Six ways to celebrate Christmas in Nigeria on budget

It is Christmas once again and, as usual, a time to celebrate. A global holiday to mark the birth of Christ, in Nigeria, the yuletide season is associated with a hike in the cost of goods and services.

More than just a holiday, Christmas is a time for families to reunite, which means expensive flight tickets.

It is also seen as a time to renew old gadgets. Some renovate their houses and either refurbish or change furniture. And then there is the menu.

Christmas is associated with food. Lots of it. The custom of exchanging food with neighbors is one most look forward to during this period.

However, there is a snag: ‘Sapa’ season in Nigeria, and some say, the world over.

Sapa is a Nigerian street slang used to connote a state of being broke or poor, usually after spending extravagantly.

If you fall within the sapa brigade, how do you navigate your way during this season?

Below are some tips that may guide you through it.

Set a budget and stick to it

Before carrying out any expenditure during this period, ensure you have a budget. Having a budget aids you with streamlining your spending and eliminating unnecessary items.

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The amount will depend on how much you have set aside for the holiday season.

Also, as you make purchases, be disciplined enough to spend within your limit. If you are tied down by sapa, then impulse spending should not be your thing.

As a tip, consider starting a budget straight after Christmas for next year’s holiday. Starting your saving journey early will give you a lump sum to spend in December rather than scraping money together.

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Visit friends and neighbours

It may not appear obvious, but visiting friends and neighbors is one way to avoid hosting guests yourself.

We understand that the holiday is for making merry, and with that comes stocking up your house with food and drinks. When you cannot host guests, dress up and pay your close associates, including work colleagues or even church members, a visit.

It is the sapa way.

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Avoid family trips

Of course, the yuletide is that one time of the year when families get to see each other, but what do you do when sapa has a hold on you?

At some point, you realize that the trip will cause a dent in your budget; the best thing to do is to avoid that expenditure and hope for a better year ahead.

After all, so much has been said about village people and their ways.

Reuse old decorations

Christmas decoration [PHOTO: Design Cafe]Christmas decoration [PHOTO: Design Cafe]What is Christmas without a tree, blinking lights and other decorations? While trying to set the ambience for the season, see if you can reuse decorations from last year that you have stored away.

If it isn’t broken, don’t try to replace it. That’s not how the saying goes, but you get the point; even when trying to keep it as simple as possible.


A young man standing on the street, looking at traffic while using his phoneA young man standing on the street, looking at traffic while using his phone

We understand that your neighbors have tethered a goat or are renovating their apartment, but no, you do not need to measure up. Keep your mind focused on celebrating within your budget.

Not minding what others are doing and not feeling bad about it is one sure way to prevent yourself from entering into a debt burden.

Tone down your menu

A plate of soaked garri garnished with groundnut with a spoon inserted by the consumer [PHOTO: Vegan Nigeria]A plate of soaked garri garnished with groundnut with a spoon inserted by the consumer [PHOTO: Vegan Nigeria]The thing about Christmas is mainly the food. You may want to cut down on all the cooking to fit your budget.

Bonus tip: Be honest with yourself

Acknowledging that you are being hit by sapa is one way to navigate this season. It is not a crime. It can happen to anybody.

Besides, worldwide, so many people are having a low-key celebration because of dwindling finances. However, you can start planning towards next year’s festival to make up for this year.

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