Any chance you might be a Seinfeld fan? ‘A Festivus for the Rest of us’ was birthed in Season 9 of this classic comedy show. In this particular episode Frank Costanza expressed a concern over the increased commercialism and consumerism that tends to saturate the December holiday season.
For those not too familiar, in this episode, Frank Costanza tells the story of a routine outing to secure a Christmas gift for his son George where he came to the realization that there should be a new holiday:
Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.
Cosmo Kramer: What happened to the doll?
Frank Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born… a Festivus for the rest of us!
Cosmo Kramer: That must have been some kind of doll.
Frank Costanza: She was.
.. and so the story goes.
This time of year many people see as a time for reflection, taking stock, giving thanks and appreciation for what they have, or looking forward to the goals they would like to pursue in the new year.
How could this coming year be different?
Could we hope to cure all that troubles our world or could we hope for something simpler?
What about something as simple as trying to be truly present for others.
Being truly present may not sound difficult but it’s important to be aware it can be a challenge.
What if we were really present in our interactions with those that we encounter on a daily basis? Or, if we really listened and responded to a question after really considering the answer?
What if we put down our phones and really listened to a question by taking the time to look someone in the eye as you answer their question?
What could this mean for the other person?
Imagine this thought process to be present existed before these December holidays took over? To some degree there is a plethora of truth behind the comical ailments of ‘A Festivus for the Rest of us’ – isn’t there?
What could a shift in being present do for you?
Would you stop saying things like; “What was the time of that meeting?” meanwhile you thought you were successfully multi-tasking?
Could it cause you to slow down a little? Have a meaningful conversation with someone about a mutually enjoyable topic? Perhaps you will laugh with someone or just smile for one intimate moment as you appreciate the person you are present with?
Some might say that technology has quickened the pace of so many things that we do at work and at home. We are looking for super fast results and want answers faster because we can’t wait calmly in our own skin for too long.
The hours and days fly by hardly knowing where the time went, yet we continue to move as fast as we can to get the job done and check off the boxes on our many to-do lists.
We expect others to make progress quickly and we see failure when they don’t achieve as quickly as we expect and may see it as a reflection of our time with them.
Taking time to be present with our tribe and those most important to us can be part of a movement towards the progress we so desperately want to see and feel as success.
Although I don’t know that my undivided attention will solve all of the world’s problems, but it just might make some moments more meaningful to others. By being fully present, I can make a difference.
What can we Learn from the Festivus?
Although all be it this ‘festivus s holiday’ is not observed by all, laughed at or even shunned by others – there is a teachable moment in there. That moment being take some time to truly evaluate your circumstance. Look around and take in your environment and the energy in possesses. What can you shift, change or adopt in the new year?
Whatever holiday you observe celebrate, I hope it brings you peace, love and laughter.