Intro: How to Make a Festivus Pole
Festivus is just around the corner. So to prepare, I am going to show you how to make a simple Festivus Pole.
Before we get started, you might be wondering "What is Festivus?" and "What is a Festivus Pole?"
Festivus is a holiday that was popularized by the American sitcom Seinfeld (Season 9 Episode 10 "The Strike"). It is celebrated on December 23rd. The holiday is promoted as "an alternative to participating in the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season." One of the central elements of a Festivus Celebration is an unadorned aluminum pole which has been appropriately named the Festivus Pole. The Festivus Pole serves as a counter part to the traditional Christmas Tree. However, it is not decorated and there are no presents. It is just admired for its simplicity.
Here is how to make one.
Step 1: Materials
Here are the materials and tools that you will need to complete this project.
An Aluminum Pole
Scrap pieces of 2 x 4
Hole Saw (with a diameter that is slightly larger than the base of the aluminum pole)
Step 2: Selecting the Aluminum Pole
A Festivus Pole can be made from any kind of aluminum pole. You can use anything from an aluminum broom handle to an Aluminum Fence post. You can just look around your local hardware store to see what you can find.
If you want to accurately recreate the pole used the Seinfeld episode, you will want a pole that is about 2 inches in diameter and about 6 feet long.
I chose to use a 2" Aluminum flag pole. These are typically sold in sections that can be fit together to make any length that you want.
Step 3: Cut the Sections of 2 X 4 for the Base
To hold the pole in place, I constructed a simple base from scrap pieces of 2 x 4. For this, I chose a simple x-frame design (sometimes called a "Charlie Brown tree stand").
To make the stand, I cut two pieces that were about 20 inches long and two pieces that were 3 1/2 inches long.
Step 4: Mark and Apply Glue to the Overlapping Sections
Stack the pieces of 2 x 4 together in the way that they will be assembled. Then use a pencil to mark the sections of wood that overlap. Take your favorite wood glue and apply a generous amount to these areas.
Step 5: Fit the Pieces Together and Clamp Them
Fit the pieces of 2 x 4 together as shown. Then clamp the boards together at each glue joint. Some glue may be squeezed out when the boards are pressed together. You can just wipe this off so that it doesn't leave a trail of dried glue on the outside of your stand. Allow the glue to dry overnight to fully cure.
Step 6: Drill a Hole in the Stand for the Pole
Next you need to use a hole saw to cut a hole in the stand for the aluminum pole to fit in. The pole that I am using 2 inches in diameter. But the base of the pole is 1 7/8" in diameter (this lets you fit multiple sections of the flag pole together). So I used a hole saw that was also 1 7/8" in diameter.
Because my hole saw was not long enough to cut all the way through both boards, I needed to cut the hole from both sides. To make sure that the holes line up, I first drilled a pilot hole all the way through both boards using the hole saws pilot drill bit. This gave me a common guide for both holes. When cutting with the hole saw, I alternated between the top and bottom sides so that the holes met evenly in the middle.
Step 7: Assemble the Finished Festivus Pole
Once the hole is cut, you can insert your aluminum pole. If you have tall ceilings and would like to make your Festivus Pole taller, you can add additional flag pole sections to achieve the desired height. All the pieces should be loosely fit together to make them easier to disassemble after the Holiday.
Step 8: Celebrate Festivus!
Place your Festivus Pole in a prominent location and you are ready to celebrate Festivus.
Other activities that you can participate in to celebrate Festivus include Festivus dinner, the Airing of Grievances, Feats of Strength, declaring Festivus miracles, or watching "The Strike" (Season 9 Episode 10 of Seinfeld).
Festivus Dinner: In the Seinfeld episode the dinner was a generic meatloaf. But it can be anything. What matters is that the whole family is together.
The Airing of Grievances: At the end of Festivus Dinner comes the Airing of Grievances. This is when each person takes a turn expressing all the ways that they have been disappointed by something in the last year. This is sometimes focused on ways that the other attendees have disappointed you, but many people avoid this in an attempt to keep the event less hostile.
Feats of Strength: After dinner and the Airing of Grievances is completed, the evening is concluded with the Feats of Strength. In this event, the head of the household challenges one of the attendees to a contest of Strength. In the episode, the feat of strength was a wrestling match. However many people substitute a simpler challenge such as thumb wrestling. Festivus is not over until the head of the household is defeated at the selected challenge.
Festivus miracles: Throughout the holiday, it is common to declare any minor coincidence as a "Festivus Miracle." This is most often intentionally absurd and serves to help participants better appreciate the random coincidences that are constantly happening around us.
Well. I hope that you will make your own Festivus Pole and join in the celebrations this December 23rd. Happy Festivus Everyone!