It’s that time of year again: twinkle lights, holiday cookies, carol singing… and your trusty aluminum Festivus pole. Yep, that’s right, folks, it’s Festivus season. Traditionally celebrated on December 23rd, Festivus is the holiday brainchild of Frank Costanza, the cranky, quick-to-rage-at-just-about-everything father of the Seinfeld character George Costanza. (And the hero who taught us that yelling “Serenity now!” was a surefire way to reduce stress.)
It’s also a much-beloved but short-lived Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor. In 2000, just two years after the television sitcom ended, we debuted Festivus, a tasty combination of brown sugar cinnamon ice cream, gingerbread cookie chunks, and a ginger caramel swirl. Dare we say it was even better than a big salad or bowl of lobster bisque from the soup Nazi? “We set out to be Seinfeld-worthy,” says Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Guru Rob Douglas. “We pondered long and hard about what a holiday ice cream flavor should be, and yadda, yadda, yadda, Festivus was born. This flavor kicks fruitcake’s ass!”
After the 2000 success of Festivus, we knew that Seinfeld fans wouldn’t be happy with only one season of the ginger-centric treat, so we brought it back for the 2001 holiday season much to fans’ delight. While they gathered to air their grievances, perform feats of strength and admire their stark aluminum Festivus poles (no tinsel, that would be distracting), we like to think that a good number of Festivus celebrators also enjoyed a hearty pint of the holiday’s namesake Ben & Jerry’s flavor.
For those paying close attention in their grocer’s freezer aisle, you may have noticed that the Festivus flavor was reincarnated twice after its demise: once in 2004 as Gingerbread Cookie, and again in 2009 as Gingersnap. Fans can’t get enough of that ginger-ey, brown sugar-ey goodness.
So this Festivus, raise a glass to the show that brought us the close talker, the coffee table book about coffee tables, and the Ben & Jerry’s flavor that reminded us not to take the holiday season too seriously.