Santa! I know him! – Christmas in Dubai.

It’s exactly one month ’til Christmas day. Which means we have a full 28 days to soak up as much overpriced, underwhelming Christmas cheer as we can find in Dubai.

I’m already disappointed to hear that the Christmas Market aka Winter Festival (“Winter Festival”. Really?!), normally held at Dubai Media City, has relocated to DWTC this year. Because nothing says “Christmas” like an exhibition hall. Don’t worry, I think fresh air is overrated too.

Equally, the large number of F&B outlets pre-fixing the word “festive” to their regular offerings then adding a few extra D’s to the price, is also giving me that warm holiday feeling.

That being said, there are a few sparkly events coming up which I plan to attend… or decide between.


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On the 17th December, Time Out is partnering with McGettigan’s JLT to offer the first annual Xmas Jumper Party.

As the proud owner of no less than five Christmas jumpers in Dubai, the indecision over outfits is already a concern. In addition to the fact I’m already booked into another event that night.

If you don’t own such an item, I spotted some fabulous Christmas jumpers in Debenham’s Mall of Emirates, the other day. Some even light up. Alternatively, you’ve got around 22 days to knit yourself a unique creation.

More details on Time Out

A Christmas party… on a MegaYacht, because Dubai y’know.


If a Christmas jumper party isn’t your thing, then join 299 other people for this sea-based celebration. Setting sail at 8pm from Pier 7, tickets are a rather reasonable 350 D’s including entry, drinks and an on board DJ.

Facebook event

Christmas at The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens


NOTHING, and I mean nothing, announces the beginning of the Christmas season, than three days watching / not watching rugby, drinking beers, dancing to the UK Top 40 and wearing a dubious fancy dress outfit. Last year a friend went as a Christmas tree. Don’t let the 28 degree weather confuse you, go festive, and remember to take the Sunday off work.

Ticket information

Fairmont the Palm Vs Irish Village


On the 6th December Irish Village are going head to head with Fairmont the Palm for their Christmas tree lighting events. No doubt these events are speaking to two very different kinds of people, but both promise Christmas. As you can see below, there is clear winner.

First up, Fairmont the Palm – A magical family event, kids choir and hot chocolate. Here’s what they have to say:

When we were little, we learned one thing about Festive Season – it always starts with Tree lighting, Santa’s appearance and Hot chocolate!

Are you dreaming of experiencing it again and showing your children the Magic? Then book 7th December 2015 in your calendar and welcome to annual Festive Tree Lighting Ceremony at Fairmont The Palm.

You and all our guests of all ages will enjoy a special children choir performance, irresistible festive treats, a dedicated children activities’ corner. Every kid’s favorite super star – Santa Claus – will magically appear in the traditionally festive decorated lobby.

The tree lighting ceremony is free and open to the public.

Stay with us to learn more and celebrate the upcoming, incredibly exciting Festive Season 2015 at Fairmont The Palm!

Irish Village – Mince pies and kids get shown the door at 9pm. See you there:

‘Tis the season of fun and festivities and with The Irish Villages traditional Christmas Tree Lighting, the whole family can jump into the Christmas spirit. You can indulge in the perfect Christmas accompaniment of a seasonal beverage and home-baked mince pies while you listen to the choir singing Christmas carols. So grab your Santa hat and get your vocal chords warmed up for a jolly evening of festivities.

Tree Lighting and Choir : 7.00pm to 9.00pm

Children are welcome until 9.00pm

Hamlet, no I didn’t see it coming either. 

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I was a bit confused by the showing of Hamlet in December, but it turns out that the play is set in Denmark during Christmas. If I know only one thing about Denmark, it’s that it’s famous for its winter snow.

It would appear that Shakespeare wasn’t mad keen about Christmas – across all his works he mentions the occasion only three times. Hamlet is where Shakespeare really goes to town on a description of the festive season. Blink and you might miss it.

Hamlet is being screened live from the National Theatre to the Courtyard in Al Quoz. An experience in itself, if nothing else.

More details from The Courtyard Playhouse

Madinat’s Souk Christmas Market

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I have nothing but good things to say about my experiences at this event last year. The details on the website have taken some creative liberties, not least with the image. If their “breathtaking” rides, aren’t breathtaking, I’ll be furious.

Over-zealous descriptions aside, this event guarantees mulled wine, Christmas music, fake snow (possibly an awful environmental hazard, sorry, world), gingerbread house building, food and general merriment. Go with friends, family… and don’t forget to invite me.

Carols by candlelight, in the desert. What’s not to love?


A free of charge event (this is not a typo), in Dubai, with no obvious attempts to upsell overpriced Christmas tat to you while you are there, this event is exactly as described. Song sheets will be provided, as will a roaring fire, and hot chocolate will be available.

For those who want to sing until sunrise, camping is optional, and don’t forget to accessorise the children with glowsticks – It’s going to be dark.

More details 


Enjoy, and Merry Christmas. What? Too early?




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