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?