Check out these wonderful Dubai fairs this Christmas
Dubai Winter Festival at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre Places in Dubai at which you can have a snowball fight are few and far between, but not only can you do just that at this outdoor festive fest, you can also build a snowman. Fine, don’t believe us, that’s more snow for us to throw. This year, this massive festival will also feature a snow slide, which is open to all ages, a Search For A Star event and “Dubai’s largest pub quiz”, along with a cheese corner (!), plus a party garden for adults with Lucky Voice karaoke booth and Tips and Toes festive nail art. See you there (we’ll be the ones making a perfect snow angel). Dhs55-150 adults, Dhs30-55 (kids aged three and over). Wed Dec 6-Sat Dec 9, 2pm-10pm, Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, dubaiwinterfestival.com.
Family Winter Fairs at Reform Social & Grill A favourite home-away-from-home for Christmas-loving expats, Reform always pulls out all the stops at this time of year. It’s a family affair this time around, as parents – between sips of mulled beverages – can take the little ones to visit Santa’s Grotto before perusing the festive market stall. Free. Sat Dec 9, noon-7pm. The Lakes (04 454 2638).
Festive Market at La Farine A life-sized gingerbread house? Hansel and Gretel had better get out of our way because we think that is a must-see. The delicious dwelling – hopefully minus the witch from the Brothers Grimm fairytale – will be open outside the cafe’s entrance in the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel from Monday December 4. Its sweet and spicy aroma will prove a distraction for market-goers who can buy festive hampers and sample seasonal cakes, hot chocolate, strawberry fondue and home-made waffles. Free. Mon Dec 4-Tue Dec 26, 10am-10pm. JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Business Bay, Dubai (04 414 3000).
Want to ride an abra with Santa? Of course you do. The man in red will traverse the waterways of the Madinat Jumeirah to reach the resort’s annual Festive Market, which will take place on Fort Island from Friday December 15 to Wednesday 27. Inspired by a traditional German Festive Market, this 1,750 sq m winter wonderland will feature at its centre an interactive LED Christmas tree with different festive designs. Tuck into roasted chestnuts and seasonal beverages while the young ones enjoy a North Pole train, giant snowball and two-lane bungee jump. Santa will appear daily at 5pm and 7pm. Free. Sun-Wed 3pm-1am; Thu-Sat noon-1am. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 8888).
Festive Village at Atlantis The Palm Loosen those belts because Poseidon’s Court has been transformed into a Santa’s Elf Workshop of delicious treats. If you like festive cakes, mince pies and cookies (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), head over to Atlantis from December 1 to marvel at tasty treats including lavish gift hampers and gingerbread houses. Children can join in with activities such as glitter tattoo-making, gingerbread house crafting and sand art. There is even a chocolate river! Free. Fri Dec 1-Mon Jan 8, 2018, 10am-10pm. Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2000).
Mercato's Winter Wonderland From Thursday December 7 until Saturday December 23, meet Santa and his elves at Mercato's giant gingerbread house, while shopping for pressies, food and those holiday party essentials. Little ones can get creative with interactive artistic workshops, plus a whole host of special seasonal stage shows. Expect to see three different shows, including The Winter Fairy Tale, Magic Phil Winter and the comedy magic show The Winter Wizard. Free. Dec 7-23. Mercato Shopping Mall, Jumeirah (04 344 4161).
Town Centre Jumeirah Festive Season Gather the kids and head to Town Centre Jumeirah where they'll get the chance to meet their favourite Alice in Wonderland characters, and get a photo with them too. There's a lovely Tea Time with Alice & Friends show that will take place, featuring spectacular dance, laughs and even a juggling act. Free. December 9-23, Sat-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri 1.30pm-10pm. Town Centre Jumeirah, Jumeirah Road (04 344 0111).
Winter Garden Market at The St. Regis Dubai Gardens
A bucket of Christmas will be poured all over the lush St Regis Dubai Gardens, transforming it into an enchanted winter wonderland with twinkling lights and festive decor. Food and retail stalls plus a load of activities for children will be in place throughout the festive season, with lighting of the Christmas tree on Sunday December 3. Santa will also be paying a few visits, and where else in the world but this city would he arrive for a festive fiesta in a red Bentley? That’s right, ol’ Saint Nic will trade Rudolph’s red nose and his traditional sleigh for a luxury car ahead of the tree-lighting ceremony and beyond. You can enjoy seasonal eats and beverages, plus retail and food stalls. And a fancy-pants Father Christmas. Free. Santa’s visit: Sun-Thu 5pm-7pm; Fri-Sat 3pm-5pm; tree-lighting Sun Dec 3, 6pm-8pm; Winter Garden Market: Sun-Thu 5pm-11pm; Fri-Sat 3pm-11pm. Until Dec 26. Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 435 5577).