I was walking around scenic Teaneck in my t shirt and jeans on a random Sunday. At the time the Sunday wasn't random but in the grand scheme of things it wasn't grand either so there you go. While walking around a square I noticed a couple dressed very nicely. I assume they were on their way to some celebratory event, some simcha. Good for them. But I felt bad for them. Here I was, enjoying the weather and being dressed down and they had to get all dolled up to sing and dance for someone who won't know they were there.
Truth is, any particular person is irrelevant at a simcha. There are a couple hundred similarly festive guests and a host who is so worried about the catering and keeping track of the gift envelopes that he or she can't pay attention to who is there. And who even wants to go? Same songs, same food, same dances. Odds are the invite comes five minutes before you get invited to something which is actually fun on that same afternoon. But you just have to go because supposedly, this is "more important" than sitting around and enjoying yourself.
So here's my plan.
We turn the attendance into something akin to jury duty. You get a piece of mail which tells you that you have been selected to attend an event on some Sunday. If it conflicts with other plans, you can defer. If not, you go. Isn't each simcha really a celebration for the whole community anyway? So you go and sing and eat some chicken in between sweaty circle stomping and the hosts have a room full of random dressed up folks who are having the standard good time.
And gifts? Either forget them completely or pay into a central pool of money which is apportioned to each host based on the invites. So if I invite 100 people I am paid a certain amount and I am charged a certain amount. Think about it; each year I pay out a certain number of checks for events and those hosts then pay out some of my money to the next host when they are the guest . That cash goes around like some regifted fruit cake. I'm just streamlining the process. Maybe, the more events you volunteer to attend, the less you have to pay per event. I don't know, I'm just an idea guy in a T-shirt while you are reading this to avoid listening to another generic speech at some event that you wish you could have skipped.