If there is a month of the year that brings us all together, it’s December. From the snowy reaches of Lapland to the dunes of Dubai, winter wonderland blooms with a triple whammy of holidays, amazing weather and a jam-packed events calendar.
Christmas comes alive in the city, Dubai style. Malls go all out with holly, Santa and sales while traditional Arabian souks transform into Christmas markets. From pantomimes and brunches to DJ sets and Bedouin shows, there is no lack of festive fervour in this part of the world. Here are ten of the best festive experiences to get you in the holiday spirit:
UAE National Day Parade
Although 2 December might be a bit early for festivities for the rest of the world, the UAE kicks off its National Day revelries with an epic parade every year that brings together Dubai residents of diverse nationalities. Celebrating the spirit of the union between the UAE’s seven emirates, the parade is also a petrol-head’s dream, with Dubai Police’s fleet of supercars joining in the procession in Downtown Dubai.
Madinat Festive Market
Bringing together the best of both worlds, the Christmas Market at the iconic Souk Madinat Jumeirah is bursting at the seams with the magic and flavours of Christmas thanks to more than 20,000 Christmas lights and over 160 trees adorning the property. From elaborate ornaments to delicious treats and merry carollers, the Christmas market is the perfect venue to soak in the festive spirit in the days leading up to Christmas Day. Head over to their sister property, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, to breathe in the aromas of their giant gingerbread house made with over 2,000 pieces of gingerbread. Bonus – those who stay on the property even get treated to a stocking in their room for each guest!
For visitors, residents, families and children craving a white Christmas, Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates will bring a touch of Lapland to Dubai with a Winter Wonderland complete with Santa’s Grotto and workshop. With sledge hills and snow balls, Christmas cheer will be running high as revellers ski the day away or indulge in a good old fashioned snowball fight. Christmas at Ski Dubai will make the desert seem a million miles away.
Skate into the Festive Season at Dubai Ice Rink
Not to be outdone on tradition, Dubai Ice Rink at The Dubai Mall packs in the best of Christmas in one great venue. Last year, Christmas revellers were treated to gifts at the Village Market, complete with an elves’ arts and crafts workshop, the chance to skate under snowfall to disco music and an exciting Elementis Show.
From 6 – 10 December, the newly opened Dubai Opera will play host to the greatest Christmas pantomime of all time – the Nutcracker – staged on ice. A cast of World, European and National Championship-level skaters will bring the epic tale to life on ice accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s glorious score. With high-speed leaps and awe-inspiring acrobatics, this sublime ice dance is a festive treat that will thrill and enchant all ages.