| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

50 Dubai festive family ideas

Meet Santa, sing carols, watch panto and more Christmas fun

© ITP Images

’Tis the season to be jolly! Which is why we’ve left no turkey unturned in our bid to bring you the biggest countdown to Christmas and the new year yet. Think tree lightings, mince pies and mulled beverages, carol concerts, gingerbread construction and festive roast dinners galore. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

December 1
Tempt those taste buds at the Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach’s winter wonderland. As well as traditional German and Swiss festive delicacies, there’ll be turkey with all the trimmings, marizipan truffles, mince pies and much much more.
Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, www.moevenpick-hotels.com; Maureen.pamanano@moevenpick.com (04 449 8888).

Sign the kids up to a winter workshop at the new Mirath Art Centre in JBR. They’ll be running a flexible schedule throughout the winter holidays, with age appropriate creative classes for kids from tots to teens, including paiting, mixed media and 3D design.
Prices from Dhs350-Dhs890, from three-five days depending on age group. Mirath Art Centre, Amwaj 3, Plaza Level, JBR. www.mirathart.com (04 434 0128).

December 2

Happy UAE National Day! The lovable characters of Umm Khammas, Um Allawi, Um Saeed and Um Saloon from homegrown cartoon Freej will be appearing in Magic Planets across the UAE.
Catch them in Mirdif City Centre from 5.15pm to 6:15pm, Deira City Centre from 7.15pm to 8.15pm and Mall of the Emirates from 9.15pm to 10.15pm.

You can also munch on some National Day cupcakes to celebrate 40 years of the UAE, courtesy of Kitsch.
Their customized cakes cost Dhs14 each, and you’ll find them at Kitsch stores on Jumeirah Beach Road, DIFC and Vox cinemas.

December 3
This afternoon, head to the Address Montgomerie’s Carnival on the Lawn, for family fun and games, shawarmas and soft drinks, and the chance to catch up with Father Christmas.
Dhs110 (kids), Dhs50 (adults). 3pm-6pm. The Address Montgomerie, www.theaddress.com (04 390 5600).

December 4
The lobby of the Al Bustan Rotana has been transformed into a snow-covered Christmas village this month, and from today you’ll be able to pick up Christmas food and goodies, such as turkeys, chocolates and mince pies.
Until January 5, visit, www.rotanatimes.com (04 705 4818).

December 5
Take the sprogs to an afternoon Christmas crafting workshop at Super Dooper in Dubai Marina. Running between December 4-6, from 4pm-6pm, kids will learn how to make their own yuletide slippers and beautiful festive houses.
The two-hour workshops cost Dhs150 per child and include all materials. Damac Waves Building, Dubai Marina, www.superdooper.ae (04 454 8391).

December 6
Get the Christmas shopping done at Oasis Centre – from today they’ll be offering a series of special offers, family attractions and gift ideas for shoppers (not to mention the chance to ogle the sparkling decorations and huge tree). Santa will also be holding workshops throughout the month, where kids can watch festive movies, and make their own Santa hats, stockings filled with goodies and home-made decorations.
Oasis Centre Mall, www.oasiscentremall.com (04 515 4000).

It’s jolly old St Nicholas’ Day, so what better way to toast Santa’s good health than to head to the Gingerbread House at the Aquarium Lounge at the Crowne Plaza Dubai-Deira? From 4pm-8pm, St Nick will be there himself to hand out to the kids, and for Dhs49 you can help yourself to the buffet that’s chock full of mince pies, Christmassy goodies, hot chocolate and warm punch.
Aquarium Lounge, Crowne Plaza Dubai-Deira.; cpdeira.info@ihg.com (04 262 5555).

Tonight also marks the start of Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel’s Christmas decoration display, as well as the opening of the hotel’s festive shop in Al Bahou, where you can buy all those festive favourites for gifts or Christmas dinner.
Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, www.thegoodlife.ae (04 444 5613).

December 7
If you’re planning to celebrate at home but don’t know one end of a turkey from the other, now’s the time to book ahead your Christmas lunch. Check out our guide to the best takeaway services around Dubai, which will take all the hard work out of Christmas lunch and you may even be able to pass it off as your own work!).

December 8
Head along to the launch of the Madinat Jumeirah’s famous Souk Festive Market. Taking place every day from today until December 26 (3pm-midnight on weekdays; 1pm-midnight on weekends), they’ve got a whole host of fun, Christmassy activities for all the family. As well as a chance for the kids to meet Santa, there’ll be a Christmas train station, winter forest, snow ball throwing, t-shirt painting, Christmas movies, a cookie slide, and festive balloon bending. And as well as stalls selling traditional gifts, there’ll also be an ample selection of food and beverage stands to choose from to help you get in the Christmas spirit. Oh, and did we mention that entry is completely free?
For more information, visit www.jumeirah.com/dubaifestive

Tonight is also when the Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach lights up its Christmas tree in the lobby, complete with carol singers, Christmas sweets and festive beverages.
Free of charge, visit between 7pm and 9pm to join in the fun. Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, www.moevenpick-hotels.com (04 449 8888; Maureen.pamanano@moevenpick.com).

December 9
Gorge on some Stollen, the traditional German Christmas cake at Mall of the Emirates. Throughout the day, the Kempinski Hotel will be holding its annual Stollen Charity Cake Sale, where the main attraction will be a giant 480-metre stollen. The fun starts at 10am, with bell ringing, face painting for the kids, and an appearance by Santa and mall mascot Miss Frost.
Dhs5 per slice, Dhs100 for full loaf. Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, www.kempinski.com/dubai

December 10
Bake up a storm at Hey Sugar at Park Island Marina, with their latest concept, Mix Batter and Bake. In the 10am-noon morning session, kids will don a chef’s hat, and bake and decorate gingerbread cookies in Christmassy shapes (Dhs100 per child). In the afternoon session from 3pm-5pm, it’s all about decorating gingerbread houses – for Dhs150 per child they’ll get a chefs hat, a plain gingerbread house, and as much sweets and icing as they need.

We’ve long been huge fans of the Generation Creation brunches at Mazina in the Address Dubai Marina, so their December plans are sure to be a big hit. This month, in keeping with the festive theme, it’s all about gingerbread houses, with kids and their parents battling away to create the best decorated house, with the chance to win some great goodies for all those involved. Oh, and the supervised kids’ area, not to mention the slap-up buffet, are pretty darn fantastic too.
Dhs195 per person. 12.30pm-3.30pm. The Address Dubai Marina, www.theaddress.com (04 888 3828).

This afternoon (4-7pm), the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach is holding what they’re promising to be the ultimate kids’ Christmas party. With a buffet, bouncy castle, fun activities, and entertainment from Mr Magician and Mrs Camel and Baby Camel, and Santa will also be making an appearance with plenty of surprises for the little ones.
Dhs100 per child. Gazebo, Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort, www.sheratonjumeirahbeach.com (04 399 5533).

Also pop down to Dubai English Speaking School’s annual Christmas Fayre, which is being held today between 3pm and 6pm. There’s plenty of fun for all, with festive games and plenty of Christmassy prizes up for grabs. Plus, if you’re a crafter who’d like to sell your festive wares and book at table at the event, contact Kym at kaimcg@hotmail.co.uk.

Time Out Dubai,

Add your review/feedback