#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas is a reminder that even if I don’t get the new clothes…there is one person whose love is still ever sure.” Olamide Aturu

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Time gives us a new meaning of life and for Olamide Aturu, Christmas that used to mean wearing new clothes and eating mummy’s sweet fried rice now means sleeping without having to mind the alarm clock! She took us back to our childhood and then brought us back to reality in a second!

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Christmas for me used to be that time when you get to wear new clothes and new shoes.

When Mummy’s rice and chicken had that extra sweetness you couldn’t understand.

When staying up late was acceptable. When you get to watch home-alone with all those cousins you have not seen throughout the year.

When you break your “kolo”(piggy bank) so you can play that balloon game and buy knockouts and disco lights…

Fast forward to twenty years later.

Christmas is that public holiday when I get to sleep and not think of the alarm clock.

When I do not have to worry about Lagos traffic and stress. When I get to eat what I want, when I want it..

Christmas is a reminder that even if I don’t get the new clothes or get to taste Mummy’s special rice and chicken…there is one person whose love is still ever sure and He is the reason for the season.

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About Olamide

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Olamide Aturu is a part shrink, part HR practitioner and whole writer. She loves writing, reading, acting and talking. She is passionate about writing almost as much as she is passionate about reading good books. She has a blog where she occasionally puts down her thoughts and reflections on almost everything. She hopes to delve into creative writing and content writing fully.

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#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas means undiluted time with my mummy and my sisters and I don’t take it for granted. ” Adedotun Adejoorin

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This entry by Adedotun is thought-provoking and it evokes all sorts of deep emotions. Christmas is truly a special season for all. Enjoy her entry.

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Just like the past four years have been, I’m sitting here, writing this post, wondering what this year’s Christmas would be like.

Would it be a little off like the last four Christmases where everything looked like it needed you to be complete?

Will this year’s Christmas morning feel like all other mornings where I would wake up and still wish everything was a dream and I’d see your very happy face wishing my sisters and I Merry Christmas.

Or would I have to go to places, I’d rather not go to avoid remembering what we’ve lost?

You know, there are times it’s wise to reflect because it helps you appreciate what you would originally consider unimportant.

My Daddy used to be the centre of Christmas for me and my family; I think he received a special directive from God to make sure every year was special. Hehehe. He would take us out this year, impose a family photo shoot the next year or make compulsory ‘Chinese egg’ , I still don’t know why he thought eggs, tomatoes and sardine was Chinese.

I used to think he was over doing it sef.

But I don’t think I ever took any of those things seriously. I just felt it was the norm. Everybody should have this kinda Christmas right?

December 25, 2012, was different.  It was the first Christmas without daddy and nothing seemed right.

Nobody at home was excited; there was nothing to ginger us. Christmas was bland. I don’t even think we cooked anything that year, there was no point.

A Good Samaritan remembered us and decided to take my mum and my sisters out, I was thrilled, and it looked like something was finally going right that day but it didn’t quite work out.

In the end it seemed like it would have been better if we even stayed at home.

The past few years have also been a bit off, with each one having something to remind me of my dad and the fun Christmases he used to give us.

Knowing that that time of the year can never be the same as when he was here, Christmas became something equally as special but different.

Christmas to me is a time to be grateful for the joys, sad moments experiences and people in our lives. It should be filled with appreciation for the opportunity to end another year. It is a time to give back for all we’ve received.

Christmas is a time to make beautiful memories. It means undiluted time with my mummy and my sisters and I don’t take it for granted.

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About Adedotun Adejoorin

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Adedotun Adejoorin is a  writer, content creator, personal development blogger and budding communications expert. Her work has been featured on Jabulani Space, The Beautified Network, The W community amongst others.

#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas is the day I remember the birth of love personified, Jesus Christ.” Ikponmwen Orobosa

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Despite the euphoria that surrounds the season, Ikponmwen Orobosa has discovered and celebrates the true reason for the season. You’ll love her entry.

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Christmas means a lot of things to different people; it’s the crisp sweet scent, the weather that turns my lips and legs white even after using the strongest lotion that morning. It’s been the food, oh the wonderful Christmas meals, all the events happening around the world, the Christmas themed songs, the carols, the colours and street decor, the time spent with family,  all these and more do happen when December 25th draws close.

After all that, deep within all the euphoria of the 25th, lies the very reason why I’ll always love that day. It’s the day I remember the birth of love personified, Jesus Christ.

I’ll imagine I was right there on my own donkey riding along side Mary and Joseph. We’ll go around knocking on the doors of inns and motels, but we’ll get a ‘no’ each time. Mary’s birth pangs will come faster, the king was coming. We’ll ride and ride, an army of thousands of angels on every side, and find a manger.

“Just one more push Mary…”, I’ll say, cheering her on as I eagerly wait beside her, Joseph praying silently, angels as her midwives.

Finally, the cry of The King is heard, my lord is come.

Tears of joy stream down Mary and Joseph’s face. I look around me and find the horses in the manger bowing to their maker, the stars outside twinkling ever brightly, the wise men fall on their faces with their gifts before the Promised One, the hosts of angels sing songs of rejoicing as they worship their master. The awe of His presence fill my being, tears of joy, admiration, reverence, I could only totally bow and kneel before the awesome might and love of my saviour, before the grace of God.

There’s a feast in heaven, Jesus is born!

About Ikponmwen Orobosa

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Stage name; Creator’s Pen

Occupation: writer/blogger

Nationality: Nigeria

#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas is a season of life where we can all find light.” Opeyemi Oduyemi

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Christmas has a new meaning for Opeyemi and she shares it with us in her entry. We absolutely love it.

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I deliberately decided to look the other way when I first saw the Sparkle Writers’ Hub Christmas Campaign sometime on Instagram particularly because it piqued me to want to answer and well, for me, there was not much to talk about. I kept telling myself, “Just look the other way, Opeyemi. Form – Not – Seeing.” But I couldn’t rid myself of the spark it’d ignited and WordPress and Instagram just never failed to deliver how beautiful folks perceive Christmas, so I am giving in.

The thing is, I wasn’t afraid because I’ve got nothing to say about Christmas – no – it is because the things I’d really like to say about Christmas were never real to me until much later. I’d like to talk about the celebration, the candles and the Christmas songs, the awesome carols, new outfits, hairstyles…movies to see and places to visit. I’d like to talk about the peace that Christmas brings, and the hope of seeing a brand new year pretty soon.

The joy of Christmas was the joy of a new dress and plenty of chicken and my usual Christmas hairstyle – Shabba. Christmas was like any other day that is in between school holidays save for new chicken,  outfits and Shabba.

My first perception of Christmas is simple: schools are closed for the year and mother buys two new clothes for us children. I always got a dress, a pair of trousers – knickerbocker pants or crazy jeans – and a top (and a jacket sometimes) to go with it. I remember the dress my mother bought for Christmas the year I turned seven. It was baby pink, with lilac gathers; was blown from waist down like Cinderella’s. Oh, that dress! It fitted just fine. I loved to tie my belt the butterfly style.

We children stayed at home on Christmas and neighbours bring interesting delicacies. You can’t blame us though, we just didn’t regard Christmas in our Muslim home. My parents always had the maids watch over us because they didn’t want us to have friends. What they didn’t know was that the moment they were gone, we all disappeared and returned early enough for them to meet us at home. What could I have done? I had to flaunt my new dress to my friends in the neighbourhood.  If mother returned early, I’d be taken to a photo shop just opposite my street to take a shot or two. Then we go to the beach the next day.

As we grew older, the clothes and my beautiful Shabba stopped but the good old chicken tradition never did. But I got to understand Christmas a lot better. Now I know the reason behind all the beautiful things I wanted to talk about. And that’s why I appreciate Christmas more than ever.

Christmas is more than the vacations, lights, songs, new dresses and Shabba. It is a season of life where we can all find light.

Merry Christmas in advance.
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About Opeyemi

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Opeyemi Oduyemi is the founder of Hopyrane. She works as a Contact Centre Teamlead at Contact Solutions Limited, Ilupeju, Lagos. She is inspired to gear creative people towards perfection and sharpen their works through words.

#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas to me is letting that weird festive feeling get hold of me.” John Chinedu

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Yuletide [Christmas] to me is waking up to a foggy clime, feeling the brass monkey weather caressing my light skin. Waking up to the sounds of twittering birds, from a tree with shrunken leaves due to the dust and dry weather on Christmas.

Applying local Vaseline as lip gloss on my lips to avoid getting it shriveled. Waking up to chores like chasing after a fat-feathery roosters- to be slaughtered and broiled on the eve of Christmas (my favourite). Have a warm shower, dressed up in fancy red fluffy-sweater embroidered with a clear words: “Christmas to y’all.” Going out on a brisked walk with my siblings.

Christmas to me is family reunion, having the “whole house” gathered around an-old-oak table covered in red velvet table top, Eating every piece of chicken your hands could lay on. Jokes shared by my great uncle, making Christmas enjoyable.

Christmas to me is having a bird’s eye view of the city, light up in beautiful rainbow colors or having a play of lustrous colours from lighted coloured bulbs. Streets light up with banners, scribbled on them were Christmas well-wishes. Receiving season’s greetings/ Christmas cards from friends and relatives.

Although, Christmas is a nine-day wonder; still everyone knows how to get involved in their own special ways. Giving out wrapped presents to friends and family, eating junk food and getting fed fat.

Christmas to me is letting that weird festive feeling get hold of me. Christmas to me is having lot of time to study and get prepared for the next year, although; it sounds weird but trust me it works. The feeling of being happy and excited about a new beginning is overwhelming. Being the first to hand out your over-sized clothe to the needy or hand out a nice pair of shoes to a friend.

Christmas enlightened us with the truth – He died for us and with that assurance that He’s coming back to have us eat in a larger banquet decorated with gold, sapphires, rubies and precious stones.

…feeling the vibe and energy that comes with Christmas. Waking up to thoughts, Santa Claus stopped by with a package situated at the center of your large parlour. Christmas to me in summary is dancing to the blaring music from the sound speaker.

About John Chinedu

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John Chinedu is an aspiring writer, poet and a doctor. John prefers going with the pseudonym John Flicks. In his free time, John loves writing, reading and singing. John Chinedu lives in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.

#SWChristmasCampaign – “Everyday is life but Christmas day is both the combination of light and life.” Ihesiaba Reward

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Christmas never really meant much to me as a kid except of course just knowing it’s the supposed celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s pretty ironic since it’s widely believed that children own “Christmas”. I think it pretty went on like this till “Dec 26th-28th, 2012”.

Although my little family comprises of six, my extended family is quite a very huge one, and in 2012, there was a lot of get-togethers and meet & greets and hanging out with the extended family than I expected. In 2012, there was a whole lot of building up of memories I never really had as a child. There was a great show of love.

2012 changed my perception of Christmas. Christmas is about love and hope and family. Everyday is life but Christmas day is both the combination of light and life. I know this is true because I see and experience it each Christmas day for the past four years now.

Maybe it didn’t start being that way only in 2012, but that’s when I started to see it and feel it strongly and deeply. I am usually sad and depressed most of the time and really, writing curtails that, but I noticed, above everything else, Christmas provides a huge distraction for me from all those things which keeps me forever thankful and grateful. Christmas is not everything really; Christmas is “something” that is “Everything” in every way. To me, it is peace.

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In the long run, the feeling of Christmas has come with different feelings: love, trust, hope, peace,and sometimes, the dreary feeling, “void”…that comes when I realise a member of the family will be away for Christmas.

I’m really thankful for Christmas day and above all, it has taught me the Importance of two different things; “Family and Light”. Knowing that families are eternal is WONDERFUL and knowing that the light of Jesus Christ has come forth to shine and never be dimmed, is GLORIOUS.

#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas is like a moon in the dark clouds reminding me that there’s always hope.” Jolaade Philips

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From not believing that there was anything special about Christmas, to discovering the hidden treasure in the season, Jolaade Philips’ entry will definitely tug at the strings of your heart. Thank you for sharing Jolaade!

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I didn’t grow up thinking Christmas was a religious thing, I assumed it was some sort of day other than your birthday where you get to eat anything you want, wear new clothes and not permitted to be sad.

Christmas I’d say to me is a day not just of love but it’s expression. No matter how crappy the year has been, when it’s Christmas you tend to put it all behind you at least for that day. Christmas is like a moon in the dark clouds reminding me that no matter how dark the day is, there’s always hope.

Christmas is an eye opener and confirmation to the fact that life can be lived with less hate and more love. For me it’s the day I get to put smiles on the faces of people by sharing food, drinks, jokes and sometimes these people are total strangers.

It’s a day where you get to see that every man has a bit of joy waiting to be expressed and the homeless man down the street stands up and dances with the richest man in the hood. Christmas is a reminder that every man has an intrinsic worth because everyone is treated specially and given what he desires.

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It was on a Christmas Day that my dad spoke to me his last words. He said “Son, I’ll be back I promise.” I didn’t understand until he passed away after four months and he never came back. Every Christmas Day, I remember his last words and I feel his presence and then I understood his promise. He’ll be back like Christmas, reminding me that he never left.

If everyday was Christmas, the world would be a better place.

#SWChristmasCampaign – “I dream of a Christmas of love, of peace, of sharing, of mutual respect.” Chimezie Udechukwu

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Chimezie Udechukwu took a different route with his entry by exploring the theme ‘Christmas in Summer.’ We love the creativity in this entry, and of course the message. Enjoy. 

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I am dreaming of a White Christmas. Just like the ones I used to know. Where the tree tops glisten and children listen to Heels sleighing in the snow. . . Jim Reeves

When we imagine the beauty of the golden sun in contrast with the pristine nature that the snow confers on us during winter when Christmas is celebrated, we can then understand the beauty of a Christmas in summer.

I love that song because it makes us wish for the best of the season even in the face of daunting economic challenges. The Christmas dream is such that when we reach out to people, share our possessions, love genuinely and kill every form of greed then we can all achieve a truly White Christmas as we used to know.

This idea of Christmas in summertime first came to me in 2010; fresh out of College I attended the  World Summer Camp organized by the International Youth Foundation, IYF. I had registered with Students Without Borders. It was my first time outside the country as the event was held at the very beautiful and majestic Palais De Congress, Cotonou Benin Republic.

One of the high points of the one week camp was a musical titled “Christmas in Summer”, a very impressive Choral group based in New York but with Korean origin. Oh the whole show was magical! The lights, props, vocals and above all, the message – giving; was absolutely thrilling!

Now since my childhood days I have heard the song White Christmas and growing up, I dream of a Christmas of love, of peace, of sharing, of mutual respect, of family unity. A Christmas of plenty; where there are no long queues in our fuel stations [common sight in Nigeria during festive periods], where food prices are affordable to all…

We are on this earth because of the various gifts we bear, and the need to gift these presents to the world is important. I have come to learn that we have been called to live quintessential evidenced by the gifts we bear and what she share.

Christmas affords us the opportunity to let people benefit from us, more so does Summer. There is joy in sharing the fun, contentment in helping others achieve their dreams and satisfaction in the smiles that gifts brings to the faces of beneficiaries. You can guide the trend of how people would talk about you when you are gone, especially while you are alive.

In the movie “Annie”, we see that girl who wouldn’t give up the search for her parents despite being in the ‘system’.  Annie was loved by all not just because she was smart, witty and charming; No. Her kindness marked her out hence the happy ending through her adoption by Mr. Stacks who saw her as a Christmas gift come early in Summer.

You could say she shared Christmas even during summer, and she wasn’t wasteful about it. Even in your worst condition, there is something you can give. It need not be material; the gift of hope, of faith, of charity is sublime!

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About Chimezie

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Chimezie Judemary Udechukwu is a fun loving, deeply intuitive young man. With a background in Political Science, Peace and Conflict Resolution, he believes in the development of the young for future success. He speaks, comperes, volunteers and blogs at www.ojisi.com

 

#SWChristmasCampaign – “I am fascinated by how family and friends gather together each Christmas.” Aniedi Etim

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Family is truly everything and for Aniedi Etim, Christmas is a time for her to be with as much family as possible, spend quality time together making beautiful memories. This is her entry!

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Whenever Christmas is mentioned, my heart jumps in excitement. This is because Christmas takes me down memory lane and also because Christmas means “quality family time.’’

As a child, I remember once Christmas drew closer, I’d begin to talk about it with my siblings and my friends at school; what color of dress I wanted, the type of shoe, the wrist watch and so on. But in all my preferences, I never for once took a second to consider my mother’s pocket being that she took up full responsibility of raising us after father passed on. We were so tender at the time. So my mother would just go with whatever she saw fit for us to wear, ignoring our choices. And trust me she always went for the very big dresses she was sure would take us at least a long time to grow out off.

And then on Christmas day, my siblings and I would wear oversized dresses; excited still, because at least Mama tried it. “What about other kids who never had Christmas dresses at all?” My mother would always say to make us feel better.

Christmas is however a very special season which of course means different things to different people; and honestly there has never been a single time Christmas is mentioned that my siblings and I won’t totally say, ‘’I can’t wait… I can’t wait.’’ This is because feelings that come with Christmas are undoubtedly magical.

Christmas brings miracles and possibilities. From the unique change of weather, to the manner people talk with so much enthusiasm and love, and then the high expectations both by children and adults. In fact, children are exceptionally happy because having been a child once, I know for sure what Christmas means to children; the clothes, the gifts, the holiday and what have you.

To me Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with love. Christmas is a season of merriment. The sight at which people undergo journeys frantically from different states, and across the world just to be home with their family and loved ones is simply breathtaking. It all goes to prove how much of an impact Christmas creates, and the bond it creates with families.

And in all, the laughter.  Oh, the laughter! The aroma in the air,  the exchange of food and gifts, the jingle bells, decorations and the carol songs with candle lights in church makes me marvel at the sort of joy Christmas brings.

Ultimately, I am fascinated by how family and friends gather together each Christmas; especially mine in merriment with high intensity of smiles and laughter. Now, that is the moment I cannot trade for the world. Because truly, Christmas is magical.

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About Aniedi Etim

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Aniedi is a graduate of Mass Communication from Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic. She writes because it gives her joy and purpose. She is also a soon to be author of her first collection of short stories.

 

 

#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas is the joy that we experience, the joy that we share and the joy that we spread.” Chizaram Opara

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Family – that’s what makes Christmas special for Chizaram. We love her entry because it is beautifully written and it warms the heart. 

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Christmas, for me, is a memory. A memory I formed once, when I visited my village in the eastern heartland of Nigeria, at a certain Christmas period, over ten years ago. That memory includes the dry sultry smell of harmattan air- the cold chilly breeze of the wee hours of the morning and at the late hours of the night. Christmas reminds me of dew, the early morning fog that symbolizes the harmattan season at its peak. This dew represents my own snow. In my head, I can make a dew man with an orange on his nose.

Christmas reminds me of a cave- that cave that seems to have been conjured all by my mind rather than the memory I think it is- where my cousins and I, in a game of bangers and knock-out throws, sought succour.

Christmas reminds me of the farm, my inexperienced trips thereto, learning to weed and harvest ripe fruits. Christmas reminds me of chicken, cooked ones, not the ones that made me take my first walking steps when I was on a chasing bout with them. It reminds me of the fact that my tradition will not allow a female eat the head of a chicken since she isn’t the head of the house.

Christmas isn’t all about the memory of the past to me.

In present times, Christmas holds the memory of my meeting some of my cousins for the first time. The ones who live in Lagos as I do but whom I never knew until recently. The ones who made me buy bangers with my not-so-hard-earned money. Bangers I never threw. Bangers I’ve never thrown. Bangers I’ll never throw.

Christmas, to me, is about giving,rejoicing, joy,bliss and thanksgiving. It is about celebrating with family and friends. What endears me most to christmas is not the eating; for to eat, I must work. It is not the gifts; for the gifts I still will exhaust. Its not in the new clothes to be purchased; on regular days, these can be bought

What endears me most to Christmas is the reunion of family. Christmas is one time when my family as a whole comes together to celebrate the salvation Christ wrought through his birth and subsequent death. While we laugh and play and carry out activities in this festive period, we may forget this purpose. Nonetheless, in every smile shared, every laughter cackled, every story told by my family members, I see the reward of salvation- joy and peace.

Christmas is the joy that we experience, the joy that we share and the joy that we spread. I’m looking forward to this year’s Christmas with enthusiasm.

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About Chizaram

Opara Chizaram

Opara Chizaram is a budding writer who blogs at musingsbyzaram.WordPress.com. She is passionate about writing and this passion stems from the need to be a voice of hope, change and above all else, impact. She just completed her last exams for her third year in the University of Ibadan, in the pursuit of a law degree. She loves Jesus with all of her heart and wishes to use her