Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 1.44.04 PMIt’s already started: the inevitable Facebook posts and Instagram snaps of expats in Dakar hopping on planes and going to places with snow, wearing boots and scarves and celebrating with friends in Christmas sweaters.

For some of us though, Christmas will be 80 degrees with a chance of dust storm. But there are some fun things to do in Dakar this season! Here are just a few. Add your own below!

1. Check out the Christmas lights downtown. Don’t miss the giant tree at the Place de l’Indépendence.

Here’s the route suggested last year by Stan W. and Jeremy T.:
· Take the Autoroute towards town and exit right on Malick Sy at the big bridge by “Central Park” shopping center.
· Follow Malick Sy to the Corniche Ouest and turn left towards downtown.
· Continue onto boulevard de la République and follow all the way to the Présidence.
· Turn left and continue down three quarters of the way around the Place de l’independence.
· Turn right on avenue Pompidou.
· At the Sandaga Marché, angle left onto avenue André Petavin.

Afterwards, go warm up (ha ha) with hot chocolate at Aux Fins Palais or a coffee treat from Presse Café.

2. Celebrate Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve with the grand buffets at the Churrascaria Brasil restaurant in Fann Hock. To make a reservation, call 33 821 0032 or 77 523 0492.

3. Get your photo taken with a Senegalese Santa. (Don’t worry. If you leave the house at all this month, you’re likely to find one somewhere!)

Me with Santa Ndiaye in 2003 at the Sahm shopping center.

4. Whip up a batch of Ashley’s Amaretto Spiced Eggnog or Shawn’s Christmas Bissap. Both go great with a handful of Chex Mix Dakarois.

5. Shop one of the MANY Christmas markets in Dakar. Like this one at the Institut Français from December 14-22nd from 10am to 8pm. Accessories, clothing, sous-verres, beauty products, ceramics, textiles, shoes, leather goods, up cycled art, organic food… 89 rue Joseph Gomis, Dakar. Tel: 33 823 03 20

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6. Make Dakar-themed Christmas ornaments, like these beauties made from the CityDia scratch-and-win cards.

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7. Take an evening drive past the big mosquée de la Divinité in Ouakam to see if it’s decked out for Christmas yet.

8. Plan a Christmas cookie exchange and then deliver plates of treats to your Senegalese neighbors. Here’s a recipe from Angie that’s high on my list:

Fresh Bissap, Fresh Coconut & White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. orange zest
juice of half a clemantine
1 cup fresh coconut (can be dry, but fresh is fantastic – ask your maid to get it for you pre-grated)
3 cups oats
1 1/2 cups fresh bissap (Dry will do as well, just rehydrate it in hot water for a bit)
1 – 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chunks

Combine, flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and orange juice, and zest in large bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats, bread crumbs, coconut and white chocolate chips, then the bissap at the end. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for two minutes, then remove with a spatula.

9. Or you could order some Christmas amazingness from Sweet Things. (Hurry though – holiday cookie orders must be in by the 15th.)

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10. Go to the beach and work on your tan. Eat chilled watermelon. Make peppermint ice cream with all those melted candy canes. Then post loads of pictures on Facebook and Instagram. Take that, Dakar-deserters!😉

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