Nigerians are usually excited during the Christmas season, but it’s the third week of December 2023, and the atmosphere is very not Christmasy. Instead, citizens are caving under the weight of inflation — the exorbitant prices of “everything”.

We asked eight individuals how they’ll celebrate the season, and one thing is clear, they will have to settle for a stripped-down, low-budget celebration.

Abike * 28

I’ve attended about five Christmas shows this month, and when I calculated how much I spent on cab rides, it came down to about ₦58k. Just yesterday, I spent ₦14,800 to go to the Island. I had to jump bus back home. The cab prices are so ridiculous. I can’t believe I have to bail out on places I’d love to go simply because I check the cab prices and I can’t afford it. I don’t think I’ll go out a lot this Christmas because I don’t see these prices changing soon.

Joe* 37

My company dropped a bombshell on us last Friday: they couldn’t afford to pay our 13th-month bonus this year. After the year we’ve had, I sort of saw it coming, but I kept my hope alive. I mean, it’s Christmas, which company doesn’t want to make its employees happy during Christmas? Right after the announcement, I had to pull out of a four-day Ghana trip I’d planned with friends so it wouldn’t strain my December salary. I’ll settle for a small celebration at home. Maybe I’ll order food on the day to spark some joy, but that’s about it. I’d hate to start gnashing my teeth in the first week of 2024 because I went wild with my spending for Christmas.

Abimbola* 49

I told my kids I wouldn’t get them Christmas clothes this year. They seemed content, but I didn’t like it. Since they lost their dad in 2018, I’ve always tried to do everything he did for them during the holidays. New clothes, shoes and pocket money. But this year, things are just so tough. My second born just gained admission to a university, and the last one is in SS3, which means he’ll be on his way to uni soon. We need to save all the money we can, so this Christmas will be a modest celebration. Just us in the house with good food to keep us going. They also don’t know it yet, but I won’t host a New Year party this year. All that money can go a long way in settling more important bills. Sadly, this is what it has come to.

Victor* 28

I’ve shelved my Christmas plans to travel home. It’s almost as if the transport workers are conniving with the government to make life more difficult for citizens. I’d planned to take a trip to Uyo and Port Harcourt. The last time I travelled to Port Harcourt, the bus fare was ₦17,500. But it’s now over ₦15k more expensive. I guess I’ll have to make do and stay in Lagos this year.

Temidayo* 25

FOMO has nothing on me this year. Everything is just freaking expensive, and it’s taken away the joy of the season. In previous years, I’d attend four to five concerts with my friends. But this year? I’ve not even blinked at any of the concert announcements. Have you seen the Bolt and Uber prices? And on top of that, you have to spend as much as ₦15 – 25k on regular tickets. I’ll stay inside this holiday, abeg.

Jeremiah *45

Christmas used to be a time of joy and plenty. I’ll never forgive everyone involved in getting our country to this point where everything is just hard. It’s a struggle to create the same memories I enjoyed as a kid for my children. I used to have a budget of ₦150-200k just for Christmas, and it was enough to have a great time. We’d get two live turkeys, cartons of juice and just stock up the house. My wife went shopping last week with the same budget, and we just had to laugh at what she returned with.

34* Bisoye

The situation in the country is so bad that I don’t even have plans to celebrate Christmas, not to talk of setting a budget. There’s no money. I’m going through a divorce, and it’s a lot. The legal fees are currently at about ₦550k. I’m in no mood to celebrate, but maybe I’ll visit a friend and spend the holidays with them.

Idowu* 28

Before December came, I already knew I wasn’t going to gallivant around Lagos unless I needed to. I’ve already turned down invitations to big events because of the amount I’d spend on transport. I’ve also been taking a lot of public transport this December. And anybody who knows me knows I mostly opt for private cabs. I live on the mainland, so I’ll stick to going to Ikeja instead of spending on Bolt fares to the Island. My mantra this season is “Home is where the heart is.” Stay indoors to avoid unnecessary debit alerts.



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