I think I'll call it a "Bertrand Russell Party"

2003-11-27 23:37

One of the miseries of the “holiday season” is the tendency for people to find themselves, unexpectedly, with nowhere to go. There is something horrible about the day when all your friends are visiting their families, and you are alone. This happens to different people every year, for different reasons. Perhaps a sibling is visiting Puerto Rico in late december. Perhaps a dispute over whether or not a loved one is a suitable partner has created a rift. Does it matter? There it is, December 24th or 25th, and there’s no one to spend time with; just an empty house, perhaps with a forlorn tree, which you are increasingly aware is already dead, even if it doesn’t know it yet, and which will shortly need to be thrown out.

The solution is simple; a party for people who are not invited to any parties. A friend of a friend of a friend hosted one once; I went, because I had nowhere else to go, and I enjoyed it a great deal.

With this in mind, we’re hosting one this year. December 24th, people will be invited to come visit us, during the afternoon and evening. Maybe a few will show up; maybe only one or two. There will be food. There will not be Christmas music. There will be no preaching or evangelizing; I know too many people whose families have rejected them for being of a different faith, or of no faith at all. The spirit of the season, it seems to me, is better served through kindness than through proselytizing.

The party for the people who are not invited to any parties; it sounds like Russell’s famous “set of all sets which do not contain themselves”.

I encourage others to do the same. The foundation of such a party should be simple; a friendly place for people who are alone to be less alone for awhile. A respite from the painfully repetitive music selection most of America is confronted with during December. A chance to meet new people. A brief interval during which “stranger” means “friend I haven’t met before”.

Ours is in Saint Paul, Minnesota. If you want to host one, pick a day (the 24th and the 25th seem like likely days), and announce it by whatever means are convenient to you. Reach out to the people who cannot spend the time with their families. If you, yourself, are in that boat, well, all the better reason to have a party.

Thanks, again, to whoever threw that party. It might have been Chris, but I don’t remember any more; all I remember is that, on a day when I could have reasonably expected to sit home alone, moody and depressed, I got a chance to sit in a warm, well-lit house, talk to interesting people, and have a few cookies. It was a good day.

Who’s with me on this one?

Peter Seebach

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Comments

  1. An excellent idea, seebs! If it weren't for the fact that I'd be 6-6.5 hours away from you on xmas eve, I'd consider attending.

    Good luck with the party.

    Sincerely,

    Goliath

    Goliath · 2003-12-02 17:26 · #

  2. great idea, I am one of those sets that do not contain themselves this year... and in the last many years!

    Too late to throw a party now, but I will keep that in mind for the years to come.

    best wishes,
    -Cordelia

    — Cordelia · 2003-12-25 02:00 · #

 
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