Happy Festivus! Air your grievances.
- 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!"
- Kramer: "That must have been some kind of doll."
- Frank Costanza: "She was."
- Cosmo Kramer: "And is there a tree?"
- Frank Costanza: "No, instead, there's a pole. It requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting."
- Frank Costanza: "It's made from aluminum. Very high strength-to-weight ratio."
When not being used, the pole is stored in the Costanzas' crawl space.
A celebratory dinner is shown on the evening of Festivus prior to the Feats of Strength and during the Airing of Grievances. The on-air meal was shown to be some sort of meatloaf. The original holiday dinner in the O'Keefe household featured turkey or ham followed by a Pepperidge Farm cake decorated with M&M's, as described in detail in O'Keefe's The Real Festivus. In the Seinfeld episode no alcohol is served at the dinner, but George Costanza's boss, Mr. Kruger, drinks from a hip flask.
Airing of Grievances
The celebration of Festivus begins with the "Airing of Grievances," which takes place immediately after the Festivus dinner has been served. It consists of lashing out at others and the world about how one has been disappointed in the past year.
- Frank Costanza: "And at the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year!"
- Frank Costanza: "The tradition of Festivus begins with the Airing of Grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you're gonna hear about it. You, Kruger. My son tells me your company stinks! You couldn't smooth a silk sheet if you had a hot date with a babe...I lost my train of thought."
Feats of Strength
The Feats of Strength is the final tradition observed in the celebration of Festivus, celebrated immediately following (or in the case of "The Strike," during) the Festivus dinner. The head of the household selects one person at the Festivus celebration and challenges that person to a wrestling match. The person may decline if they have something else to do, such as pull a double shift at work. Tradition states that Festivus is not over until the head of the household is pinned in a wrestling match. The Feats of Strength are mentioned twice in the episode before they actually take place. In both instances, no detail was given as to what had actually happened, but in both instances, George Costanza ran out of the coffee shop in a mad panic, implying he had bad experiences with the Feats of Strength in the past. What the Feats of Strength entailed was revealed at the very end of the episode, when it actually took place. Failing to pin the head of the household results in Festivus continuing until such requirement is met.
- Jerry Seinfeld: "And wasn't there a Feats of Strength that always ended up with you crying?"
- George Costanza: "I can't take it anymore! I'm going to work! Are you happy now?!"
- Frank Costanza: "I've brought one of the cassette tapes."
- Frank Costanza (on a tape recorder): "Read that poem."
- George Costanza (on a tape recorder): "I can't read it, I need my glasses."
- Frank Costanza (on a tape recorder): "You don't need glasses! You're just weak, weak!"
- Estelle Costanza (on a tape recorder): (shouts) "Leave him alone!"
- Frank Costanza (on a tape recorder): "All right, George. It's time for the Festivus Feats of Strength!"
- George Costanza: "No! No! Turn it off! No Feats of Strength! I hate Festivus!"
- Frank Costanza: "We had some good times."
Another growing tradition, although not used by all celebrants of the holiday, is the phenomenon of the Festivus Miracle. Mentioned twice in the original episode, the miracles were declared by Cosmo Kramer during the Festivus celebration in the Costanza household.
- Sleazy Guy: "Hello again, Miss Benes."
- Elaine Benes: "What are you doing here?"
- Sleazy Guy: "Damnedest thing. Me and Charlie were calling to ask you out, and, uh, we got this bagel place."
- Cosmo Kramer: "I told them I was just about to see you. It's a Festivus Miracle!"
- Gwen: "Jerry!"
- Jerry Seinfeld: "Gwen! How did you know I was here?"
- Gwen: "Kramer told me!"
- Cosmo Kramer: "Another Festivus Miracle!"
- Jerry Seinfeld: (gives Kramer a murderous glare)