From the series: Life on Dog Hill

As a former inclusion and diversity practitioner for a global company, I can tell you that I dreaded the end of the year. In the US, the company adorned its offices with Christmas trees, Menorahs and Kwanza candles. Every year I would get complaints from employees about the Christmas trees in the lobbies and the holiday music in the cafeterias — talk about a bunch of Grenches! And hey, what about Festivus for the rest of us?

That’s what one employee requested in an email he sent to about 30 people in the company. His email began with recognition of the efforts the company has made to be inclusive before lunging into how excluded he felt because his end of year holiday was not represented — Festivus. His request was to see Festivus poles erected next to every office Christmas tree. The email was well written and the employee’s point well argued; so much so that one of the recipients took it seriously and sent it to an HR executive who immediately forwarded it to me.

I smiled.

Why not Festivus for the rest of us? Can we also include “airing of the grievances?” I’d really like employees to have an opportunity to “officially” tell their coworkers and managers how let down they’ve felt during the year. Yes! Let’s do it!


As it happened, I was a big Seinfeld fan so I had seen the 1997 episode “The Strike” many times. Not to mention, my husband was a big Seinfeld fan and “Festivus talk” was common between us, especially toward the end of the year when we constantly threatened each other with the airing of the grievances.

Unfortunately for the employee who sent the Festivus email, not everyone he copied was acquainted with the holiday made renowned by the Seinfeld series. Nor was the HR executive who tossed it to me like a hot potato. Which is why the employee was rather embarrassed when I called to talk to him about his request.

I bet in hindsight, this employee smiles about it too. And, why not? Isn’t the end of the year a great time for remembering things that make us smile? Even Google’s getting into the fun. Just type Festivus into the search bar and see what is displayed on the left-hand side next to your results. Oh, yes it is!

In honor of the employee who demanded Festivus poles be placed next to every office Christmas tree, I share a little Festivus history for your enjoyment!

Image found here.


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