Lovers, groundhogs and the Irish have their own holidays, so it was only a matter of time before the video gamers followed suit.

Today marks the start of Winter-een-mas, a weeklong festival that has become increasingly popular since it began in 2003.

Like “Seinfeld’s” Festivus, Winter-een-mas started out as a fictional holiday that’s now celebrated in real life. It’s officially recognized by many gaming stores, including EB Games.

The seven-day extravaganza, celebrated from Jan. 25-31 every year, comes from “Ctrl+Alt+Del,” a comic and animated series about video game addicts. The comic’s protagonist, video game clerk Ethan, started celebrating the holiday in the comic, and real-life video game addicts started hosting their own Winter-een-mas parties.

“It’s just another reason for us to get together and play video games,” said Nathan Glass, an 18-year-old Lincolnite and self-professed gaming junkie. Glass sent out a Facebook invite to other Lincoln gamers to join him in celebrating Winter-een-mas.

He’ll host his gathering this weekend, playing “Halo 3,” “Guitar Hero III” and “Rock Band” with a group of friends.

At some hard-core Winter-een-mas parties, attendees wear hats and costumes and hold homemade plastic scepters. But Glass’ shindig will just be standard video gaming.

Each of the seven Winter-een-mas days celebrates a different genre of video game, paying homage to the 12 Days of Christmas story.

Day 1: Action, platform and adventure games. The day’s mascot is a man dressed as Indiana Jones.

Day 2: First-person shooters, represented by a slacker 20-something who needs sleep.

Day 3: Fighting games, represented by a beaten and battered martial artist.

Day 4: Real-time strategy games, represented by a big man with a beard and a pocket protector.

Day 5: Racing games, represented by a racer holding a detached steering wheel.

Day 6: Role-playing games, represented by an elf woman.

And on the seventh day of Winter-een-mas, it’s time to play sports games, which are represented by a fat, middle-aged man wearing a jersey.

Reach Micah Mertes at 473-7395 or