So there is one week to Christmas, but you would not know it in Africa. I live in a small rural village which is hours away from any large shopping mall. Our TV has not been working for several weeks now so without the mass commercialization of the holiday in stores, movies, and commercials that I am used to in America it doesn’t feel like Christmas. Add to that the fact that there is no snow, no Christmas lights on the village huts lighting up the sky, and no Christmas tree decorated in the house adds up to a lack of festivity. I miss the excitement of the smells and sounds of Christmas that is so typical in America. I have asked many of my friends and coworkers here what they will do to celebrate the birth of Jesus and almost all said they will go to mass and then spend time with family. When I ask about presents they get a surprised look on their face and say no we don’t exchange gifts. This is such a sharp contrast to America where most of the children and people there think solely of gifts when someone mentions Christmas. Most people don’t know what Santa Claus or reindeer are here, and the medias insistence to purchase many gifts is not present here. Despite all this I am planning on carrying on my family’s tradition of creating gingerbread houses this weekend in Uganda. I will have to be creative as the bounty of leftover Halloween candy I usually use to decorate the house is not available so instead I may be using beans and bisquits to create an African house. The only sign of Christmas right now in the house is the three candles lit on the Advent wreath at our chapel. Jesus is the reason for the season and spending time celebrating the day with your loved ones is the most important thing about the holiday. However, a little decoration and music never hurt either...I'm hoping after this weekend there will be a lot more festivity and excitement to put me in the Christmas spirit, after all there are only 7 days to Christmas.