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Celebrating Christmas in Dubai

Dec 10, 2023

By Lorey Harfield

Living in Dubai since 1998, experiencing Christmas here is quite the blend of cultures against a backdrop of sunny skies. Despite being in a city with strong Islamic roots, Dubai really gets into the festive groove during Christmas in its own unique way.

But what truly amplifies the festive spirit are the incredible decorations in the malls and hotels. Picture this: grandiose displays, twinkling lights, and festive trimmings that turn these spaces into wonderlands. It’s like stepping into a whole other world filled with holiday cheer.

Our home transforms into this mosaic of traditions! We’ve got decorations from South Africa, a sprinkle of British charm (thanks to my husband’s side), and the local Dubai flair. It is a colorful medley that shouts “celebration” in every nook and cranny.

Our Christmas routine? It’s a delightful mix! We usually gather friends for a home-cooked traditional Christmas lunch at home, and sometimes we might enjoy a lavish hotel lunch or brunch instead. But you know what we love most? Those moments spent outdoors, having beachside barbecues, or catching the sunset with a few drinks – it is our Dubai-style celebration.

Back in the day when the kids were little, we’d take them to the Winter market at Madinat or head to Ski Dubai to meet Santa. Those memories, they’re like snapshots of Dubai’s diverse festive offerings.

But, truth be told, there is a tinge of sadness amidst the cheer … being away from my parents and extended family during Christmas. It’s the toughest part. Even amidst the glitz and glamour, that longing for their company lingers.

Still, celebrating Christmas here is this beautiful fusion. Dubai’s inclusive nature, coupled with its sunny weather and the mesmerising decorations everywhere, weaves this vibrant tapestry of traditions, merging cultures, and making us feel connected, despite the distance from our loved ones.

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