Naming it was the brilliant touch. We've always had holiday parties free from the forced camaraderie of relatives and coworkers, parties with the families we choose and not those life deals us. We would have kept on having them. But putting a name to it invests it with ceremony and meaning, even if that meaning was invented overnight. Now your gathering of friends has earned a place on the winter calendar alongside holy days that date back thousands of years.
I've been lucky enough to be part of one of the longest-running Festivus parties in the country--"Festivus party" being nothing more than a party you choose to call Festivus. We started it more or less by chance in December 1997, three days after "The Strike," and it's still going strong. It brings a little bit of those warm summer holidays, with their laid-back atmosphere and their elective families, into a time of year that's otherwise choked with obligations. So let's raise a glass to those sitcom writers who gave us this secular ritual, this instant tradition, where nobody is compelled and everybody is welcome, a Festivus for the rest of us.
(Feel free to conduct any airing of grievances or feats of strength in the comments.)