The Ben & Jerry's Flavor Inspired By Seinfeld's Beloved Anti-Holiday

Holiday treats like shortbread cookies and pumpkin pies are fine and dandy, but to Festivus fans, few things are sweeter than the annual Airing of Grievances. If you've seen the 1997 Seinfeld episode "The Strike" via NBC New York, you know all about Frank Costanza's anti-holiday created as a secular alternative to the commercialized, religious ones.

In the iconic Festivus episode, Frank Costanza outlines the holiday's peculiar (but honest) menagerie of traditions. The first is raising a decoration-less aluminum Festivus pole, as opposed to a Christmas tree. At dinner, there's the Airing of Grievances, in which members "gather your family around and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year," explains Costanza. Then, it's on to the Feats of Strength, a wrestling match in which the patriarch of the gathering must be pinned before the party is allowed to end.

Believe it or not, Festivus was a real thing for Seinfeld writer Dan O'Keefe. O'Keefe's father conceived the holiday, which included a ceremonial playing of 1950s German and Italian pop music and an actual airing of grievances. In 2005, O'Keefe wrote the book "The Real Festivus" about the experience, reflecting, "We put it on TV, and — I wouldn't say the rest is history — the rest is a brief pop-culture footnote, but it's a marginally interesting one, I guess," via the New York Post. This pop-culture footnote, it turns out, inspired a Ben & Jerry's flavor.

A flavor for the rest of us

Ben & Jerry's holiday offerings are classic, predictable Christmassy flavors, like Minter Wonderland, Gingerbread Cookie, Peppermint Schtick, and Sugar Plum. But, one retired holiday flavor from Ben & Jerry's is, shall we say, considerably more difficult to envision at first glance. Introducing: Festivus — a flavor for the rest of us.

To commemorate Seinfeld's series conclusion two years prior in 1998, Ben & Jerry's rolled out the Festivus flavor around Christmas 2000. The flavor featured brown sugar cinnamon ice cream, ginger caramel swirl, and gingerbread cookie chunks. It sounds much more appetizing than a traditional Festivus meal (a slab of meatloaf on top of a bed of lettuce), right? Still, the Festivus flavor ran for only two holiday seasons, from 2000-2002 ... technically. The ice cream duo sneakily returned the flavor for two more runs under different names. In 2004, the Festivus flavor came back as Gingerbread Cookie, and in 2009 it was packaged as Gingersnap. Seinfeld fans and ice cream fans alike might ask Santa Claus for another incarnation of the beloved Festivus flavor to crop up in the future.