For the rest of us

FOR THE REST OF US…. In the life-imitates-art category, Seinfeld-inspired Festivus celebrations seem to be catching on in a big way. I haven’t done a direct comparison with last year’s media reports, but there seems to be more Festivus-related coverage this year. We’re dealing with a “holiday” with real growth potential.

* Two fairly popular Festivus books are on bookstore shelves: Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us and The Real Festivus: The Handbook for the Rest of Us.

* Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) is not only celebrating Festivus, he added a Festivus pole to the holiday decorations at the governor’s mansion. “I assume we’ll be celebrating the traditional Festivus,” Doyle deadpanned in an interview last week.

* There’s a Festivus wine, Festivus beer, a Miss Festivus pageant, and a Festivus ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s.

* In Lakeland, Fla., local officials created a “free speech zone” outside the county administration building, allowing local residents to feature holiday displays, leaving no tradition behind. Someone, naturally, placed an aluminum pole with a “Festivus” sign on site. (The sign was defaced and the pole stolen. How soon until “war on Festivus” talk dominates Fox News?)

As the New York Times explained last year, Festivus was invented in 1966 by Dan O’Keefe, whose son became a writer on “Seinfeld” and who appropriated the family tradition for the show. It’s a good thing; there are apparently a lot of disaffected people looking for an alternative holiday this time of year.

It’d likely drive Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson mad, but I’m still waiting for the U.S. Post Office to get in on this. For a business that’s perennially short on revenue, Festivus stamps would be a real money-maker.