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Best Christmas family fun in Dubai

Family-friendly festivities in Dubai during December

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December 1

Start as you mean to go on with a two- or three-course Christmas feast at The One Deli in Jumeirah. Priced from Dhs79 to Dhs96, it includes a glass of kid-friendly mulled punch, and a coffee on the house.
Call 04 345 6687 for more details.

Check out the festive playroom at Raffles in Wafi. Running until December 24, kids can paint their own baubles for the tree at home (or hang them on the Raffles tree).
Call 04 324 8888 for info.

December 2

Happy National Day! There’s activities to celebrate the UAE’s 41st anniversary across town, check out www.dubaicalendar.ae.

Leading up to Christmas, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays at 19 in the Montgomerie are dedicated to chocolate. Priced at Dhs299 per person, grown ups can join their workshops with Chef de Cuisine, David Attwater, to put their culinary skills to the test in time for dinner on December 25.
Call 04 390 5600 or email montgomerie@theaddress.com.

December 3

Check out Little Explorers’ Sweet Snow workshops, which are running from today until the end of December. Kids can find out all about snow, play some snow-centric activities and even build a snowman! They’ll also be able to decorate some of their very own snowman cookies. Workshops run throughout the day and are priced at Dhs100 for 90 minutes. Little Explorers also has a drop and shop facilities for kids aged three to seven, priced at Dhs120.
Visit www.theplaymania.com or call 800-FUN for more information.

December 5

The Movenpick JBR is fast becoming one of Dubai’s favourite family venues to celebrate Christmas. Today sees the opening of their annual Christmas Market in the Falls Lobby Lounge, which has been transformed into a winter wonderland, and has plenty of festive fare from the likes of Germany and Switzerland to try.
Open until December 31, for more information, call 04 449 8888 or email hotel.jumeirahbeach@moevenpick.com.

Meet Santa at the Zebra Crossing Christmas bash from 4pm to 6pm today. For Dhs75, kids can join in songs, decorate a gingerbread house, and get a special gift from the man in red. Also on December 12 and 19.
Call 050 559 4903 to reserve a place.

December 6

Time for over-eating those mince pies! Start as you mean to go on with a Christmas-themed afternoon tea at The Palace Downtown Dubai, which runs from today until Christmas Day in Al Bayt Lounge. The spread includes traditional stollen, mince pies, fruit cakes and Christmas cookies, and costs Dhs120 per adult.
Call 04 428 7806 or email dine@thepalace-dubai.com for more information.

There’s not one, but three tree-lighting ceremonies taking place across Dubai tonight, so there’s no excuse not to get into the festive spirit, whichever end of town you live. A must visit on the annual Christmas calendar, the Crowne Plaza Sheikh Zayed Road will be lighting its tree with carol singing, festive treats and an early visit from Santa. Taking place from 5.30pm onwards. For more information, call 04 331 1111. In Bur Dubai, the Movenpick Hotel & Apartments will be flipping the switch for the festive season from 6.30pm, with entertainment including seasonal songs from the Jumeirah Music Centre’s choir, festive drinks and tasty treats.
Call 04 336 6000 or email hotel.burdubai@moevenpick.com. Finally, on JBR, the hotel choir at the Movenpick will be performing carols, and there’ll be seasonal sweets for all between 7pm and 9pm.

For an alternative festive celebration, head to Ping Pong’s Christmas party, which takes place today from 8pm to midnight at this dim sum restaurant in Dubai Mall. Tickets are priced at Dhs108 per adult, and can be bought in advance from the venue. Expect music, mocktails, non-stop dim sum, games and presents, plus an appearance from Santa.
Call 04 339 9088 for more information or bookings.

December 7

Try some last-minute shopping at the Time Oak Hotel & Suites’ annual Christmas Bazaar, which takes place today and tomorrow in the hotel’s gardens. With home grown crafts and artists showing their wares, stalls are also available to rent for Dhs250 per day.
For more information, call 055 556 1107 or email amina.ali@timehotels.ae.

You can also pick up some Christmas goodies at Crowne Plaza Sheikh Zayed Road’s gingerbread house of delights at Cappucino’s – which has all manner of tasty treats on offer, from cookies to Christmas pudding.
And if you’re in the mood for shopping, don’t miss the annual JESS Jumeira Night Market, which will be taking place between 3pm and 8pm. As well as the chance to pick up some bargains, there’ll also be Irish dancing, live music, kids’ activities and much more.

December 8

Take the kids to a gingerbread house decorating classes at the Ritz-Carlton on JBR. Priced at Dhs225 per child and held every Saturday from 2pm to 4pm throughout December, kids will be able to eat their creations along with hot chocolate, sandwiches and plenty of sweet treats.
Call 04 318 6150 or e-mail dine.dubai@ritzcarlton.com for bookings.

The Montgomerie’s Carnival on the Lawn is promising to be a fantastically festive day out for the entire family. With shawarmas and soft drinks in the sunshine, there’s plenty of fun and games laid on from kids, plus a visit from Santa. Taking place from 3pm to 6pm, it’s priced at Dhs110 per child and Dhs50 per adult.
Call 04 390 5600 or email montgomerie@theaddress.com for more information.

This evening, there’s also two Christmas tree lighting ceremonies to choose from. The Ritz-Carlton on JBR is celebrating the occasion with a festive afternoon tea in the lobby lounge from 5pm to 6pm. Priced from Dhs62 per person, you’ll be serenaded with Christmassy jingles by the resident harpist and the Jumeirah Music Centre’s children’s choir. Call 04 318 6150 or e-mail dine.dubai@ritzcarlton.com for more information. The Irish Village will also be staging their annual celebrations between 7pm and 9pm, with a choir, carols, and home-baked mince pies.
For more information, contact 04 2824750 or go to www.irishvillage.ae.

December 9

Mums and dads wanting to hone their festive culinary skills can try out a Christmas cooking class at Asado in The Palace Downtown Dubai. Taking place today between 11.30am and 2pm, you’ll learn to prepare, decorate and garnish some seasonal favourites, including pastries, Buche de Noel and festive morning muffins.
Priced at Dhs295 per person, to reserve a place, call 04 428 7806 or email dine@thepalace-dubai.com.

December 10

Check out the Tree of Hope in the Grand Lobby of Atlantis the Palm. The hotel is asking guests to make a donation, with all proceeds going towards the Al Noor Training Centre.

December 11

Book your traditional Christmas cake at the Sweet Shop in Bur Dubai’s Movenpick Hotel & Apartments. On sale from today until December 31, the ingredients have been soaked for three months in advance, and it’s presented in a gorgeous Japanese Furoshiki box, so is a great gift, too.
Cakes are priced at Dhs176 for one kilo, and must be ordered 24 hours in advance, call 04 336 6000 or through the website, www.moevenpick-hotels.com/dubai-bur.

You can also catch some carols and a tree lighting at Time Oak Hotel & Suites’ Vanilla Café, where the American School of Dubai will be entertaining guests with festive songs from 4pm to 6pm. There’ll also be the chance for kids to meet Santa Claus, while refreshments will be served by his little helpers.
Call 04 437 7888 or email fb.oak@timehotels.ae for bookings or more information.

December 12

Ski Dubai is celebrating the 12 remaining days in the lead up to Christmas with special games each day in the Snow Park, including snow man competitions, snow angels, a Christmas present hunt and a wreath throw. Activities will be happening daily, and entry will be priced at the same as general admission to the Snow Park, Dhs130 (adults), Dhs120 (children under 12).
For more information, visit www.skidxb.com or call 800-FUN.

December 13

The Madinat Jumeirah will be transforming the amphitheatre into a festive market from today until Boxing Day. With the entire venue bedecked in fake snow, Santa will be in residence for family photo opportunities, there’s festive F&B and plenty of trinkets and stocking fillers to spend those dirhams on before Christmas Day.
For more information, call 04 366 6546.

Caboodle Pamper and Play is also launching its ‘12 Days Before Christmas’ calendar of events in the run up to Christmas Day. As well as special activities, there’ll be daily festive movies at 1pm and 8pm, and Christmas story telling at 4pm each day. Christmas activities are priced at the usual rate of Dhs50 for the first hour for kids using the play facilities, or one-on-one drop and shop for Dhs85 per hour for kids aged two and up. There’ll also be new additions to the café menu, including cocoa, hot chocolate, gingerbread, smores and the ‘Elf Experience’, where kids can enjoy a cocoa or babycino with a mini cupcake and a special elf story for Dhs25.
For more information, go to www.caboodle.ae.

And if you can’t wait until December 25 for your Christmas dinner, from today, The Irish Village will be serving its traditional festive menu, complete with roast turkey, Christmas pud and cakes. It’s priced at Dhs85, and is served at lunch and dinner.
For more information, contact 04 2824750 or go to www.irishvillage.ae.

December 14

Santa will be in residence at his grotto in Ski Dubai from today until December 25. Located in the Snow Park, kids can meet Father Christmas between 5pm to 10pm on weekdays and between 10am and 10pm on weekends, to share wish lists and take pictures in the grotto. General Snow Park access costs Dhs120 for kids under 12 and Dhs130 for adults.
For more information visit www.skidxb.com or call 800-FUN.

Or why not head to Kidz Venture at Ibn Battuta Mall. In the 12 days until December 25, they’ll have a host of Christmas-themed events, including arts and crafts, plus caroles and jingles.
Call 04 361 9315 for info.

December 15

Bring out the kids’ creative sides with some gingerbread house decorating at Al Manzil Hotel in Downtown. Taking place today between 2pm and 4pm, there’ll also be snacks and juices laid on and Santa is rumoured to be making an appearance, too.
Tickets cost Dhs95 per child, call 04 4285926 or email restaurants@almanzilhotel.ae for more information.

There’ll also be an Elves Tea Party and tree lighting ceremony between 3pm and 6pm today at The Palace Downtown’s ballroom. Priced at Dhs150 per person, children under six are free, and a very busy Santa will also be there to meet and greet the kids.
Tickets must be bought in advance, call 04 428 7806 or email dine@thepalace-dubai.com.

For a more refined Christmas, especially if granny and gramps are in town, try the festive afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton, which launches today, and will be running until Christmas Eve. Priced from Dhs150 per person, there’ll be the usual scones and mini sandwiches, plus a harpist between 2pm and 6pm, and carols from 6pm to 7pm every evening.
For more information, call 04 318 6150 or e-mail dine.dubai@ritzcarlton.com.

Time Out Dubai,

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