What to do for Christmas in Dubai

What to do for Christmas in Dubai

If your news feeds are full of as many click bait ‘winter is coming’ articles as ours is, then you know that it is nearly that wonderful, most festive time of year – the end of term!  Yes, the end is so close we can taste it and no doubt your days are manically fully of trying to get everything done before the break whilst struggling with those early mornings after all the Christmas parties filling up your calendar.

As much as some people would like to head home during the holiday period, we all know how pricey flights can get, so more and more of us are choosing to spend the winter break here and avoid the crazy travel rush and wallet-crushing expense of presents for everyone you would see. The good news is that Christmas in Dubai is actually a lot of fun and, bonus here, totally devoid of ice, rain and bone-chilling cold.  But the beautiful sunshine isn’t the only thing to get excited about, there are so many festively themed activities to take part it, you might just decide this is a great place to make new Christmas traditions and next you can make everyone come to you (just book your flights early!). 

To help you navigate the Christmas holidays, we’ve put together a little list of the sorts of things you can get up to get you in the mood for Santa and feel the holiday cheer! 

Head to a market…

So many hotels, malls and locations are hosting Christmas markets this year, more than ever before.  Wherever you live you are now probably no more than about 10 mins from a grotto-esk village complete with giant Christmas trees, fake snow and a jolly fat man.  From the Madinat to Habtoor City, Wafi to the Fairmont on the Palm, you can put on a (light) scarf and indulge in delicious food, warming drinks and even pick up some super cute Christmas gifts. 

See Santa…

If you do have kids and you think they have been good enough to visit the big guy for the annual present request, there are a few places that you can find him around the city.  Every Monday he’ll be at Maison Mathis in Arabian Ranches and also at Festival City, JW Marriot Marquis and even Al Seef’s Museum of Illusions …

Play in the snow…

No matter your skill level, any snow craving you might have doesn’t have to go unrequited in the desert.  Ski Dubai is bigger, fuller and more fun than ever with everything from skiing and snowboarding to zorbing and Penguin visits. Santa even likes to drop by here as well!

No-stress Christmas Dinner…

If heading out to a brunch is too much of a departure from your usual Christmas activities, you can easily enjoy a first-class festive spread at home (and you won’t have to lift a finger).  A range of hotels, restaurants and stores can arrange for a full service Christmas feast to be delivered to your house, complete with all the trimmings you love. So all you have to worry about is who to invite and who will do the washing up!  Go French with Couqley or dessert crazy with Clinton Street Baking Company and of course the classic Jones the Grocer. 

Start your own traditions…

Although it can sometimes feel quite sad to be so far away from what is familiar or the people you love during Christmas, it is a wonderful opportunity to make new memories that will stay with you forever. Our top tip for making your Dubai Christmas feel special is to do something that you couldn’t do where you come from.  Toss in a fun, quirky activity into your day and it will feel like you are truly making this place your home.  Top suggestions include a mid-day swim in the sea under the Burj Al Arab before all the food (which is also a great way to make everyone at home insta jealous!), take a selfie with a camel (you know where to find one), get a massage or have your hair done (can you believe how many places are open!), burn off some calories at Aqua Fun or do a spot of sunbathing – you definitely couldn’t do that at home and it will help remind of you all the good things about being in town! 

Shanti Clements
Head of Leadership Academy
What to do for Christmas in Dubai
With more than 24 years of experience in the field of education, personal development and leadership research, Shanti joined the TELLAL team from her post as Principal at Beauty Point Public School, which she transformed into one of the highest performing schools in Australia.
What to do for Christmas in Dubai
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