Monday, December 13, 2010

Obligatory Scrooge blog post

I'm not quite sure when it happened, but I became a bit of a Scrooge some time over the past decade, probably 'round the time I came out of the broom closet and admitted that I'm not a Christian. I celebrate the Wheel of the Year with the pagans, tho' I describe myself more as a self-styled mystic with iconclastic tendencies. I am a philosopher, a magician and an author, which sort of suggests that I spend a whole lot of time thinking about stuff then writing about it, with the intention that my words eventually go out there and create change. Even in romance writing, which is pure "for the fun of it", I love showing characters who experience some sort of personal transformation. And that is pure magic, in my opinion.

But, I'm also in the media industry, and that's the thing. Over the past decade that I've been immersed in assorted advertising-related print media scenarios, I've grown to despise anything that is attached to a "reason for the season", pink-and-red Valentine's hearts or gifts for Mom.

I've reached the point in my life where I can and will have a panic attack if you make me walk through a shopping mall at year-end, at 11am on a Saturday. Tinsel fills me with a gnawing sense of impending doom. Christmas carols cause me to hyperventilate and look for the nearest exit. Don't even show me a fat beareded man in a red suit. I'll run screaming. Ho. Ho. Ho.

Why? Because any commercial holiday that requires me to a) buy stuff, b) buy stuff and c) buy stuff, uses clever advertising to induce guilt and generally involves extended meals with family I cannot stand, is just... Well, I don't buy it anymore. I've opted out. Part of my work involves selling lies. You can't honestly expect me to buy my own patter, do you?

And, you're more than welcome to point fingers at me, because I can't and won't have kids. I'd probably be singing a completely different tune if I had spawned a sproglet or two. But I've also got a funny feeling if I'd had sprogs, I'd probably be the horrible, nasty kind of mother who doesn't put up a Xmas tree or buy gifts. And my offspring would live deprived lives and probably end up being the kind of parents who overcompensate for my evil a generation later by stuffing their offspring full of Xmas cheer.

What I'll be celebrating this year is UnXmas. Essentially this boils down to taking advantage of the general buzz of everyone else being on leave so we can partake in that old South African custom of "kuier" (Afrikaans for "visit" that implies sitting around and talking about sh1t while drinking).

Depending on whether my car is functioning, I may drive 244km up the N2 to visit my family, but I'm not going to lose sleep over the missed gammon lunch. I stopped eating pork about half a decade ago, in any case. And besides, I loathe my siblings. I'd rather visit my folks when the others aren't there.

Call me anti-social if you will, but I'd rather not fall into that breathless rush of looking for marzipan at 4.30pm on Christmas Eve or eating myself into a stupor. You'll find me rather chilling on my balcony, sipping a G&T, and enjoying the view. Deadlines aside, I have enough to stress about during the rest of the year. And damn, that gin tastes fine with lemon when it's 28ºC outside and everyone else is comatose after too much braaivleis.
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Writing as Therése von Willegen, I released my first erotic romance novel, Tainted Love, on December 9. While romance may not be everyone's "thing", do go take a look. I had loads of fun researching and writing the story. It's quite a departure from my usual fare, but it's a great story with some memorable characters. Besides, who hasn't wondered what it must be like baring all?



  1. Sounds like Festivus would be more your thing. I would love for my family to do Festivus but I'm afraid it would degenerate into beating each other with aluminum poles. At least then I wouldn't be expected to show up at anymore famiy gatherings! :-)

  2. Nah, we keep it simple. We call it UnXmas and drink G&Ts or dirty Martinis while watching horror movies.

  3. Christmas has become a low-key event here too. I hate shopping anyway so going to the mall anytime during the year is an ordeal. My Christmas card list keeps getting shorter each year and no one comes over nor do we travel anywhere. Part of the reason we don't go overboard on the celebrations is because my daughter has autism and too much stimulation can upset her.

    Btw, a friend sent me a link to the legend of Krampus. Of course that legend appeals to my darker nature. :-)

  4. Ooh, Krampus. Don't get me started... **giggles** Now that is a myth I'd love to see revived.

  5. I sympathise, Nerine. Though I tend to use the fact that the end of December was a pagan feasting holiday before the Christians hijacked it as a reason why we non-Christians can celebrate it.

    I see Xmas a time to eat lots, drink lots, generally kick back with friends and have a good time.

    But the blatant commercialism - encouraging people to spend money they don't have on people they don't like - bugs me, too.


  6. A friend of mine has pegged it as "Giftmas" rather than Christmas, to remind people about the true nature of what they're involved in.... Mmm, sounds ominous.

  7. We celebrate TaXMas. It's when Uncle Sam brings us money. Then we go buy our own presents.