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How to Feel Festive in Dubai

west-bay-snowmanStanding in the lift the other day I overheard newly arrived  expats clutching mugs of hot chocolate talking about how weird it is to be in Dubai at Christmas time.  It definitely isn’t cold outside so I suppose drinking hot chocolate is what they ‘feel’ they should be doing at this time of year!

Despite the clear blue skies Dubai can feel very Festive if you know where to look.

For the children Santa is obviously a big part of Christmas and for one of the best grottos get down to the Wafi Mall where you will find him in his very authentic log cabin.  The grotto is open till the 24th December from 10am to 10pm and costs DHS 60 (inclusive of a cuddly toy and a photo with Santa!).

If its the Christmas markets you are missing visit The Souk Festive Market at Madinat Jumeirah with a magical winter wonderland open till Friday 27 December 2014 throughout the week and on weekends, it is home to unique areas offering fabulous shopping and dining experiences.

Amongst the family friendly activities visitors can enjoy attractions including a traditional North Pole train, a unique ice rink, Santa’s Grotto, bouncy castle and a Reindeer Rodeo.

Adults can take part in cooking classes with Lindt Master Chocolatier Matthew Muller and award-wining Madinat Jumeirah Pastry Chef Paul Hayward as well as enjoying a wide selection of food and beverage stalls offering festive treats and gingerbread creations.

Last minute Christmas shopping can also be done this weekend at Arte at Arabian Center from noon till 10pm on 20 December where artisans of the Emirates will be selling their goods. The Ripe market will also be running on Friday morning.  This takes place in Zabeel Park from 9am to 2pm.  As you stock up on your veggies for the Christmas meal the kids will be entertained with crafts and a petting zoo.

We even put on good family festive shows at this time of year.  Alice in Wonderland is running at the Madinat Theatre from 19 – 30 December and Roald Dahl’s timeless story of the world-famous candy man Willy Wonka is being preformed at Ductac from the 19th – 27th December.  The Gingerbread Man is a fast-paced, festive family show that the little ones may like and that is being shown down at Dubai College on the 21 & 22 December.

On the topic of gingerbread – in true Dubai Style how about taking a visit to the tallest Gingerbread Tower in Dubai at the Address Dubai Marina.  This is a gingerbread house with a twist as it is actually a model of the Burj Khalifa made of Gingerbread.  This will be on display till the 1st week of January.

Nothing get people more into the holiday mood than some good Festive Carols so how about doing it in true Dubai style – in the desert.  Carols in the Desert takes place on 19 December from 4pm near the Al Qudra Cylce Path (just past Arabian Ranches).  You don’t need a 4×4 vehicle, just a blanket and a flask of hot chocolate!

Christmas church services will be held throughout the Festive period.  Please click here for a list of Churches in Dubai.

But….the best thing to do this Christmas is get down to the beach take a walk and be grateful you’re not fighting through the busy high streets with rain and 96km winds beating at your face!

 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Happy-Christmas-Expat-Echo



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