Looking forward to the month of December and the festivities it holds always makes toiling throughout the year worth it.
The Christmas cheer, the Christmas spirit and the thrills that the year is coming to an end is always a heartwarming excitement that sends many into shopping and spending frenzy.
But with the constant increase in cost of living, nose diving economy and insecurity, this most wonderful time of the year appears to be losing the Christmas cheer and excitement it brings to families.
Even the weather seems to show no sign of the holiday feeling that hangs in the air usually at this time of the year. Critics have awarded this year, the worst when it comes to increase in prices of commodities, especially basic house hold needs. Food items like bag of rice, a paint of beans and garri, vegetable oil, cooking gas, had their prices hit the roof at almost 100 per cent increase.
Added to being able to afford what to eat, there is high cost of electricity bills to deal with, transportation fare has gone up and there is tension about the looming increase of fuel come February 2022.
The continuous neglect of federal roads by the government is another aspect to consider if the Christmas spirit is high or low. It is a fact that bad roads have made traveling in this season the most dreaded. So much so that many families who are supposed to count their blessings as their loved ones visit are counting losses.
Sunday Telegraph asked around to know people’s opinion on how strong or low the Christmas cheer in their homes and environment is this year. Nigerian singer, songwriter, television presenter, and controversial entertainer, Charles Oputa, also known as Charlyboy told our reporter that Nigeria is in a critical stage where people are more worried about their future that the present.
“People are worried of what will happen after Christmas. 2022 will be four times tougher than what we experienced this year,” he said A caterer and business woman, Blessing Onyeanuna, stated that the Christmas spirit is gradually leaving Nigeria because every day, many average earning families are thrown into abject poverty. “To me, I believe the Christmas spirit has left Nigeria. People are not paying too much attention to Christmas.
They just want to have a daily meal and survive. Even the weather does not feel like we are in the month of December. During the Christmas of our days back then, by now, many families are done with shopping.
There are end of the year parties everywhere. I cook and sell food for a living and I must tell you that for the past one month, I witnessed increase in food items on a daily basis. I mean, which sane society allows that kind of increase in the basic need of life which is food,” she said.
It is believed that even though the poor are groaning, the rich have nothing to fear about meeting up with their festive needs. Speaking with lifestyle journalist, Television host and actress, Latasha Ngwube, she revealed that, what affects the poor also robs off on the rich too. “It’s not even about living in a highbrow area.
What’s the joy of Christmas if only the rich can enjoy it? It’s not even fun for the rich because it means you’re paying out unnecessary money. People to help are increasing, and how many can you help? Even if you give them money for a few things at Christmas, how about the new year?”
Azubuike Emezina, who works with a multinational communication company in Anambra State, gave a critical analysis of what this Christmas looks like for a common man on the street.
In his analysis, he started by giving the prices of many items that are commonly needed. He explained that after looking at the prices of things, it’s obvious this year’s Christmas is not for civil servants’ or any minimum wage earner. “Hmm, where do I start?
To me, this year should go for the worst Christmas ever. Why did I say this? Let’s start with the prices of simple things. First of all, one set of pure water bags is N200. One litre of gas here is N900, meaning the 12 kg of gas is N10,800. Charcoal and firewood prices have skyrocketed because the demand is high.
A bottle of the least beer(Hero) is N400 instead of N300 and N250 that it was before. A plate of fish is N1,000 now against N500 for centre and tail. This year was the first year I saw people share yam. Sharing yam, my God!
A bag of rice is N30,000 now and I wonder how we got here. It obvious that Christmas this year is not for civil servants. Those that are earning the minimum wage cannot afford the luxury either and that is if they get up to the minimum wage.”
He further lamented that the sit-at-home situation in Anambra is affecting things negatively. The fuel price has also gone up because of the yuletide among other things.
“Even with the high cost of electricity, there is no light in most parts of Anambra State like Ogbaru Local Government for the past one month. Fuel in Anambra is now is N175 to N180 because of the Yuletide.
The Monday morning stay-at-home is affecting prices of all products now. The activities of touts in Anambra State now is beyond management because even an official vehicle, touts harass them,” he said. An A-list fashion designer, Ejiro Amos Tafiri, also lent her voice, saying that she does not believe that Christmas spirit has left Nigeria.
“Nigerians are some of the happiest people on earth regardless of what we go through as a people and nation. But because of financial hardship, the celebrations may not be as grand as they used to be,” she said. Now matter how slow the gift flows may seem, all is not bad everywhere.
Mrs Helen Ezeonuegbu, an Accountant based in Rivers State, said that the case is different in the oil city. “The Christmas spirit is strong and alive. The cheers are there. In fact, too much cheer in my area. The markets, streets are hyperactive.
The parties are on point. Yes, we are stressed due to the high cost of things but Christmas jingles are not affected.” All the way from Oyo State, Olaleye Segun said that the Christmas spirit is high.
“Well, for us over here, the Christmas spirit is high. Despite the high cost of things in the market, the end of year parties still hold. Christmas shopping here and there, the markets are jam-packed, red-white and green everywhere.
The parks are not left out,” he said To sum up the situation, just as many are focused on how to survive daily, not caring if there is Christmas chicken or not, others are already set for the festivities while many others would flow with the tide as it comes