Dreaming of an African Christmas


with baby cousins in Nigeria on Christmas Day



Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year. It’s a time for new memories to be made. It’s a reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ and his promise to the world. It’s a call to gather with friends and family over great food. Bonding may even take place within professional settings, through work parties and potlucks. Hopes and dreams for what we desire in the new year are reflected upon as new goals are established during the holidays. Christmas may also be a time to reflect upon old memories especially as our world continues to change.


Memories of Christmas in Nigeria certainly come to mind. In the city, children, and their families flock to shopping malls during the holiday season to take pictures with a large Santa figure. They enjoy fast food and weekends at the cinema. Santa hats hang on the heads of many and happy passersbys who spot friendly foreigners (like myself) greet them saying, “please do Christmas for me!” Family and friends gather over delicious meals under the heat of the African sun and attend church – Christmas is enjoyed and then it goes, and everyone is fine with that. It’s such a contrast to the traditional Canadian Christmas.


Here in North America, the holidays can be stressful as commercialism drives the increase of consumer want and consumer debt. Christmas presents its challenges, especially in recent years. Considering the changes brought about by COVID-19, the holidays have been celebrated differently and stress levels and isolation have certainly increased. In Nigeria, it’s so wonderful to see people not having to stress about the purchase of gifts for others as it is not our culture there. In Canada, the stress of Christmas can leave one empty after it is all over and done with, whereas in Nigeria, things are alright going back to normal after the Christmas trees are put away.


3 Steps to Ensure Holiday Cheer


1) Plan to create a new memory that does not include spending a great deal of money. Instead of buying gifts, perhaps you and your family can volunteer your time to a cause or charity for the intrinsic reward of helping others. This will teach your children about gratitude and remembering one’s blessings.


2) Take a break from the television, social media, and your cell phone. It’s the holidays after all – a perfect time to revisit your self care plan and have some good quality me and we time. Quite often we get bombarded with commercials and events in the news that make us feel sad, angry, and helpless.


3) Ask yourself what Christmas means to you. Does it mean expensive gifts, time off work or friends and family? If you choose the later, here’s a way to stay grounded and grateful. When you are gathered with loved ones, try staying close in a circle. One person will begin, going around the room, stating why they appreciate each and every person. Then, the person to their right will do the same thing.


Kevin Ufoegbune