Come Christmas, come the inevitable onslaught of Christmas parties. But what to do and where to go? Choosing a venue, an activity or a theme can be surprisingly difficult in a city seemingly so full of options. So rather than just take the easy option and organise a brunch (boring!), why not try one (or all) of our five alternative party ideas to make this year’s festivities all the more memorable.
Social-sports network Duplays offers a variety of events that can be tailored for groups from 15 to hundreds of people. Aside from favourites such as football, basketball and cricket, there are beach games (held at destinations such as Nasimi and Barasti), which include volleyball, dodgeball, flip-cup and tug of war. The cost of the packages varies depending on the activity and the number of people taking part. Duplays also takes care of all the admin (referees, fixtures, equipment, even medals, post-match dinners and events at venues such as McGettigans), which means all you need do is muster some healthy competition among your colleagues and/or chums.
Call or email for more details on pricing. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.duplays.com (04 447 2394, 055 224 0187).
Hit the water
There’s something about being on a boat that screams: ‘I am having an unbelievable amount of fun! And I just can’t help waving at everyone on shore!’ A boat lends itself wonderfully to social occasions and, this being Dubai, there are plenty of options. Xclusive Yachts has plenty of boats in its fleet, including a 56ft yacht that can accommodate 16 people (Dhs4,500 per hour) and a 90ft monster that can accommodate 65 people (Dhs16,000 per hour). To get the party going, you’ll just need to add a few nibbles, some drinks and a festive party playlist on your iPod as the yacht cruises the Dubai coastline. However, for comedy value, we’d recommend checking out the Gu Gu catamaran, which looks as bizarre as its name sounds – a huge Hawaiian-themed platform, perfect for up to 90 party people (Dhs5,000 per hour; soft drinks included). Dig out that Hawaiian grass skirt, hang a lei garland round your neck and Bob’s your uncle.
Xclusive Yachts, www.xclusiveyachts.com (04 432 7233). For Gu Gu, call Ultimate Charter (04 346 4194).
Catching a bus might not be everyone’s idea of a good time – unless it’s The Double Decker Bus, which ferries rowdy groups from bar to bar (or wherever you feel like celebrating) across the city. Of course,
there’s plenty of fun to be had on the bus itself – there’s a lounge area, a juice bar and sound system to ensure that even the Sheikh Zayed Road traffic doesn’t dull your joie de vivre. Interestingly, Double Decker also organises themed parties and provides old-school LED dancefloors for private hire. Nice.
The Double Decker Bus costs Dhs800 per hour. email@example.com (050 650 3306).
Murder most horrid
We’re not suggesting you celebrate Christmas by committing a despicable crime – instead, attend one of Magnolia’s wonderfully detailed murder mystery parties. Using professional actors to keep the mystery ticking along, the company provides storylines with varying degrees of crowd participation for groups, from 15 people up to 400 wannabe Poirots. The result is a magnificent blend of theatre and entertainment, with guest participation (from interrogating the suspects to being bumped off) guaranteeing a memorable evening. Though Magnolia can organise private events, it specialises in corporate events and office parties where the venue and catering are already taken care of.
Magnolia Murder Mystery parties start at Dhs10,000 depending on package, venue and number of people. www.magnoliadubai.com, firstname.lastname@example.org (050 553 8048).
Event planning gurus Dubai Party Queens offer alternative Christmas parties for corporate or private groups looking for something different this festive season. DPQ sends out five different sets of invites to the party guests, each with a different theme (for example, Santa and Elves, Tinsel Masquerade Ball, Christmas Olympics, Frosty’s Toga Toga, Ghostly Halloween), meaning the party takes a varied (not to mention surreal) look when everyone arrives dressed in a different themed costume. The DPQ package also offers snacks and canapés for 15 people including paper plates, napkins and cutlery, two waiters working for four hours each, two cocktail tables with coverings, one two-hour Christmas playlist, decorations and games, and soft drinks. The company can organise a venue at extra cost, although most of their events take place in private homes or offices.
Dubai Party Queen Christmas Package Dhs5,000 for 15 people. email@example.com (050 143 9139).
Christmas party etiquette
Team Time Out shares the dos and don’ts of Christmas party etiquette.
• Make sure your friend or colleague is actually pregnant before asking about her baby’s due date.
• Double-check the invite to ensure there’s a fancy-dress theme before you turn up in an elf costume.
• Put some effort into your secret Santa gift. A last-minute dash to the convenience store to buy roll-on deodorant and a chocolate bar won’t impress anyone (least of all your manager).
• Harangue your boss about how rubbish your job is and how much you hate your company. Your ‘constructive criticism’ won’t go down so well come Sunday morning.
• Wander round clutching mistletoe for the entire evening.
• Drink too much, only to start crying when Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ is played.