Cookie decorating, carol singing, Christmas parties and more
Time Out Kids Staff
December 1 Santa arrives at WAFI The man in red will camp out in his sumptuous toy factory grotto, waiting to greet good little boys and girls with a snowman, a smile and a photograph. Always a huge hit (chiefly because queuing mums and dads get free coffee), this year, the mall brings the story of toy-making to life, with animatronics and a 40ft whopper of a tree. Dhs50, daily until Dec 24, 10am-10pm.
December 2 Celebrate UAE National Day by learning about the UAE’s main cultural customs at Cité des Enfants’ special workshop (800 534 7873), then head down to Festival Centre, which will come alive with musicians, entertainers and kids’ workshops.
December 3 Meet Sami the Eagle Owl and enjoy guinea pig, rabbit and tortoise races at the Animal Sanctuary & Petting Farm’s festively-themed Family Fun Day, which also includes games, refreshments and a chance to feed the animals and ride the horse. Dhs10 adults, Dhs5 kids. 10am-3pm. The Animal Care House, take E6111 to Sharjah/Ajman, turn right to Dhaid/Al Zubair at exit 84, www.poshpawsdubai.com.
December 4 An annual tradition, check out the Radisson Blu Hotel’s exceedingly tempting gingerbread house display while getting stuck into a raft of festive games. Buy a blank gingerbread house for Dhs70 and the hotel will provide all the goodies, icing and sweets. From 2-4pm, including fun, games and a chance to meet the man in red. (04 205 7333).
December 5 Fancy a seasonal soiree? Head down to DUCTAC for a great performance of Let It Snow – a Festive Spectacular. Laurence Olivier Award-nominated actress Alison Jiear will perform your favourite festive songs, as well as show tunes and Disney classics (think Jingle Bells and Let It Snow) with her brilliant live band and local choir. Boasting top talent, seasonal spirit and the appearance of a very special Santa, this is an unmissable family festive night out. Dhs120-150, Dec 3-11 (except Dec 7), 7.30pm, DUCTAC. (04 341 4777).
December 6 If crafts are more your kid’s thing, don’t miss the Christmas craft camp at Bead Palace where festive baking, Christmas tree ornament creation, gingerbread house decorating and much more await. Dhs150-200, daily until December 31, 11am-2pm and 2.30-5.30pm (04 395 2771). Then head down to the lovely tree lighting evening at the Irish Village for choir and carols, mulled beverages and delicious home- baked mince pies. 7pm-9pm. (04 282 4750).
December 7 FREE! Pick out the prettiest partywear for little ‘uns at fashion label Half Pint’s Christmas Garden Party. As well as showcasing their fabulous festive frock collection, gorgeous gifts and handmade decorations, they’ll be serving up free coffee and mince pies. Dec 7-9, 9am-midday. Directions at www.halfpint.ae.
December 8 FREE! Join the children of DESS singing festive songs at Festival City’s annual tree lighting ceremony, where kids can help make the Christmas tree come alive with some good old-fashioned pedal power. 6.30pm. Festival Square, Festival City. Make this month even more magical with a viewing of Manda’s Magic Christmas Show, a fab family comedy show with a seasonal twist and a surprise visit from Santa and his bulging sack. Dhs65, 3.45pm and 5pm, (050 456 0413; firstname.lastname@example.org).
December 9 Soak up the spirit of the season at The Blossom Village Nursery’s holiday concert with interactive story time, ornament creation, pasta making and visits from Santa. (04 394 8837). For more feel-good festive cheer, head to the Souk Festive Market for a mooch around some seasonal stalls. There are tons of activities for the nippers, including a festive train and cookie baking. Daily until Dec 26, 5pm-midnight, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).
December 10 Begin the day in an all-white winter wonderland at the festive Dubai baby & children’s market. Find gorgeous gifts and Christmas cakes, meet Frosty the Snowman and get stuck into festive activities. Dhs3 adult entry, 9am-midday, Uptown Primary School, find location map at www.uptownprimary.ae. In the afternoon, head to the Kids’ Christmas Party at Sheraton Jumeirah, which promises loads of merrymaking, including Mr. Magician and his magic tricks, a huge bouncing castle a special kids’ buffet. An unusual Santa Claus will also be making an appearance. Dhs100, 4-7pm, Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Towers (04 399 5533). Finish off an action-packed day with the Kids’ Kabaret showcase – 140 kids performing musical theatre numbers from Cats, Capacabana and Mamma Mia, as well as skits and comedy sketches. Dhs25 (proceeds go to Harmony House India). 1pm, 3.30pm and 6pm (also on Dec 11). Kids Theatre Works at DUCTAC. (04 341 4777 x234). December 11 Get off to a sweet start with gingerbread house decorating, complete with seasonal sparkles, shapes and icing at Carluccio’s at Mirdif City Centre. Dhs80 buys kids all the gummidgens to make a masterpiece and rewards them with a delicious hot chocolate. 10am-noon, also at Dubai Marina Mall (Dec 18) and Dubai Mall (Dec 21) (04 284 3728). Check out the Emirates British Nursery winter fayre where craft and cake stalls, face painting, games and Santa’s grotto await. Dhs5 per family, 2pm-5pm, Mirdif branch (04 288 9222). Stock up on seasonal shopping – think felt fairies and handmade nativity sets – at ARTE Dubai’s winter-themed market, selling unique gifts from more than 110 local artisans. 12pm-7pm, Times Square. Then head down to The Address Montgomerie for two seasonal soirees: make a date with Santa at the fun-filled family Carnival on the Lawn (Dhs110 kids, Dhs50 adults, 3-6pm) before joining other families on Aquaviva Terrace for the lighting of the tree. Tuck into street food and mulled wine as you soak up the seasonal spirit. 6pm, The Address Montgomerie (04 390 5600).
December 12 Watch the sky sparkle thanks to the amazing Festival of Fireworks at the Festival Marina promenade. Every Thursday and Friday from Dec 9-31, 8pm.
December 13 Get into a real festive frame of mind as you tuck into a turkey dinner down at the Irish Village for a bargainous Dhs85 per person – a fabulously festive food deal running for 12 days until Christmas Eve. Dec13-24, Noon-11pm. (04 282 4751).
December 14 Grab the nippers then head off to meet Mr and Mrs Claus in the snow at Ski Dubai – don’t forget your pressie wishlist! Dec10-24, 5 pm onwards. Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates. (04 409 4129).
Need to do some last-minute shopping? Check out our mall-based kids’ activities, or pop the nippers into Atlantis Christmas kids’ club where they’ll be kept busy decorating Christmas cookies or getting stuck into festive-themed arts and crafts. Santa will be making the occasional appearance – check with the club for timings. Dhs50/hour, Dhs150 from 11am-6pm or 7-11pm. (04 426 1295).
December 16 Have a tremendous time at the Kidville Holiday Party and check out the fab facilities at the same time! There’ll be sacks of fun with a Little Maestros concert, face painting and tattoo station, arts and crafts, indoor gym, outdoor play, snacks and goodie bags. Dhs65 for members, Dhs75 non-members, 4.30-6pm, advance RSVP required. (04 440 1220).
December 17 Design your own tree decorations at the festive pretzel decorating workshop run by Auntie Anne’s. 3-6pm (also on Dec 24), Marina Terrace at Festival City. Or, for a local experience with a seasonal slant, head to the desert with Gulf Ventures’ Festive Camp, where you can take a sleigh ride down the sand dunes, have a bash at sand boarding and dig into a delicious barbecue festive feast. With traditional tunes, festive décor and a Santa’s Grotto, this promises to be a magical experience. Dhs175 adults, Dhs50 kids, from 5pm. (04 404 5880).
December 18 Check your pint-sized performers (aged 7-14) into DUCTAC’s weeklong Winter Theatre Camp. Here, they’ll explore the world of theatre around the ‘Home Alone in Winter’ theme, culminating in a creative performance for parents. Dhs750. 9am-3pm. Theatre Kids Works (04 3414 777 ext 234). Festive fun awaits the whole clan at the Bead Palace Family Christmas Party with parent and child crafts, Christmas cooking, carols and festive treats. Dhs100. 2-5pm (04 395 2771). If you can face another tree lighting, head to Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club for their seasonal switch-on in the Saha Courtyard, complete with welcome drinks and mince pies. Dhs50 adults, Dhs25 kids 6-12, under sixes free. 5.30-8pm (04 681 1900). And if you’re up for an early festive feast, Sails restaurant starts its turkey dinner deal. Dhs169 per person. Dec18-25,31, 6.30pm-12.30am. (04 262 5555).
December 19 Camp it up with a host of Christmas holiday camps. Book your limelight-loving little ones (ages 7-12) into a funky Winter Dance Camp at Kadomz Dance Studio, where they’ll practice and perform jazz, breakdancing and musical theatre. Dhs650 for one week, Dhs1,000 for two weeks,9.30am-1pm daily from 19-23 Dec and 26-30 Dec (04 434 1984).
De-camp to the revamped Favourite Thing’s Camp (ages 2-8) with specially-themed days like ‘Art Attack’ and ‘Rock Star’. 9.30am-1pm daily from Dec18-30. Dhs610 weekly or Dhs150 per day. Dubai Marina Mall (04 434 1984). Or pack them off to chef camp for a week-long Cooking Up Christmas workshop with two exciting trips and loads of baking. Dec 19-23, 9am-1.30pm. Dhs150 per day or Dhs700 per week, Little Chefs Dubai (email@example.com).
December 20 Bake festive food and make Christmas crafts at Simpledelicious’ two-day Christmas baking session. Dhs160,9am-11am, Dec20-21. (050 396 0023). Then grab a glass of Gluhwine and sing along to seasonal songs with the Sheraton’s Christmas choir, while kids tuck into the yummy Christmas cookies. Daily 7-7.30pm until Dec 25, Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Towers (04 399 5533). Let your little ones (kids aged 5-12) loose with paper and paints at KidzArt Winter Workshop, where they can create gorgeous gifts for family and friends. Dhs585 for three days, 10am-1pm from Dec 20-22 (also from Dec 26-28), DUCTAC (055 222 0129). December 21 For festive cheer complete with crafts, tree decorating and jolly tunes (not forgetting a surprise visit from someone special) get down to Favourite Things’ Christmas Party. Also on Dec 22, 4-6pm, Dhs90 with one hour of free play (04 434 1984).
December 22 A Christmas institution, don’t miss this year’s panto. Combining comedy, music and dancing, with larger-than-life characters and striking scenery, the punchline-packed Aladdin Pantomime at The First Group Theatre will delight young and old. Dhs125, Dec22-Jan 2, see www.madinattheatre.com for details (04 366 6546).
December 23 For a special night beneath the stars, Christmas Full Moon Desert Drumming is a fun evening of music and dance, with Dubai’s drumming community bashing out carols, as well as camel rides, sandboarding, a barbecue and even Santa bearing gifts. Dhs190 adults, Dhs85 kids (6-13), under sixes free. 6.30pm-midnight. Gulf Ventures Desert Camp, www.dubaidrums.com. Call 056 744 2128, tickets available at www.timeouttickets.com.
December 24 Creative kids (aged 4-7) can build gingerbread houses from edible ingredients (the best wins free entrance to the Snow Park at Ski Dubai) then explore the wonderful Cité des Enfants. Dhs100 for a 90-minute drop-off session, 10am-midnight (also on Dec 25). With Christmas cookie decoration, festive arts and crafts, and tons of games on the menu, the Peekaboo Party will also see Santa bearing gorgeous gifts. Dhs85, 4-6pm (04 347 0622).
December 25 Now that he’s delivered all his pressies, Father Christmas will be roaming around Poseidon’s Court at Atlantis. Pop down between 2pm and 4pm for a snapshot with Santa (04 426 1000). One for the mums (and sophisticated sprogs), tuck into a traditional afternoon tea and festive tunes. Dhs150, 1-7pm, Palm Court Lobby Lounge, Jumeirah Beach Hotel(04 406 8999).
December 26 Experience a white Christmas moment with a chairlift ride through snowy Ski Dubai (all decked out in festive decor) up to the Avalanche Cafe, where you’ll be greeted with a delicious hot chocolate. Daily, all year round, Dhs80 for one adult/child, including hot chocolate.
December 27 Get your tweens and teens into the groove with a Monday night festive fever on the ice. A public session includes a free disco with chart-topping music and dazzling lights. Dhs50, 8-10pm, Dubai Ice Rink, The Dubai Mall (04 448 5111).
December 28 If you’ve enjoyed even a handful of the festivities above, you’ll be in need of a jolly good rest. We suggest mince pies on the beach to truly kick back and relax.
December 29 Embrace the Arctic with a cool day out at the UAE’s latest waterpark Ice Land in RAK. Surrounded by (plastic) penguins, floating icebergs and Snow River, it’s suitably seasonal and offers more than 50 attractions for all ages. There’s tons of slides (from the tame to the thrilling), a full-sized water football pitch, tube rides and a rain disco. Dhs225 adults, Dhs175 kids under 1.2m, under 0.8m free, 11am-8pm (800 969725).
December 30 Play time! Take a break from the festive frolics, grab a few of those new outdoor toys and head to the park for a day of family fun.
December 31 Get your glad rags on for a New Year’s Eve Gala Ball themed around 1001 Arabian Nights with a Majilis set-up and live entertainment, including a DJ, Skizophonic band, bellydancing performance, camel rides and fireworks. Dhs1,200 adults, Dhs350 kids, five-12, under fives free. Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resorts & Towers (04 315 3218) Or cruise into 2011 aboard Al Mansour Dhow, indulging in an international buffet and breathtaking views, Dhs449 adults, Dhs99 kids (four-12), 9.30pm-12.30am (04 205 7033) Alternatively, Dress up as your favourite rockstar and join the Rockstar party at Planet Hollywood with fun and games, a DJ and dance floor party and international buffet. Dhs245, Dhs95 per child aged six-12 years, under-sixes free, one child per adult. (04 324 4777). January 1 New Year’s Day Roast and Breakfast at Planet Hollywood. Start the New Year on a full stomach with a mouthwatering international buffet, hot breakfast station and prime roast beef with all the trimmings, while the kids get stuck into the play area. Dhs95, Dhs50 ages 6-12, under sixes free, one child per adult. (04 324 4777).