped foot in a Wal-Mart in almost six months – Happy Day!


If you’d like to learn more about the original explanation of Festivus, check out the Seinfeld clip below!


What grievance would you like to air for Festivus? Are you an Apple or PC fan? Do you have any special plans for Christmas?


Photo courtesy of: Paul Eisenberg

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.


  • Definitely an Apple fan here! I love how their design is so simple and minimalistic!

    • Simple, maybe, intuitive…I’d debate that. πŸ™‚

      • I’d agree with you, John–the couple times I’ve tried to use Macs, I end up confused. One could argue that’s because I’m so well-versed in Windows–but it’s therefore untrue that Macs are intuitive!

        By definition, if something is intuitive, people would be able to figure them out without having to look up or learn how they work.

  • Love the post! My list of grievances:
    1) Grey’s Anatomy is still on the air
    2) My best friend has become obsessed with the show Once Upon A Time and I have to hear about it constantly
    3) The season finale of Dexter (I know it wasn’t this year, but I’m still upset)
    4) My friend recommended Hemlock Grove. I wasted hours and hours of my life watching that show just waiting for it to get good. It didn’t.

    Apparently all my grievances are TV related…

    • Thanks Christa! Oh, I definitely hear you on Once Upon A Time! My wife is in love with the show and I seriously can’t stand it. At least it gets me an extra hour of work in uninterrupted. πŸ˜‰ I’ve never heard of Hemlock, though can empathize with watching shows hoping they’ll become better only to realize it’s going nowhere.

  • Illinois definitely sticks it to you with the tolls, I’m right there with you!

  • We did all of our Christmas shopping on Amazon too! Didn’t have to go into a single actual store, which is my idea of shopping bliss.

    I’m an Apple person myself–I had my last MacBook for 7 years, which I consider pretty good longevity for a laptop!

    • Ah, yes, we did very similarly as well. I think we maybe got one that wasn’t on Amazon but was still online. You can’t beat doing your little bit of Christmas shopping all at home while enjoying a microbrew. πŸ™‚

      The one my wife has is heading into year 5, so we’ve definitely got value from it.

  • The tolls going through Chicago are outrageous. We end up paying them whenever we drive to Greg’s parents. It’s expensive but avoiding them adds another hour on our trip =/
    Oh, and I am also sick of Frozen. It was cute at first.

  • Haha…love this! The Festivus episode is a classic! I love my Mac but like you I didn’t find it all that intuitive. After years of using a PC it took me months to figure out where to find things and how to do certain tasks. Now though, after years of having a Mac, I definitely prefer it over a PC. The integration with all other iOS devices makes it worth it to me.

    • Yep, I’m on month two and still want to throw the stupid thing through the window. My biggest problem is the keyboard is different and with the yetti style approach I have to typing it takes me even longer.

  • Kassandra says:

    We have both MAC/PC laptops in the house and I definitely prefer the PC over the Mac. Let’s not start with the tolls…NYC toll costs are insane.

    Anyone who visits where I live (Staten Island) has to pay $15 to cross the Verrazano bridge! I pay $5.50 due to a resident discount that finally was put in place this April.

    Happy Holidays John!

  • Tolls are such a pain and I hate how the pricing changes and in California – some places have tolls roads, others don’t. It’s confusing! And yes, the Christmas stuff was out in August and it drove me NUTS! I know people buy gifts year-round but people really don’t want to look at Christmas trees in August! I love my Mac, but it does take time to adapt. And I have to use a PC for work so sometimes I think about which computer I am on. πŸ™‚ I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas!

    • Yep, I remember that from SoCal. πŸ™‚ I agree, who wants to look at a Christmas tree in August? We hadn’t even been on our summer vacation yet! To you and yours as well Shannon!

  • Kathy says:

    Weight loss! Oh, how I struggle with that ALWAYS. When God designed the human body, one mistake he made was leaving out a dial – perhaps where our navel is – that we could just use to dial up or down our perfect weight. Why can’t I have the same willpower with food that I have with saving/spending? So weight loss becomes my new year’s resolution for the 30th year in a row. Hope you continue your weight loss success.

    • Ha ha, I LOVE that Kathy – I’d love a dial as well. πŸ™‚ I feel the same way, I wish dieting would come as easily as saving/investing/spending did for me. To you as well!

  • Seinfeld was a bit before my time, but I’m not oblivious to how extremely popular it was (and still is). I sometimes feel like I should watch all the episodes, but there’s just too many other shows I’d rather watch. Anyway I’m with you on the MacBooks – can’t stand Apple products! I’ve had my eye on the Surface Pro 3 but will probably hold out another year or two before taking the plunge and getting a Surface. I think they’ll just keep getting better and better. For now I’ll get a cheap(er) laptop and maybe a Fire HD for fun.

  • I’m going to enjoy time with the family….but truth be told, I’m anxious to get the new year started. Big goals. πŸ™‚

  • Gasp! How could you not LOVE your MAC!?!? πŸ™‚ I think because I’ve been using them for YEARS as part of my job, I could never go back to a PC. Right now my gripe is people who are full of excuses or people who are victims to their own life. Or people who invite drama into their lives and wonder why they always have drama! I kind of watt to punch those people in the throat! Ah, warm fuzzy holiday thoughts. lol! Thanks for giving me an outlet for that!

  • “It’s a Festivus for the rest of us!” My grievance would be that there is anyone of any generation that doesn’t appreciate Seinfeld…and when I buy a big salad and someone else takes credit for it πŸ˜‰

    Have a great Festivus and Christmas!

  • I love your rants. I made sure our daughter has no idea there is a Frozen sing along version. She already sings along so I’m not sure how this one could be any different. I’m just really glad I bought some Disney stock when she was 3. At least I don’t feel as bad that we’ve probably helped the economy along with all the gifts from grandparents, aunts, etc being princess for the last 4 years!

    • We were planning the same thing and then our daughter saw the stupid thing at Costco and it was all we heard about. The whole flipping movie is one song after another so how on earth can they repackage it as a sing a long version? It’s madness!

  • Ha! This is awesome John!! My hubby is a HUGE Seinfeld fan and often tells people that he can relate just about any conversation back to either an episode of Seinfeld or the Simpsons. I am with you on the Mac stuff. I have had one for years, so I am used to it, but I feel like the quality of their products has really gone downhill the last few years. I upgraded my laptop last year and feel like I have more problems with this 1 year old machine than I had with my previous 4 year old machine.

    • “and often tells people that he can relate just about any conversation back to either an episode of Seinfeld or the Simpsons.” <----YES! I tell my wife the same exact thing. I can relate anything back to Seinfeld. I don't know if it's a sickness or just good writing. πŸ˜‰

  • I love Festivus. My family was always a huge fan of Seinfield so we’ve celebrated the holiday for many years now. It’s pretty hilarious.

    I love Apple products and my macbook air I’m using right now is amazing. My best friend has a macbook pro through work and hates it because she has always used windows. You like what you are used to using.

    • We’ve never actually celebrated it, though when our kids get older I definitely plan on instituting it. πŸ™‚

      Good point. I’ve always used a PC and it’s like speaking a different language.

  • Michelle says:

    Wow that’s a lot of money spent on cell phone usage! Ours is probably not too far off from that though πŸ™

  • Gretchen says:

    I’ve never seen Sienfeld, but that definitely seems like a tradition everyone should start! As for the MacBook, I’m totally with you. I just. Can’t. Do it!

  • I am a PC fan. Several years ago my sister convinced my parents to replace their computer with a Mac. My mom was complaining that she couldn’t access an attachment from an email. I confidently told her I’d take care of it. When I sat down the whole desktop was filled with icons, like overlapping icons. So I decided the first task was to organize and de-clutter. I went to right-click to create a new folder… No right clicking!! I was done at that very moment. I can operate touch screen Apple products. But if it has a mouse I’m completely useless…

  • I’ve been an Apple fan since I got my first Ipod Nano. Then when I got my Apple I think that it’s durable and sleek, more importantly, it is easier to navigate than it may seem.

  • I love Seinfeld (pastrami is the most sensuous of the deli meats!) and Festivus is brilliant. I’m right there with you on the grievances, especially when it comes to weight loss. Congrats on all your hard work…I’ve been stuck on the same few pounds myself for way too long. My own particular grievance would probably relate to bad drivers. People who aren’t aware that they have turn signals, who think they’re attached to my rear bumper, and who don’t know what stop signs and red lights mean.

    • Ha ha, gotta love those salted cured meats! πŸ˜‰ Ah, yes, I know your pain all too well with bad drivers. I encountered one today and, really people, is it THAT hard to drive with some common sense?!

  • new girl says:

    Start a present roster now for next year. That is how I finish shopping before Thanksgiving most years, except for ingredients/ perishables. I save so much stress this way. It also spreads out the purchases to avoid January bill hangovers.

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