The holiday season is finally here, and that means loads of heartwarming movies, specials, and TV episodes devoted to making viewers feel warm and tingly all over. While most television shows opt for traditional celebratory tropes, Seinfeld and The O.C. break new ground by introducing two new holidays. Frank Costanza bypasses Christmas all together in favor of Festivus while Seth Cohen embraces both Christmas and Hanukkah creating the uber-holiday, Chrismukkah.
Just because Seinfeld (1989-1998) and The O.C. (2003-2007) are now ghosts of television’s past doesn’t mean we have to abandon their holiday legacies. If the stress of your normal holiday traditions has got you down, maybe it’s time to consider changing things up. The big question is how do you know which holiday is right for you? Here are five reasons why Festivus is better than Chrismukkah, and five reasons Chrismukkah is the superior choice.
Chrismukkah: There’s A Ton Of Branding Potential
A holiday that “draws on the best that Christianity and Judaism have to offer” means ugly Christmas sweaters are out, and lively Chrismukkah jumpers are in. Forget the standard red and green because blue, white (the colors of the Israeli flag) and even silver are now on the table.
This means an influx of new hybrid decor, combining the menorah, the Star of David, dishware, banners, lights, bulbs, Dreidels and dishtowels. Hanukkah stockings can be hung by the chimney with care, and Rudolph can guide Santa’s sleigh with his bright blue nose.
Festivus: Requires Very Little Decoration
If your style leans towards a more modern, minimalist aesthetic, Festivus decor won’t clutter up your home. All you need is a bare aluminum pole. That’s right. You won’t need to constantly sweep and vacuum up needles.
You won’t still be finding tinsel come February. The pole goes up on December 23, and it’s gone and forgotten by December 24. Very little fuss and no muss.
Chrismukkah: Is Non-Secular
If you like the “Christ” in Christmas, or you are a fan of Moses, you don’t have to choose. Chrismukkah recognizes the reason for the season, and it’s up to you how to incorporate it into nine days of fun. Baby Jesus? Check! Manger? Check. Wise men? Got it.
If you want to celebrate the Maccabees victory, play with a dreidel and eat latkes? Not a problem. It’s the best of both worlds, and the grass is no longer greener on the other side for those with one foot in each yard. No worries about offending someone by saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” or vice versa. Just toss them a “Merry Chrismukkah” instead.
Festivus: Has A Slogan
Festivus is all-inclusive and that includes the secular sect as well. Festivus is meant to be enjoyed by everyone. It’s “a Festivus for the rest of us.” The slogan-mission statement just rolls off the tongue.
For all of those who don’t know where or if they fit in and are looking to find a hot meal and connect with loved ones (or not) are welcome. Some may want to participate in a Festivus celebration out of curiosity (or even just for a good laugh).
Chrismukkah: There’s An Abundance Of Presents
For some, the obvious draw of Chrismukkah is the eight days of presents followed by one day of many, many, many presents. That’s certainly one of the driving forces behind Seth Cohen’s creation of this super holiday. There are upsides and downsides to this level of greed.
It might be enjoyable to receive a Seth starter pack of bands that were big over a decade ago like Death Cab for Cutie or The Shins, or a classic movie that never gets old — The Goonies. Getting presents, any presents is usually a good thing, but giving presents can be a strain financially and emotionally. It’s tough enough to pick out the perfect gift but trying to hit the jackpot nine times is a lot of pressure.
Festivus: Rejects Commercialism
The build-up to Christmas starts earlier every year. Soon, you’ll be able to get a pumpkin spiced latte in July. The chatter about Black Friday begins before the last piece of Halloween candy is given out. If the idea of retail employees giving up Thanksgiving with their families, so they can go to work and sell goods at a deep discount makes you queasy. If the thought of going to the mall has you thinking “Oy, humbug” then Festivus was conceived with you in mind.
After coming to blows over a doll, Frank had an epiphany, and “a new holiday was born.” Just send a card wishing that special someone a “Happy Festivus.” If you don’t want to wait in line at the post office to buy a stamp, just post a tweet or slide into somebody’s DM to let them know they’re on your mind.
Chrismukkah: Has A Theme Song
Each year, Seth Cohen raises the bar a little higher when it comes to Chrismukkah, and every year he’s convinced his made-up holiday will sweep the nation.
Then there’s the chance of backlash, but that’s for another time. During The O.C.’s second season, Seth decides Chrismukkah is missing a component — a song. Standard holiday melodies are just so … passé. Granted, Seth’s final composition doesn’t make it on the air, but we know it has to be good.
Festivus: Airing Of Grievances
Forget faking your way through the holidays. It’s easier to grin and bear the constant criticism, sibling rivalry, political discord and other landmines that plague any family gathering.
Festivus is a time to lay it all out there: a time to let people know how they’ve disappointed you throughout the year. Sure, all that yelling may be a bit of a bummer, but it can also be cathartic. Just be sure to bring some tums because bad blood can cause indigestion.
Chrismukkah: Plenty Of Miracles
Kramer credits coincidences as Festivus miracles, but this is one area where Chrismukkah has Festivus beat. Orange County holidays are a mess. There are more intrigue and melodrama than leftover non-alcoholic eggnog. When Marissa Cooper gets drunk at a Christmas party, causing a headache for boyfriend Ryan Atwood and potential legal trouble, a Chrismukkah miracle keeps the twosome from landing behind bars.
According to Seth, it’s because Ryan had the “Superteam” of Jesus and Moses working together for him. When Caleb Nichol reveals he has an illegitimate love child, Summer Roberts comes up with a plan to save Chrismukkah — another miracle.
Festivus: Feats Of Strength
Feats of strength are actually a feat of strength: somebody has to pin Frank during a wrestling match. Only then does Festivus come to an end.
The rules surrounding this ritual aren’t clear, but judging from George’s reaction, he has never come out on top. That’s the great thing about new holidays, you can make up new traditions as you go along.