With just weeks to go until Christmas Day, the time is already ticking down for you to buy lots of gifts for friends and family.
Why not check out some of Dubai’s fabulously festive markets this year – and treat yourself while picking up some presents.
Many are offering visits from Santa to keep the kids happy and generally feature Christmas treats throughout the day.
It's time to get in the Christmas mood...
Dubai Festival City Mall Festive Market
Who said Santa used a sleigh with reindeer? We’ve got word that the man in the big red suit and his elves will be flying into Dubai Festival City Mall on Thursday December 6 via helicopter, and he’s coming to celebrate Christmas at the mall’s huge Festive Market. Taking place until Christmas Day from 3pm onwards, Festival Bay will have a “larger-than-life” Christmas tree, holiday carolling, festive-themed IMAGINE shows and even the first snowfall to be seen in Dubai this year. Expect plenty of food stalls to get your holiday grub from, too.
Free. Thu Dec 6-Tue Dec 25. Santa visits: Sun-Thu 3pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 4pm-11pm. Festive market: Daily, 5.30pm onwards. Festival Bay, Dubai Festival City Mall www.dubaifestivalcitymall.com.
Family Christmas fair
Head to Fairmont The Palm’s Falcons Kids’ Club where youngsters (and you) can meet Santa (who is clearly some kind of influencer), decorate gingerbread houses and have fun creating special festive memories.
Dhs280 (kids aged three-15). Sat Dec, 22 2pm-4pm. Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 3331).
The hotel is hosting a festive market from Tuesday December 4 to Friday December 21, and it’ll be brimming with dazzling decorations. The enchanting winter wonderland will feature holiday carols inside Habtoor Palace’s beautiful Versailles Garden, with fun rides for kids and plenty of festive foodie treats. It runs daily from 3pm until midnight, and Santa himself will be coming along each evening at 6pm. Then at 7pm until 11pm, there will be a live band. On the first night of the market, Habtoor Palace will also be lighting its Christmas tree, complete with snowfalls and carol singing from the Emirates International School Kids Choir.
Free. Tue Dec 4-Fri Dec 21, 3pm-midnight. Habtoor Palace, Al Habtoor City (04 275 1542).
Visit La Farine’s festive market for seasonal cakes, hot chocolate, strawberry fondue, homemade waffles, and gift hampers to take home. We do love a party bag.
Free. Dec 4-26, 10am-10pm. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay (04 414 3000).
Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate’s Friday brunch
Not only will the Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate be having a special Christmas Friday brunch, but it’s merging a Christmas market with it, too. Taking place every Friday until the end of December from Dhs340, expect a family-friendly brunch with a buffet spread of traditional Christmas delights including stuffed turkey, minced pies and mulled grape, along with live cooking stations and special festive drinks. Once you’ve satisfied your appetite, take a stroll along the bazaar for handcrafted trinkets while a Christmas choir fills the room with festive tunes. As for the little ones, the hotel’s Little Birds Club will have face painting, cinema screening and a bouncy castle.
Christmas market: Free entry. Brunch: From Dhs340. Until Fri Dec 28. Every Fri, 12.30pm-4pm. Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate (04 444 5613).
Raffles Garden has been transformed into a festive market with a delightful children’s choir, a selection of gift stalls and fun activities. We can’t wait for some gingerbread at this fun afternoon.
Free. Friday Dec 7, 1pm-6pm. Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha (04 324 8888).
Reform Social & Grill
Be quick to visit this one, it’s on for one day only. Shop for gifts, watch tricks by a magician and let children write letters to Santa before meeting the rotund one himself – if you haven’t already…
Free. Dec 1, noon-6pm. The Lakes Club, Emirates Hills (04 454 2638).
Looking for a massive market to satisfy your festive shopping appetite? Head to Souk Madinat Jumeirah for a traditional German market including food stalls as well as abras through the Madinat waterways steered by Santa and his elves. There is also a snow zone for children, a gingerbread house making station and a play area. That’s not to mention the huge Christmas tree, which will be decorated and lit up bringing a festive feel to the whole of Madinat Jumeirah.
Free. Thu Dec 20-Fri Dec 28, noon-late. Sun 23 and Wed 26, 3pm-late. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, wwwjumeirah.com.