Five things to do at Christmas in Dubai

Christmas isn't a big festival back home in India. It is celebrated, of course, and is a national holiday, but isn't as big as Diwali or Holi. For me, it has always been a magical festival. As a child, I loved everything from the carols to the trees and Santa. I've always liked to do a little something each year at Christmas, but this year has been the best as Little Dude is at that age where he can do Christmas crafts, make a gingerbread house, or help me decorate our small tree!

While Dubai may not initially sound like the right place to celebrate Christmas to an outsider, it is, in fact, bursting with with festive spirit. There are expats from around the world in Dubai, and a sizable percentage celebrate Christmas. After the national holidays, this is one festival that is big in this city.

It can sometimes be a little lonely celebrating festivals as an expat. But if you are an expat in Dubai celebrating Christmas, there are enough things to keep you and your family busy all month!

Five things to do at Christmas in Dubai

Here are five things to do in Dubai during Christmas time:

1. Visit the malls

Malls in Dubai outdo each other in putting up the best Christmas displays. The Christmas trees are huge, and the decorative themes are creative - from teddy bears, to a toy train. Every year, it's exciting to visit the malls to see what they come up with. Some of the best malls to visit at Christmas are WAFI, Dubai Festival City, Dubai Mall, and Mall of the Emirates. But every mall has something put up, and you can even catch Christmas workshops for children in some places. There's even a Frozen themed indoor snow park at Ski Dubai - it can't get more magical than that!

2. Shop at the Christmas markets

If you go to one of the Christmas markets in Dubai, you'll find everything you would have expected to see in Europe or other places where they are popular. The ones in Dubai aren't huge, and it doesn't snow, but the festive feel is definitely in the air. The Souk Festive Market at Madinat Jumeirah is one of the best. The other one to visit is the Christmas market in Dubai Media City. There are also many schools who host them, and the most popular is the JESS Night Market.

3. Eat traditional festive food

You can eat and eat! Most restaurants and hotels offer a Christmas Eve dinner, a Christmas Day brunch, and a traditional Christmas dinner. There are many things to keep the family busy, like live music and a visit from Santa. Many hotels also offer Christmas food crates so you don't have to worry about finding the ingredients or cooking!

4. Visit Santa's grotto

You can find many grottoes to visit at malls and in the hotels. The Santa's Grotto at WAFI mall is arguably the best, but you can find him almost everywhere, even in the toy stores. Christmas isn't complete without visiting the Old Man, isn't it?

5. Watch a play

Treat your family to a magical performance - whether it's The Nutcracker or Alice In Wonderland or Peter Pan. But tickets sell out months in advance, so plan ahead!

So, don't think twice about visiting Dubai during the Christmas season if you can. I can bet you and your children will not be disappointed!

Check out my Snapshots of Christmas in Dubai for more photos.

For more information on these events, see Dubai Calendar, Time Out Dubai, or What's On Dubai.

This post has been written as part of the Christmas In Different Lands series on Multicultural Kid Blogs. Be sure to visit the other posts in this series for a tour of different ways in which Christmas is celebrated around the world!

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Shane R. said...

I've always wondered what Christmas was like in other countries. Thanks for sharing your experience and suggestions.

Tarana said...

Glad you liked reading it!

Sara (@mumturnedmom) said...

It sounds like Christmas is fun in Dubai, lots to do and see. I love Christmas markets, such a lovely way to get into the festive spirit :)

Tarana said...

I love the markets too!

Leanna Alldonemonkey said...

I wouldn't have expected to find so much to do for Christmas in Dubai! Though it makes sense with so many expats and tourists there. Thanks for sharing!

Tarana said...

Yes, there are many tourists at this time of the year.

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