It’s already started: the inevitable Facebook posts and Instagram snaps of Dakar expats hopping on planes and going to places with snow, wearing boots and scarves and celebrating with friends in Christmas sweaters. For some of us, 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 market downtown! The Village de Noel runs December 20-14 at the place de l’indépendance. Shop for gifts, enjoy some food and the lights!

2. Have Christmas pjs made! Seydou Diallo (776516566) made these adorable, lightweight red ones with white piping for the kiddos last year.

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Or you can also buy super sweet little girls’ pjs from Ayo Nene at Minibap in Point E. Abi designs and makes her own line and they are so cute that I really wish she made them for adults. #pleease

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 formerly-known-as-Score-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. Make Dakar-themed Christmas ornaments, like these beauties I made a few years ago from the CityDia scratch-and-win cards. #nowacollectorsitem

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6. Shop one of the MANY Christmas markets in Dakar. Yes, many have passed BUT there’s still the Pop-Up Market #2 on December 12th in Mamelles with Toutdoux, Tekeleke, Minibap and Tampidaro, or on December 16th in Ouakam, Wagokoro restaurant is hosting a Christmas event with shopping from La Sapologie, Raftna and l’atelier de Coumare as well as an (RSVP!) a sous-verre painting workshop. If you’ll be in Saly next weekend, don’t miss the Marché Dundal’s Noel au Sahel with gifts, food (and tastings!) and activities for the whole family.

7. Rent a horse cart for a ‘sleigh ride’ and bring a little cheer (and lots of laughter) to the neighborhood!

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)
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 Simone Café or the newly launched (and tested!) Poprox Catering. Her sugar cookies are 3600 CFA per dozen. Gingerbread cookies coming soon! or 78 122 4630.

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! 😉

The fam, 2016.