Looking for holiday spirit

I am having a hard time accepting that it is the holiday season. Maybe it is the weather. It is becoming increasingly warmer here. But I am not sure that is the culprit. I have had some unseasonably warm Christmases in Texas (sidebar: it seems weird to make the word Christmas plural). There are very few window displays here with fake greenery and snow to remind you that Christmas is soon. I don’t have a television, so perhaps I am missing all of the advertising that tells people now is the time to buy all that you can. It also might be the noticeable lack of holiday music. There are no huge mall complexes to wander around in with overhyped Christmas releases from the newest pop artist or oldest has-been. I listened to “O Holy Night” two days ago when it came up on shuffle in iTunes. I had to turn it off because it didn’t feel quite right.

Nevertheless, I did brave the elements today to do a little Christmas shopping. The Feira Nacional de Artesanato has been in Maputo since Tuesday, showcasing the works of artists from all over the country as well as a few from Zimbabwe and South Africa. The variety of artistic endeavors on display was staggering, especially the woodwork. It was hard to know where to start.

I have realized that bringing back gifts from travels is one of the most difficult occasions for gift shopping. Not only are you considering their personal preferences in general, but also you feel pressure to bring back something emblematic of the place that you are in. This delicate dance involved me wandering among all of the vendors for some time, debating with myself about what items I could bring back. Complicating matters are the space restrictions in my luggage for the trip back for the holidays. I guess I will learn next week just how well I pulled it off.

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