t’s been nearly 20 years since the famous Seinfeld episode “The Strike” introduced America
to the concept of Festivus, the Costanza
family’s long-lost nondenominational anti-holiday. In typical sitcom fashion, three narratives finally converge around the Costanza dinner table, each predictable and set in motion by Kramer himself,who views the confluence of confrontations as a series of “Festivus miracles.” Frank Costanza proceeds to emcee the affair, starting with the airing of grievances, then challenges George to
a “feats of strength” wrestling match.
Since the episode aired back in 1997, “a Festivus for the rest of us” has become pop-culture royalty, one of the most absurd yet poignant responses to
the increasing commercialization of the holiday season. Like sitting down with a cup of eggnog
or your favorite cinnamon-spiced adult beverage,
Seinfeld’s epic struggle between the anxiety of
the holidays and the stress of family has taken its place among American mainstream culture.
As we at CityBeat conceptualized this year’s
Holiday Issue, we felt a similar anxiety about producing a typical preview of festive events,
historical holiday tidbits and places to stimulate the economy while dodging the more aggressive of holiday shoppers. It’s not that we
don’t appreciate the festivities (we are formally AGAINST the war on Christmas), we just prefer to enjoy what the
holidays are really all about — friends, family and peace on Earth — without overly engaging in the more stressful aspects of the season.
We hope you enjoy our idea of what a “Cincinnati Festivus” celebration might look like. From Mayor John Cranley kicking off the airing of local grievances and a mildly absurd collection of Festivus miracles to a preview of December’s preeminent athletic endeavor (the Crosstown Shootout, a feat of strength if the 2011 brawl showed us anything) and three ideas to start — and end — your holiday meal with a delicious local recipe, we’ve got the basic framework of Festivus covered.
And because we’re not the type of people who would create a fake charity in order to avoid gift-giving, we put together a last-minute, local-centric gift guide and a lengthy calendar of holiday events, exhibits, parties and plays. Consider this year’s Holiday Issue our contribution to the Human Fund, and take some time to appreciate the season for the celebration of life it was intended to be.
CINCINNATI FESTIVUS CONTENTS:
Feats of Strength: Holiday Hoops
It's a Festivus Miracle!
Last-Minute Gift Guide