For most Nigerians, the struggle to be merry this Christmas is real. There is no surprise that words like “pandemic”, “lockdown” and “coronavirus” are amongst the top most-searched words of the year. Surviving 2020 has to be updated in your curriculum vitae because, omo! In Bella Shmurda’s voice: “Man na triumphant and I’ve been through a lot, many people wrote me off but God no gree!”
The First Noel
For communities of faith, especially Christians, this isn’t just another holiday but the commemoration of the Messiah’s birth and about the gift that keeps on giving. It’s a moment to reflect on the story of nativity – how the Son of God became the son of man so that the sons of men can become the sons of God. Christmas is a concatenation of two words: Christ – the human reincarnation of the Godhead, and mass (celebration) – an occasion to be merry and relish the truth that God gave His best to us even when we were undeserving of His agape.
To show you how wild this year has been, cutting of onions is what used to make people cry, now it’s the price that does. That is one of the commodities that have seen prices skyrocket. Our suya experience has been ruined, cabbage is now the cheaper complement (by the way, y’all should stop disrespecting the legacy and street cred of suya by calling it “kebabs”, leave our suya for us like that). The sad reality is that more mouths sleep hungry because incomes have not increased to match inflated prices. So be kind out there, contribute cash and kind to food banks, charity homes, and any other credible organization that supports vulnerable and underserved communities in these tough times. Don’t waste food!
Get a Bucket and a Mop!
The big question for most young people who look forward to the holiday is whether Detty December would be a thing this time. Two factors are key determinants of this: pandemic and pockets. First, although the agoraphobia that originally greeted the pandemic has greatly weaned around these parts, it’s still very advisable to consider the safety of any event or activity you have your sight set on.
Medical experts have postulated that as the weather gets colder and since a second wave is effectively in play, super-spreader events and activities might result in a grim yuletide – both in infection rates and fatality. Second, most pockets are not as deep as they used to be, so expectedly, the month may be clean – not detty.
Build Back Better
Hopefully, we have seen enough in our country this year to know that the work of nation-building cannot be left to a select few, we’ve to carry it on our heads like gele. Don’t stay on your high horse or feel comfortable in your ivory tower because the way your bubble will burst ehn, e go shock you. The battle for the soul of Nigeria isn’t a sprint but a marathon. Next year, ensure you get your PVCs for starters. Beyond that, make sure you are an active citizen, don’t just sit and watch, join the make-it-happen geng as we muuvve!
I Just Got Back
At this point, especially as the Naira is turnioniown, we really don’t mind having our IJGB geng in our lives. I mean proper IJGBs o, not those with Instagram accents or those who’ll say, “my name is Seun but my friends call me Sean.” Abeg we need those that can do giveaway on the timeline because this year really ‘carried us handicap’. Don’t air us like agbalumo did this year o, we don see wahala wey pass bicycle. We just wanna relazz and be taken kairuf. Also don’t steal our girlfriends with those zaddy moves. Please keep me anon. Haha.
The ritual with Christmas, amongst other things, includes the convergence of family and friends who, owing to the grueling demands of work, education or other reasons, have to live in far-flung places, away from one another. Transportation costs by air and road have become a pricey affair. The increased pump price of fuel has expectedly hiked fares and in other cases, the hikes in fares have been demand-induced. So if it’s all too much for you, I suggest you stay where you are, save travel expenses, send what you can to loved ones, leverage technology to communicate and trust me, you will be alright las las. You can always travel during off-peak where travel costs won’t drill a hole in your pocket. Remember, winter (the 90 days of January) is coming!
Shine your Eyes!
Crime rates both offline and online go up this period, so don’t lose guard. Many unscrupulous elements are on the prowl for unsuspecting victims. Double-check the safety of your digital transactions. Also, learn how to move correct offline: don’t be isolated, don’t carry cash around, don’t stay out late unnecessarily, tell trusted contacts about your itinerary and be careful how you show off valuables on social media. Vigilance is the eternal price for peace.
Gege, This Bread no be Agege – Yunno!
It has not been all doom and gloom this year, a lot of our music acts have dropped banging singles and projects that kept us bopping ear and dear. For them, the pandemic in hindsight seemed like a blessing in disguise because it gave them ample time to work on their sounds and on the international scene, I am reminded that Mariah Carey will get her usual Christmas check from those hit songs, especially All I Want For Christmas so you may have to update your playlist because if you can’t go to parties, you can bring the party to where you are!
Position Yourself for 2021
I know, I know – this year shock you but it’s no excuse not to plan for next year. A new year isn’t about a date but a new attitude. If you do what you have always done, you will be what you have always been and get what you have always gotten. Invest in yourself by taking up any useful online course, learn an additional skill or improve on the one(s) you already have or even watch educative videos on YouTube.
Even though I am an avid reader all year round, I usually curate a holiday reading list just to stimulate my mental faculties for the new year. My big five books this holiday are A Promised Land by Barack Obama, Chronicles of the Happiest People On Earth by Wole Soyinka, The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty by Efosa Ojomo, Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria and Onyeka Owenu’s memoir, My Father’s Daughter. You can curate your own list and yes, add my new book, The Franchise Players in there.
Dinosaurs are now extinct, not so much for what they did but for what they didn’t do: evolve. The pandemic has brought accelerated changes and if you don’t evolve by learning, you will not have a place in this new world. Wishing you all the best this Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance to you and yours. Cheers.