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’tis the season

November 20, 2010

when you live in africa, it’s pretty much inevitable that your christmas shopping for any non-handmade gifts will be done entirely online. whether that’s buying things and shipping it to volunteers who so covertly bring them to you under the nose of their recipients around you OR you buying things and shipping them to friends and family in average joe delivery boxes.

and this is a new concept for me. i’m definitely a hands on gift giver. i like to see in person what i’m giving to someone. i like hunting in used bookstores or unique small town stores or highly commercialized malls with my starbucks peppermint mocha for a great find. that says, “hey. i know you. i know who you are and i want to give you something that celebrates something about you and what you enjoy.” i like the details that go into wrapping a gift using unlikely supplies.

but at the same time, living here has been a great case study on myself during the christmas season. i mentioned last year my discovery of how not having things like cold weather and epic public christmas decorations affected my mood more than i would have guessed. it didn’t “feel” as much like christmas. i saw a window display yesterday with a christmas tree next to a mannequin in a swimsuit. just not the same, you know?

yesterday ketlhotswe was telling me it’s just not her culture to put fuss into christmas. it’s a day just like any other. christians celebrate and rejoice in the birth of Christ. but batswana generally don’t celebrate the christmas season, with a month long dedication to gift giving, decoration, and themed food. her family has never exchanged gifts at christmas. it’s not like she is unable to…it’s just not something that’s really done here. and i’m thankful for the contrast. it helps my perspective, i think. it invites me to live more simply with her. and living in a place where i can’t get a lot of the things i want to give helps me to be more creative. it encourages you to think how you can make things or do things for people instead of buying stuff.

don’t get me wrong. i love the christmas season and i will continue in my month long festivities but i hope too that what i’ve learned here will stick. next year will likely look a lot different this time of year. but in the same way i’d like to still have desire and appreciation for simple things.

so this afternoon i’m online shopping! and asking cara not to judge me for a christmas related post on the 20th of november :)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cara Maddox permalink
    November 22, 2010 5:43 pm

    My friend Emily put up her Christmas tree yesterday. I pardoned her only because she will be out of town the day after Thanksgiving when so knows is the proper time to begin the Christmas season. I will consider giving you a pardon, as well. Be glad I am not there to hide your Christmas movies.

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