By Hillary Busis
December 25, 2013 at 03:30 PM EST

Homestar Runner

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What’s Decemberween, you ask? Why, it’s only the world’s greatest holiday — the most sanitary time of year!

Back in olden times, celebrants would observe Decemberween — a festival held 55 days after Halloween, on December 25 — by piling up all the dead rats they’d accumulated throughout the year. These days, folks are more likely to celebrate by decorating an evergreen, feasting upon the traditional Decemberween bunny, and exchanging gifts; appropriate presents include sponges, some Chex Party Mix, a DVD of Deep Impact, gift cards for fashion, and half-digested gazelle carcasses. Also, sometimes it’s celebrated in July.

Fine, so Decemberween isn’t a real thing — it’s a goofy fake holiday invented by Mike and Matt Chapman, better known around the Internet as The Brothers Chaps. They’re the masterminds behind the Homestar Runner Universe, a series of Flash cartoons that gave zillions of people hours, or at least minutes, of entertainment in the early- to mid-’00s. New shorts were being posted up through December 2010 — a special Halloween/Decemberween extravaganza! — but by that point, the site’s heyday was long past. Don’t cry for the Brothers Chaps, though; they’ve gone on to successful careers in real TV, writing for shows like Yo Gabba Gabba! and Gravity Falls.

Though the website was named after cheery, optimistic, armless Homestar Runner himself, the site’s breakout character actually ended up being Homestar’s nemesis — a grouchy, sarcastic, arm-having dude named Strong Bad, who wears a lucha libre mask and loves making fun of the people who send him emails. Even if you’re unfamiliar with Homestar Runner as a whole, chances are you’ve seen at least one Strong Bad short — or maybe an episode of Teen Girl Squad, a crude comic Strong Bad draws about a group of silly teenagers. It, too, eventually became its own mini-series. (So many layers, guys!) 

If Strong Bad and Teen Girl Squad were your only entrées into the world of Homestar Runner, though, you may have missed out on getting to know the rest of the universe’s quirky characters, like word-mangling Coach Z (“Great jorb!”), big, round Pom Pom, the mustachioed King of Town, and Homestar’s long-suffering armless girlfriend Marzipan. But everyone would regularly show up for Decemberween specials — making them great as both introductions to the Homestar universe and inside joke-studded gifts for devoted fans.

So this Christmas, take a few minutes to celebrate with the citizens of Free Country, USA — even if bunny isn’t going to be on your holiday menu. And remember, kids: Decemberween is not about getting people presents. It’s about getting people good presents.

Homestar Runner

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