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TV Holiday Traditions to Adopt This Year

Through the years, television has provided us with countless holiday specials and Christmas episodes of our favorite shows. We've watched our favorite characters participate in their own holiday traditions, and some of them are worth trying out. Here are out top TV holiday traditions to adopt this year!

TV Holiday Traditions to Adopt This Year

The Office © 2005 Reveille Productions, NBC Universal Television, 3 Arts Entertainment, Deedle-Dee Productions, Universal Media Studios, Universal Television

Festivus - Seinfeld


Seinfeld © 1989 West-Shapiro, Castle Rock Entertainment

In 1997, Seinfeld brought us “a Festivus for the rest of us.” Observed annually on December 23rd, Festivus is known for its key elements, the Festivus Dinner, the Airing of Grievances, the Feats of Strength, and the Festivus Pole.

The Festivus Dinner traditionally and officially serves meatloaf, though this determination is disputed by some. The meal was not clearly visible in the original airing of the show, and viewers could not determine if spaghetti or meatloaf was being served. The arrival of the HDTV brought with it a verdict: meatloaf.

The Festivus Pole is the symbol for the holiday, which stands to be Anti-Christmas. The Pole was selected to contrast the traditional Christmas tree because it has an impressive strength-to-weight ratio, it is very low maintenance, and because the holiday’s founder, Frank Costanza, is distracted by tinsel.

The Airing of Grievances occurs during the Festivus Dinner, when families gather around the table and members tell each other all the ways that they have been disappointed by their family that year. In the show, only the head of household appears to be given the opportunity to air grievances, but many participants open this up to other family members.

Festivus is not over until the head of the household is wrestled to the floor and pinned. The process by which this occurs is known as “the Feats of Strength.” The Feats of Strength typically follow the Airing of Grievances. The head of house gets to choose who participates, and the participant may only refuse the offer if he/she has something better to do. If this is the case, another participant may be chosen. Festivus cannot end until the Feats of Strength is complete. The Feats of Strength begin with the head of house declaring “Let’s Rumble!”

  • If you’re throwing a Festivus party, acceptable feats of strength activities include thumb wrestling, arm wrestling, leg wrestling, tickle fight and board games, according to festivusweb.com

The Holiday Armadillo - Friends

The Holiday Armadillo

Friends © 1994 Warner Bros. Television, Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions

The Holiday Armadillo is Santa’s Jewish Armadillo friend who tells children the story of Hanukkah. The Holiday Armadillo came to be when Ross Gellar wanted to share the story of Hanukkah with his son Ben, who only wanted to know about Santa. Ross set out to find a Santa suit, thinking that Ben would listen if Santa taught him about Hanukkah. Ross was unable to procure a Santa suit as it was so close to the holiday, so he chose the clear runner up: an armadillo suit. When Ben meets the Holiday Armadillo, he finally seems interested in Hanukkah, that is, until Chandler shows up dressed as Santa in attempts to help. Superman (Joey, in costume) also makes an appearance, apparently another friend of the Holiday Armadillo’s. In the end, The Holiday Armadillo is able to overcome the chaos and tell Ben about Hanukkah.

If you observe Hanukkah, maybe a visit from the Holiday Armadillo is long overdue. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, or if renting an armadillo suit is a little extreme for your taste, this episode is worth a watch.

Yankee Swap - The Office

Yankee Swap - The Office

The Office © 2005 Reveille Productions, NBC Universal Television, 3 Arts Entertainment, Deedle-Dee Productions, Universal Media Studios, Universal Television

According to Dwight Schrute, “Yankee Swap is like Machiavelli meets Christmas.”  If you love Christmas and you also love stealing from other people, then Dunder Mifflin Regional Manager Michael Scott’s Yankee Swap might just be for you! Yankee Swap is a gift exchange that allows participants to steal gifts from each other or choose to open one of their own. When Phyllis knits Michael an oven mitt for the office's secret Santa, Michael is not impressed. He is so displeased, in fact, that he initiates an impromptu game of Yankee Swap. The employees are displeased as they bought gifts for their specific Secret Santa counterparts, and now the gifts are all mixed up. Phyllis is exceptionally upset, as the game was devised by Michael so he did not have to accept her gift.

Yankee Swap is a fun and not at all offensive tradition to adopt with your family- as long as it isn't being used to get out of receiving a gift like Phylllis's oven mitt. 

Treat yo' Self Day - Parks and Recreation

Treat yo' Self Day

Parks and Recreation © 2011 Deedle-Dee Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment, Universal Media Studios

Parks and Recreation presented a holiday in 2011 from which we can all benefit. Treat Yo’ Self Day, celebrated by Tom, Donna and Ben in the show is exactly what it sounds like. What should you treat yourself to?

Treat yo’ self.
Treat yo’ self.
Treat yo self.
Treat yo self.
Fine leather goods?
Treat yo’ self.

And these are just a few of the items specifically mentioned in the show. This holiday has no limits, save for those enforced by your bank account.  You work hard every day, so take a day to celebrate you. You’ve earned it.
        *note that a package of plain white socks does not count as treating yo self, but a batman suit definitely does.

What did we miss?

What TV holiday traditions would you add to the list?


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