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Esco: I Come Bearing Gifts Y’all




dreamstime_l_31027949What gift did you receive for Christmas? Oh, nada? What about for your birthday, prior to that? Did you receive a gift or a present. I have always maintained that there is a difference, how ever subtle.

Just like crocodile and alligator, or toad and frog, or a runs girl and a chick who would only date you for treats,  a present is something you give somebody gratuitously without any ulterior motives, and is usually given on their life anniversary or a really special occasion, for example a birthday present. A gift is something you give because you want something in return, or if there is some kind of catch to lure, bait or winch someone eventually. For example, the Trojan Horse was a Greek gift. You give the bride and groom a wedding gift, because you expect to eat all their jollof rice and small chops and drink their Chivita juice at the reception. No Item Number 7, no wedding gift. Capisce?

A BYC singlet is a present. Bravissimo lingerie is a gift, as well as an inducement.  A Bullet Vibrating Massager is a gift; a Nutri Bullet juicer is a present. A bullet from a trigger happy Nigerian police constable’s shakabula is a curse.

Last Christmas, I received a pair of really cool sneakers which I have not “launched” yet. I gave my missus a leather wristlet and a bottle of Clinique Happy, which is a fragrance I really dig. Otaakara my daughter was ecstatic when she tore open her wrapped pressie and saw an Elsa doll and a kid’s tablet, courtesy of her ma. She did not even so much as glance back at the clothes I had bought for her. She thanked Father Christmas, but she should have been more grateful to Jehovah Almighty. She should have thanked her lucky stars for her mum’s intervention.

You see, I am from the era where your parents gave your zilch for Christmas. In fact Christmas day was for eating rice and chicken, self-merriment and wearing your Sunday best for the yuletide service. But then I am also from a period, where a trip to Mr. Biggs was a very occasional treat, and then you still had to split a bottle of “minerals” and a sausage roll with your greedy sibling. So I am as frugal as fuck.

My missus started this Christmas gift exchange tradition. In fact Mrs Esco expects a token for every milestone of our co-joined life – anniversary of meeting, wedding anniversary, birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, WCW, make up sex day.

Now don’t get me wrong. True, I am as Igbo as they come in my leanings toward giving and generosity, but I am quite open to gifting. In fact, when it comes to presents/gifs, I prefer to give what I think is practical and not what looks good sitting enveloped by a fancy looking wrapping paper, until the recipient opens it with quiet disappointment. Like you shouldn’t have. You really really shouldn’t have, bruv.

Nah, I like to give what I feel the receiver would really find useful. If you just had a baby, I am coming over with a box of Pampers/Huggies. Oh you moved into a big crib in water-logged Ajah. Great, I am appearing at your house-warming with a trampoline set or a steel jerry can for storing your generator diesel. On your wedding day, I am likely to shove a wad of cash into the bride’s hands during the couple’s dance, rather than gift a Pressure Cooker or a T-Fal cookery set. Many of these new school wives no dey enter the kitchen sef, and who needs fancy pottery for Indomie Noodles anyway. Haha. I kid, I kid.

Besides post-wedding expenses are the number one cause of divorce, as the stats show – after a roving adulterous eye and overbearing in-laws. Some couples spend big on wedding, forgetting that there is still marriage and carriage, afterwards. I am also likely to call the groom aside and present him jewels of marital wisdom like how to navigate around an irritable wife without resorting to violence or suicide. Like, I don’t have gold or silver or mint Naira notes to spray to bestow upon you and your newly betrothed, but let me give you the verbal wisdom I have as a wedding present. See eh, marriage is…. {Click here to read my pre-marital advice article}

My missus is of the opposite view when it comes to gifting or “presenting”. To her, a good gift or present should be properly wrapped and presented, and should look fancy if not expensive. She believes that there are guides for appropriate gifting. She’s the type to give the bride a very nice looking bedroom clock as she says something slick like “Never let the sun go down on your quarrel. Settle all marital disagreements by 12 midnight each day.” Oh please. Or give them a leather-bound recipe book and a set of baking accessories for their house-warming. Err, baby, they only have a kerosene stove in their kitchen.

I once paid money into her account so that she could treat herself on her birthday since I was out of town that week. She whispered into my ear as we lay in bed on the night of my return “Never do that again. Pick my pressie out yourself. It is the thought that counts.” Yeah, but thoughts do not make a useful gift. Or present. Or bribe.

I once tried to deviate from my tried and tested method, by getting smart with my gift choices. My mother, my sister and her kids came into town for the Christmas holiday some years ago, so we decided to host everyone at ours on Christmas Day.

Before settling down to eat, we had the present opening ceremonies. The missus and I had secretly decided to get my nieces and nephews something as well, so that all the kids including mine could open their presents at the same time. Nothing fancy – just a token of our love and in the spirit of fairness. My niece who was 5 got a small stuffed animal. My other niece got a toy baby doll which cooed when you combed its hair.  Otaakara got a toy turtle which we called “Anansi”. They were all joyous.

I had decided to get my 13 year old nephew something mature, despite my missus’s reservation. I used to like Mark Twain books when I was younger so I copped him a set of stories by the author including Tom Sawyer, which came in a fancy bound cover. Err, he did not like it and the look on his face said it all though he tried to smile sheepishly. He wanted no part of it.

Since then, I have resorted to giving him iTunes gift cards or cash for his mum, so she could get him something. You can never go wrong with cash.

So share – did you get anything for Christmas? Maybe from Father Christmas?  Or Daddy Xmas? Haha. What is the best or worst birthday present you have ever gotten or given someone, you cheapskate, you. And oh, the 150th comment wins a gift, sorry a present, from me.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime 

Fellow Nigerians, it is with the utmost pride and sincerity that I present these memoranda as a living testament and recollection of history in the making during our generation.Preamble: Esco is a lampoonist, content provider for hire, and convener of the blog Literati: Satires On Nigerian Life, which is a symposium to project the conditions of every Nigerian and inspire young people all over the world. He is currently working on his memoirs “The Great, Wonderful Adventures of Esco”, which will be available in 2016. Esco can be reached for scripting writing, ghost writing and editing work by email at [email protected] Oh, and he occasionally tweets at @Escowoah.


  1. @edDREAMZ

    January 13, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    And i thought with all this noise making there will be recharge card at the end…. Yu just stated the obvious on this post and i wonder why the BN team allowed it here……

    • Esco


      January 13, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      Oh my bad. Does Jupiter now have coverage for MTN or Glo? Or do you reside in Ur-anus ?

    • Cocolette

      January 13, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      Loool…Esco you went in hard!!! Pay Mr Jupiter no mind oh, he’s just a little boy, probably a teenager who has access to the internet and no idea what to do with it. Many people have learnt to ignore him and his not-so-intelligent comments

    • whocares

      January 13, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      lmaoooooooooooo clapbacks left right and centre.. I declare 2016 “no more shit” year. loool. now to the main thing.. hmm my cousin bought her mom, my aunt a “star”. you know those ones that you can “buy” a star and name it after someone.. My aunt looked at it and said “kini mofe fise” (what can i do with it) and dumped the certificate on the table.. till today, we cannot find that certificate. lmaoo. I laughed so hard. Really, buying an elderly yoruba woman a star? Me I kuku bought her a bottle of JD and I was the favourite that xmas period sha. lool.
      I am a terrible/ fantastic gift giver depending on the occasion and the person.. I have given a male friend a pair of gold “man thongs”- I thought it was a huge joke, I also bought another friend – the gentleman’s ball scratchers (which is aimed at the “busy” male executive).. loool. But for baby showers etc I buy practical gifts.. birthdays and xmas? OYO. You will get what I give you na ni. I love to give books. But my policy is to ask people to return it if they dont like it.. truly I put it on the first page of the book when I write my mushy message. I took a book back from a friend who did not like it. it never hurts my feelings at all. loool. The worst gift I have given is a handbag that doubles as a radio complete with speakers. lool. My nonsense friend never even used the bag. I thought it was a good idea for going to the park during summer.. she did not think so. I did not see that heifer use the bag once. let me even go and ask her for it gan..The worst present I received was in secondary school. lol. dude gave me an incomplete perfume set. I will be back to comment so I can receive that gift.. wait for me. Carlifornia Bawler cannot be the 150th biko, Ibo lni jero tin ja bo? lool. You no see queue? It is strategic my sister. You cannot just come and be chancing people, declaring yourself the 150th writer.. maintain ya lane biko.

    • Thatgidigirl

      January 13, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      Daaaaaayum!!! That was brutal….bae e si gini?

    • Zida

      January 14, 2016 at 9:28 am

      Oh Esco, no chill at all!

    • Tosin

      January 13, 2016 at 9:03 pm

      Esco’s retort was funny, but Jupiter is a sweetheart in a cranky mood or like you put it, currently on a cranky planet, AND he’s MY baby. Y’all should apologize. Yo, Ed, respect, kid. It’s gonna be alright.

  2. The 150th comment-Californiabawlar

    January 13, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Bros abeg wey my present? and don’t near this side with the original manuscript of To Kill a Mockingbird….we’re not here for alla that…better present like shipping a couple kilos of kilishi to my will do just fine (see, I’m a practical present-receiver too…2 ge 4!) ?

    This Christmas ehn, no one I gave presents to gave me anything…my loving bff, the only one on the planet who doesn’t believe that I ‘really don’t care about presents’ sent me a bunch of stuff! I was so happy ehn…meanwhile I was forming it’s all good when no one got me anything on Christmas morning…lol.
    I don’t get gifted stuff quite often… I always said no to free stuff from guys as a younger lady, cos like bros explained, they always wanted something back…and I wasn’t as much as handing out hugs ambeletase cookies. I think most guys now assume that I don’t like awoof….hmmmn…me I like o! Just wait till I know it’s a permanent situation, I would be asking for all sorts of anniversary gifts/presents…from 1st kiss anniversary to 1st head anniversary…. I just want something new!! ??

    I’m such a terrible gifter timing wise though….I stay giving people their birthday present months after….but like my mom said…even after 3months people were still congratulating her on her new baby, so nothing do you.

    • Cynical

      January 13, 2016 at 10:10 pm

      @ Caloforniabawlar.,what????? 1st head anniversary????……lol,u BN commenters will not kill someone. Esco for president,happy new year to you.
      For gifts,honestly I am so like you Esco,there wasn’t much gifting while we growing up,birthday was we go out get some suya and mineral,Christmas was rice,plenty Mede Mede and generally lots to eat. I plan to do the gifts now I have my own home,I think it’s a really good habit. Trying to be like my sis in law who gives gifts all the time down to flowers in Nigeria,my mother in law had to beg her and say abeg,I no dey use flower do anything… Gave my hubby and kids Christmas gifts,didn’t get any back though but I still felt soooo good.

  3. emma

    January 13, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Wow so Esco is now married? I used to read your blog until like 2013 when you stopped updating and I got serious with school so i had no time for blogs.

    About the article. The worst gift that i got was a necklace with my initials on the pendant from my coworker when I did secret Santa at my job. I went all out at Bath and Body works . I took advantage of their ‘buy 3 get 3 free’ holiday sales and got my giftee a perfume, lotion and shower gel set, I even added a candle in the gift with some chocolate from Starbucks. Disappointed is an understatement. I rarely wear necklaces and 4 years later, that necklace is still collecting dust in my old jewelry box. Even my other coworkers were disappointed on my behalf.
    As for my family, they know me too well to get me anything else apart from money, or something that I have personally requested for.
    I only got money from my family this past Christmas which I really appreciate as a college student living on my own, e no easy.
    Personally, I like to give out practical gifts, If any of my friend/ family member has been complaining about wanting a blender or something else that they will surely use, I will get that or a gift card. My sister rarely watches TV, but she always says that she wishes she could watch Irokotv on her TV so I bought her a HDMI cable, she was really happy.

  4. mango

    January 13, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Worst gift I have ever given is 2 small bags of popcorn. This was in my JS3 I think. I had just been robbed of all my pocket money and the next week or so was valentine’s day and I needed to get something for my secret “val pal”. As a boarding school student I had no access to the outside world…what to do? I still had like N10 or so, which I used to buy her popcorn. I cannot imagine her disappointment. After our next outing/break I think I got her some earrings. If I could re-live that period, I would get her a much nicer present…or nicer earrings and card… or a body lotion gift set.

  5. Niyoola

    January 13, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    I didn’t get a gift this Xmas. I hope he makes it up to me during Valentines day.
    The worst gift I ever got was during Jamb Lesson in the 90s. My boyfriend gave me one of those plastic roses that doubles as a jewellery box; it had a ‘stone’ earring inside. I was just frowning up and down (I gave him a pack of boxers, which was actually worse than what he gave me sef).

    Meanwhile, any ideas what I can get husband for ValsDay? Something lovely under N20k. (no colognes, shirts or‎ belts/cufflinks). 
    Thanks in advance.‎

    • Nnanyielugo

      January 14, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      If he’s into music, get him some really cool headphones.
      Or a pair of sneakers, if he’s the type.

  6. Tru

    January 13, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    ESCOOOOO hehehehehehe
    As per what I did? Went to the mall with Bae under the pretext of getting stuff for myself and deliberately passed a men’s shop. He saw a shirt he liked and there and then, I walked in and got it for him, whispering “Merry Christmas baby” The surprised and happy look on his face was well worth it.
    My own present was…#WinkWink
    (…To Be Continued)

  7. Ada

    January 13, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    I love practical presents abeg! Shoes I can wear, handbag, earrings, perfume, cooking pot, blender! I love practical gifts! But Bae is NOT allowed to give me practical gifts o! From him I want gold…

    Worst gift I ever gave was body spray. I didn’t have money at the time and it was all I could afford 🙁

  8. Mbeke feeling funky

    January 13, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Esco, nice write not a good gift/present giver since growing up we weren’t given birthday or Christmas gifts. We’d ask and the parents would be like remember that holiday we took that time last year that was your Christmas, Sallah, Easter, Birthday., presents combined

    But, I digress the worst present I ever gave someone is a “wrongulator” for Secret Santa at work. Basically a calculator that never gets the right answer, being an accountant (and an all round sad individual) I thought it was the funniest thing ever but my colleague didn’t get the joke and was not impressed. I was tempted to send an email apologising to him after but didn’t want to fess up that I was guilty of such crimes to Christmas gift giving.

  9. Hauwa

    January 13, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    I get so excited to give presents though. I’m already planning the presents I’d give people on Val’s day. I literally look forward to people’s birthday just because of the presents I’d give them. I’m not a very expressive person, so I guess my presents are usually the only way I’m able to express my feelings to those I love.

    I come from a big family, so I gave a lot of presents and got many presents as well. A car inclusive- my godfather used it to appease me for all the milestones he missed in my life for the past two years.

    My fiancé paid for a course online for me- one I’ve always wanted to do but have been evasive about. I guess it was his way of getting me to do it already. Which I appreciate. I gave him a £500 Harrods gift card. He once complained to me how he couldn’t get to spend his money on himself to buy nice clothing and accessories but he could for people. Which indeed was true, so it was my practical way of gifting him. We’re practical gifters like Esco I guess.

    Worst presents I’ve received are perfumes. Everybody knows not to give me perfumes. I like them so much which makes me highly selective. I covet the intimate pleasure of selecting I.e sniffing through a whole lot before buying. Lol I can’t explain, anything but a perfume.

    Best present I’ve ever gotten, is the knowledge of Christ. Bless the man that introduced Him to me. He gave me the best present.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      January 16, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Your last sentence is heartwarming and a jarring reminder of something fundamental which I’m likely taking for granted… God bless you.

  10. Blah blah blah

    January 13, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    can I get a 150???

    • Blah blah

      January 14, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      No. Please choose another name. Thanks.

  11. ElessarisElendil

    January 14, 2016 at 4:45 am

    My Mother adds a few zeroes to my bank account, my relations give me cash in an envelope, I give my cousins cash in an envelope. Always give cash or share your amazon prime or give them a gift card.

    Save yourself the stress of overthinking gifts or worse giving the person something they already have or worse have an excess of.

  12. sukie

    January 14, 2016 at 9:07 am

    I love presents……i got an iphone6s for christmas.

  13. Gift lovers & receivers

    January 14, 2016 at 10:04 am

    For Gift lovers and receivers above, hope you do give as well?

    Remember relationship/friendship is a two way thing. Give and take!

    Had to give myself brain for all those friends i will do anything for on their birthdays, but mine came, it was just a happy birthday and you would have told us earlier (especially female friends)

    No more going all the way to get you a birthday cake, plan your day and make your day a special one. Some people go expect valentine gift tire till Jesus comes

    Some people are just parasitic in nature. All they know is what they can benefit from you.

    2016, i have repented. I only care for those who care about me.

  14. N. M.

    January 14, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I got an electric grill for Xmas. Then I got cloths and toys for my nephews and for my mum myself and sister gave her an early Xmas gift.

  15. kuluwa

    January 14, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Your response was epic and always love your write up. God bless

  16. Joanne

    January 14, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Got some monetary gifts from relatives during Christmas but for my birthday which was some days to Christmas Nada!. I can’t remember the last time I got a birthday gift and I don’t equally do well in gifting sef.

  17. nunulicious

    January 14, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    here to be 150th comment!

    we did perfumes btw.

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