Here's what some Nigerian celebrities and media personalities have to say about their most memorable Christmas!
Adaora Mbelu, Producer: "December 2010. In the Spirit of Christmas, I decided to do something different – get a few friends together, leave our worries and work stress at the door, and enjoy an evening of fun, laughter, and honest friendship. The summary was something like this:
1. If you intend to spend your entire Christmas Eve on BB Messenger, please don’t bother showing up. We will have a Blackberry Radar up to measure the amount of BB usage from each person’s phone.
2. We’ll sign release forms, permitting usage of your image. The camera will be snapping away.
3. Please bring something. It can be anything really. If your contribution is 10 Packets of Chupa Chups, Ribena, Plantain Chips, ANYTHING, that’s fine.
4. 10 -15 people maximum (If you bring a friend, be prepared to feed them o! – so, carry extra food in your pocket, or they’ll sit down and watch us eat)
5. Drinks: Leave your liver at home, there’s no 911 Ambulance service in this country o!
6. We’ll try to keep the games as Civil and PG (Parental Guidance) rated as possible. Keyword: try.
7. We’ll have a freestyle session, and everyone has to do something creative, so start practicing now (sing, Rap, Dance, Recite Poetry, Act). If you’re singing, feel free to bring your instrumental CD along.
8. A sleep over pass will be granted to interested individuals. However, Saturday morning is church o! So all sleep-over people have to vacate at 8.30 am or go to church with me. Your choice!"
Tomi Odunsi, Actress: "Oh dear. I have had a lot of Christmases I cannot forget in a hurry but I think the ones I miss the most are from when I was very young. I remember wearing new clothes even down to my panties. I looked forward to Christmas because that’s the day my mum surprised us with beautiful things, clothes and all sorts of gifts. We would run around in our new clothes and almost sleep in them. Sometimes I wish I could re-live those moments. Now I imagine a fun Christmas in a destination location but Christmas as a kid was the absolute best."
Toni Tones, Fashion photographer/Editor: "I look forward to Christmas every year. It’s a very special holiday. The way it smells, the gifts, (especially the gifts) and you can literally feel care and love in the air. Each year I have a different sort of experience that makes each Christmas mighty special, whether I’m out of the country or somewhere in my village. Some years however are more dramatic than the others, some are quite mellow too but I think my most memorable ones are the ones I spent chilled at home with family. Not doing anything really other than just being in the same space, laughing, and living, talking, loving and basically enjoying the moment. And I think that’s what Christmas is about."
Ezinne Chinkata, Fashion editor/Stylist: "Generally, Christmas holidays are filled with boisterous laughter, family, parties and festive mayhem! Absolutely amazing. It was what I had always understood Christmas to be, and it was always celebrated in my village, Umuakwu Nsulu in Abia State. Like every young impressionable girl, I took the “getaway village Christmas” for granted. My most memorable Christmas would be the Christmas I rebelled and decided I would rather spend the Christmas in Lagos. I felt Christmas in Lagos would be way Cooler and more exciting. Christmas day dawned quiet and solemn. I was miserable. I missed the village terribly, I missed the village church, I missed the bleating goats, the relatives, the un-tarred roads! I yearned for the village so badly! Christmas in Lagos felt stark and without the eastern flavour I had gotten accustomed to. Now I hardly spend Christmas in the East and it is still a very joyous occasion. However that distant Christmas of years ago still haunts me, and I shake my head at my naiveté at the time. Most memorable one!"
Ego Ogbaro, Musician: "It has to be the Christmas of 1990, you know, when harmattan was harmattan. You could feel Christmas in the air, the carols, the knock-out (fireworks), you know, the whole works. And we went to Ijebu, my mum’s village for the holiday. We were all there: my aunts, my cousins, it was a full house. My grandmother (may her sweet gentle soul rest in peace) was a very nice woman. She was like the area nanny, people came to the house and dropped their kids and she would take care of them without cost. She was quite loved by everybody. Even during the Muslim holidays, people sent meat and food to her house and it was the same for Christmas.
"That Christmas, we woke up early in the morning excited to wear our new clothes and we all looked really nice. We got to meet our cousins and we were all sort of in the same age group so nobody felt left out. There was a lot of food coming from everywhere, Lord there were a lot of meals on the table. We’d eat and gist. There was a lot of love in the air.
"Normally my granddad is strict but that year, he allowed us go out, have fun. It was one of my best Christmases really, because I was with my family, there was a lot of food (laughs), I can’t say that enough. And at the end of the day, we all gathered round and told stories. It was fun fun fun!"
Toju Foyeh, Designer: "This brings back memories from my childhood of long dinners with the whole family in Ibadan with my great-grandmother who was a fashion designer and my grandmother.
"We were all kids then and my parents would bundle my brothers and I into the car after carefully packing our gear up for us. We would excitedly embark on our road trip with us kids in the back seat playing games and counting landmarks, each of us hoping to be the first to see the black ornate gate that housed their home.
"Those long hours spent there with our great grandparents regaling us with stories of her childhood, fussing after us and feeding us fat with the customary rice and chicken Christmas meal that Nigerian homes back then had come to associate Christmas meals with were absolutely unforgettable, we were young carefree and blissfully happy, the trip back to Lagos was usually longer with us fast asleep and smothered in love and dreaming already of the next Christmas back in grandmas arms again."
Toke Makinwa, TV/Radio host: "I have been pondering over this in my mind since I was asked to share my fondest Christmas memory. You see, Christmas is like my second Birthday. I absolutely love the season and what it represents; family, friends, food, drinks, partying and the general mood that everyone gets into without forgetting the magic that Christmas signifies.
"My 2009 Christmas was spent away from home and that was different. I have a very large family and making our Christmas plans can be likened to a room full of politicians trying to make a decision. Phew! A lot of indecisive people. My Father also added to the problem at hand. Our family home in Idanre/Ondo state had been completed for a while and he must have been having a laugh to even imagine that he could bundle all of us home. When I heard this, I was mortified. He didn’t even have any reason for this enormous decision, he just felt that we leave the parents to making the trip home and we have all forgotten our roots.
"The night he announced this was somewhat comical. The room was silent as we all stared into nothing listening to him speak about down town Idanre and the beautiful hills and the fun we can catch when we visit. I borrowed the ‘catch’ from my very good friend VicO. Daddy and Mummy felt the house in Idanre was such a great idea and I felt it was preposterous I mean all my nephews and nieces on a road trip? Really? Still unsure of what the end result will be, I bought a ticket to London because as far as I was concerned, that was a better option and so I packed my bags all the while thinking to myself that it has to be better than going to the village.
"The weather was cold just how I love it, the streets of London were lit to warm your heart and everywhere you looked, there was a reminder of the season we were celebrating. I was so excited to see my cousins who already had their Christmas stocking in place. They had a sock up on the tree with my name on it and that made me feel very welcomed. I had to hit the shop fast and do my last minute shopping as I was running out of time and everyone knows that at Christmas, time is of the essence.
"I also had to plan for the days ahead with some sort of amusement as my family was back home and I made the choice to come to cold and empty London and it didn’t turn out half bad. I got some time to reflect and set some goals that I needed to achieve in the coming year. It was fun playing catch up with my cousins who have never been to Nigeria and Christmas eve was magical. We sat around the heater to stay warm and sang carols with some good ol’ fried chicken and wine till it was Christmas morning. A display of fireworks in the sky made me feel at peace, though I missed home, this holiday made me appreciate the simple things the little ones we take so much for granted like waking up in the morning, a walk down the street and the pleasant smiles we exchange with total strangers, the lights at Christmas so beautiful somehow makes you think, damn the year was long, there were many ups and downs but I made it. Last but not the least the real reason behind the season, which is love. Love for all mankind."
Burna Boy, Musician: "Well my fondest Christmas memory would have to be December 2010. I officially came back to Nigeria a couple months before and decided to do this music thing professionally, told my parents and they weren’t really supportive initially but I was persistent. Dropped a couple freestyle on radio in PH, got signed to my label; Aristokrat Records, and got booked for the Calabar Christmas carnival. An actual paid gig less than 3 months in, so I told my parents I was going to Calabar for the carnival and to my surprise they, my two sisters and a couple family friends all came down with me to support me. We ended up spending the Christmas holiday there and its was definitely one to remember.
Wizkid, Musician: "There was one Christmas, I got up like 7am, took my shower and went to wear my Christmas clothes and someone threw fireworks on me. It burnt my shirt. My mum almost killed me that day because we hadn’t even gone to Church. At the end of the day, it was a fun Christmas. I still rocked it that way."
Ms Jaie, Musician: "Every Christmas growing up in my house from as young as I can remember were always so magical. My most special Christmas was when I was four, because it was the last one I spent with my family. My Mumzie had just come home from hospital with my 1st Christmas present a new baby and even though I asked for a girl, a boy wasn’t so bad, he was a pretty baby so I figured I’d still manage to play with him. My mum always waited until I was asleep on Christmas eve and would transform the house into a winter wonderland… Everything from a huge tree and flashing lights to a stocking at the end of my bed full of everything I could imagine, I used to get so excited I used to run around like a headless chicken screaming “it’s Christmas, it’s Christmas”. Christmas breakfast was always really nice but all I was thinking about was the presents under the tree. Once we said prayers it was time to rip and pose as we called it…
"Once you ripped open your gift you pose for the camera. I remember 10 was always the number of gifts I received and would open them from smallest to largest. I don’t remember everything I received but I do remember a huge brown rocking horse and my little mermaid tape with a VCR player! Oh gosh, I remember that night it was so cool we all sat and watched my little mermaid. My parents even pretended to enjoy it. Which was a bad move, as I tried to replicate that evening every night for a week with the same movie. Eggnog, mice pies, skittles and loads of pink always made the best Christmas experiences."