Christmas: Low-key celebrations as citizens tone down on spending due to rising inflation

In the face of mounting inflation rates, Nigerians are making significant adjustments to their usual Christmas celebrations, opting for prudence and essential spending as the cost of living skyrockets.

With the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reporting an alarming 18-year high in consumer inflation, reaching 28.20% in November, families are grappling with inflated prices of staple food items.

Food inflation, a dominant factor in Nigeria’s spending basket, surged to 32.84% last month, amplifying the costs of goods like rice, beans, vegetable oil, and even sachet water.

These economic pressures have prompted individuals to reassess their festive plans.

Many, like banker Mrs Funmilayo Oyinlola, have decided to forego rice, a customary holiday dish, opting instead for more budget-friendly options like pounded yam.

“I have a young family with four children, and I had to make them understand why rice would be missing from the menu table this time.

“In place of rice, I promised them a good pot of soup with pounded yam. I can’t see myself buying rice at this time, so l will wait till January or February to buy.

“It’s sad that our government is not empathetic to the average Nigerian family. Though l can afford it, l see it as a waste of resources,” Mrs. Oyinlola told The Nation.

An author, Kennedy Ambrose, said: “I will never buy a bag of rice for N65,000. There are other things for my family to eat, like pounded yams and plantain. But I’ll never bring myself to buying a bag of rice for that amount.”

Also lamenting, a Lagos-based lawyer, Joseph Adekunle, asked: “How on earth are you going to celebrate Christmas in the midst of binding constraints caused by high price of basic food items?

“Now that a fowl is even harder to slaughter, rice is like gold, costing nearly N70,000 for a 50kg bag. It is survival and not merriment because the poor cannot afford it.”

In response to the economic challenges, some citizens are adopting innovative strategies. A businessman named Richards opted to rear chickens to offset the cost of buying poultry for the festive season.

His words: “I could tell from the way the naira was losing value, and prices were skyrocketing that this December would be difficult.

“I paid someone to buy and raise broiler chicks for me at her home. She has space in her compound.

“The chicks were quite cheap back then. It paid off. They are really big now and ready for consumption. So, my Christmas and New Year chickens are set.

“As for rice, I always buy in bulk. I still have a substantial quantity from the full bag I bought some months back, so I’m covered for the yuletide.”

Martha Okezie, a mother of five, chose thrift by purchasing second-hand clothes, acknowledging the decreased demand for new outfits amid the economic downturn.

“Who is sewing new clothes again if not Aso-Ebi, when fairly-used outfits and even the Nigeria-made (Aba) wears have now saturated the market and are also cheaper? Okezie quizzed.

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