With December 23 fast-approaching, it’s time to get serious about your plans for FestivusTM. Don’t be distracted by bright lights, shiny tinsel, and the same three snowman songs looping on the overhead speakers.

FestivusTM requires focus. Here are some tips for buckling down and making it the most productive one yet.

Airing of Grievances

Chances are you faced a lot of problems this year – so you’ll need to triage your grievances. Brainstorm with your team:

  • Which initiatives caused us to lose a significant amount of sleep with no major payoff?
  • Did anything go off the rails to the point that a project seemed (or was) doomed?
  • Who put that skunk in Jeff’s car? Or was that last year? You don’t want to let old grievances sully this year’s FestivusTM.

Once you’ve identified your grievances, it’s important to keep the “airing” process on track. Ask the big questions:

  • How can we prioritize our 2019 goals to achieve great things while avoiding unnecessary stress? In other words, are there any current activities or tasks that are causing a lot of pain without bringing value? Should we get rid of them?
  • What new processes can we put in place to prevent our 2018 missteps from spilling over into the new year? Do we need an additional “check” in our quality control or editing process?
  • Why is the guy who put that skunk in Jeff’s car making himself a plate of FestivusTM fixings? (Turns out it was this year). He really should’ve been fired on the spot.Remember to allow time for everyone to air their grievances, as long as they stick to the problem and resolution approach. If you have a large team, consider splitting them up into “Grievance Groups.”

FestivusTM Dinner

Depending on how your team celebrates the holidays, this could be a lunch instead. It really doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that everyone is eating and airing their grievances. This year our office is going to a bowling alley, so hopefully there will be hot dogs.

Feats of Strength

No celebration is complete without giving your team the opportunity to make each other feel inferior. Since this traditional FestivusTM practice encourages violence not normally acceptable in a professional environment (for example a bowling alley), you’re going to have to improvise. This might involve:

  • Who can win the most garbage out of the claw machine?
  • Who can heave the heaviest bowling ball without dislocating a shoulder, which calls for immediate disqualification?
  • Who can eat the most nachos without, well…

FestivusTM Miracles

Did Karen turn in her reports on time? Did you make it through a full day without anyone sarcastically commenting that they’re “living the dream?” Did the entire team survive your bowling alley adventure relatively unscathed – no concussions or foot infections?

These are examples of FestivusTM Miracles, so enjoy them while you can.

Happy FestivusTM!

* FestivusTM is a secular holiday that was introduced to the world at large in a 1997 episode of “Seinfeld” titled “The Strike.” Television writer and producer Dan O’Keefe has said the holiday was created by his father.

Excerpts from “Seinfeld,” including the term “FestivusTM,” and other sources are included in this blog under the doctrine of “Fair Use.”