Favorite Holiday Traditions – Nick Dokich

For this year’s Thanksgiving blog series, we decided to ask the Central Office staff to tell us about their favorite holiday traditions. Each day this week, you’ll hear from someone on staff and find out what each of us like the most about the holiday season, and hopefully you’ll let us know your favorite traditions as well.

Next up is Alpha Visitor Nick Dokich.

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Holiday traditions. I grew up not having many. I moved away from my extended family at an early age, and with that I lost the majority of the traditions that I had. I never had cousins or any extended family for that matter until a year ago, so there was never really a point to come up with tradition.

I do have one tradition I have been doing for years, I always watch a Christmas Story on TBS at least 4 times before and during Christmas. Yeah it may be a little lame, but for some reason I love that movie. That’s pretty much the extent of lifelong holiday traditions for me, but I don’t feel like I missed out as a child. In fact I think it is better this way. As I get older I can make my own traditions. I can choose what I want to do and how I want to celebrate the holidays. What is the most important part of the holidays? The people that you share it with. So it will be my tradition to simply enjoy the company of those so close to me. This is extremely important especially because I travel so much so I rarely get to see my family and hometown friends.

Six years ago my friends and I started a tradition, stealing it from Seinfeld, Festivus for the Rest-of-us. Festivus was a holiday that was mentioned in an episode of Seinfeld where George’s father did not like any of the other holidays so he created his own.

From Wikipedia: The holiday, as portrayed in the Seinfeld episode, includes practices such as the “Airing of Grievances”, which occurs during the Festivus meal and in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year. After the meal the “Feats of Strength” are performed, involving wrestling the head of the household to the floor, with the holiday ending only if the head of the household is actually pinned.

Truthfully, Festivus can get extremely emotional and personal attacks are frequent. In our version of Festivus, during or directly after dinner there is the Airing of Grievances where we tell each person how we really feel about them and what they have done in the past year to annoy us. One or two people normally get the majority of the complaints. 

The King of Festivus is crowned by winning the most Feats of Strength (Some years we even have elaborate point systems). The King is in charge of next year preparations and decides where/when it is held. The Feats of Strength which change year to year, anything from a Call of Duty tournament to a sumo wrestling match where last man standing wins. This allows us to get our aggression out and to move on to what really matters: Time to forget.

Time to forget is essentially a cocktail hosted after the events at a local establishment or someone’s house. This is the most important part of Festivus, the part when we realize that after all the personal attacks earlier in the night we still all love each other. It is cathartic for a group of men who have known each other for so long to get things off their chests and forget about them. Time to forget is also time to remember what is most important, and that is the people you share your life with. 

Festivus has become so popular that some of my friends travel from as far as Peru to attend. It is a small tradition that has turned into a homecoming for all of us. It is a time to catch up, laugh at each others expense, and simply enjoy the company. I look forward to this time every year, my family even knows not to plan vacations during this date. This year not only will we be celebrating Festivus, but we will be celebrating the marriage of one of my closest friends this past week. Sadly I was not able to attend, but luckily Festivus happens every yea,r and we will just add his wedding reception to the end of Festivus. It is great that we can use this stupid tradition we started in high school to keep us close together even with our busy lives. 

I hope y’all get to enjoy your friends and family as I can this holiday season. Remember that this is a time to relax and cultivate memories with the ones you love. 

Happy Festivus to the Rest-of-us. 

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