Festivus: For the Rest of Us
Festivus is a non-denominational holiday that was introduced to the world on an episode of Seinfeld in 1997. At Connecticut College, Festivus is our annual holiday party, a way of celebrating the holidays without imposing on anyone’s beliefs.
Festivus takes place in December, usually two weeks before finals. This is a way for everyone to have one last celebration before buckling down to study. According to Seinfeld, the holiday takes place on December 23, but since Conn is on winter break during that time, we celebrate it earlier.
This year, the night began with a special dinner at Harris Dinning Hall featuring eggnog: apple cider, a bread bar with herbed butter, butternut squash soup, sliced sirloin with merlot demi glaze, grilled apricot chicken, vegetable and tofu pasta, quinoa with edamame and oranges, smashed Yukon gold potatoes, fresh fruit salad and cranberry couscous salad.
Kimberly Klepacki ’13 says, “The exciting part was the dinner, the food is always really good, they have actually good rolls and other foods”. This year there was also an A Capella concert by the Co Co Beaux, and those who planned their evenings thoughtfully were able to get dinner early and later enjoyed a fabulous concert before going out for Festivus.
According to the Wikipedia article, Festivus also includes certain traditions. “The holiday’s celebration,” as it was shown on Seinfeld, included an unadorned aluminum ”Festivus pole,” practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats-of-Strength,” and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles.”
These traditions also exist in the Conn College celebration, upheld in the campus section parties. This year there were parties in each area, for example the Central Campus party took place in the Larrabee Common Room. There was a competition and judging of each party’s decorations, and a prize was given to the best one.
At the area parties there is always food, drink, decorations, and music organized by members of Res Life. “The housefellows got together and planned everything” Says Molly Pachey ‘15 “then the day of everyone (housefellows, floor governors) got together and set up everything in the common room”
At these parties, there is usually a Festivus pole, a ‘feats-of-strength’ area, and special place to air grievances. Alison Thomson ‘13 says, “We usually stopped by the area parties before going out. In the Jane Adams celebration of 2011, there was a fire, eggnog, and a Festivus pole. It was really fun to see everyone dressed up!” The campus parties usually carry through until around 10PM before the Cro dance and desserts are served.
The Cro dance is organized by class councils, and each class is in charge of a different aspect of the celebration. Ted Steinberg ‘16 says, “All the class councils meet and decide what we want to have in Cro. Each class then provides their contribution; ours was a karaoke machine!” Thomson ’13 adds, “In previous years they had a bar in Cro for the seniors and other 21-year-olds but they didn’t have it this year.”
This year in Cro, in addition to karaoke, there was a photo booth, music, good food such as pumpkin cheesecake bars, cream puffs, raspberry blackout bars, and peppermint bark. The, of course, there was the dance! The dance is usually where everyone ends up at the end of the night. Steinberg ‘16 says, “I thought it went really well. People I’ve talked to about it had a good time. I’ve also received a little constructive criticism which I’ll take into account for next year.”
Traditions are always changing at Conn, but Festivus has seen few changes over the years.