9 Dubai Christmas traditions we secretly still love in 2018

Whether it's brunches, deals or mall sales, we can't wait for winter

1. Takeaway turkeys

Trust us – hotel kitchen takeaways are going to change the way you think about festive dining forever. Have a 7kg bird basted, stuffed, roasted and sent to your door with a batch of spuds and three litres of gravy and you get hotel standards without leaving your house. Giving you more time to work on your gift-receiving face.

2. Feeling cold

Looking out of your bedroom window in Dubai on Christmas morning and seeing a fresh blanket of snow isn’t going to happen. But Christmas should be cold. It’s one of the rules. Set your air-conditioning to Arctic and line the whole household up with new winter onesies for a freezing photograph and try to forget it’s warm enough for shorts and T-shirts on the other side of the window.

3. Secret Santa

Everybody in the office picks a random name and must buy a secret gift for a colleague. Has any custom ever been more fraught with potential for career-defining mishap, misfortune or unsuitability? Only one person can pick the boss’ name and rejoice if it’s not you. If it is, remember, “light-hearted jokes” will not be understood, banter is not funny and gift-giving is not a platform for passive-aggressive office politics. Play it safe and buy Tupperware.

4. Festive jumpers

It has become fashionable in the past few years to wear “novelty” seasonal knitwear. 3D antlers coming out of your chest, flashing lights on bobble hats and Santa jumpers with really fluffy beards are now wardrobe staples. Nobody needs to know you were wearing the exact same jumpers before they became “fashionable” and that you sometimes wear them at points throughout the year because you think they look good.

5. Social media updates

We resisted the urge for bulk well-wishing for years. Handwritten cards and personalised season’s greetings were far more important than anything else, we argued. But a well-timed opening-presents picture on Instagram at around 8am, a lunchtime Facebook post, a few afternoon Tweets and an evening group WhatsApp hits all the right notes and could well break your “like” record. And isn’t that what Christmas is really about?

6. Last-minute shopping

There is a certain kind of person who buys all their wrapping paper, cards, decorations and half of the gifts they need, in January. We’re not sure we could ever truly be friends with those people. Surely the fun is waking up on December 24 in a blind panic at the sheer number of gifts you need to purchase in less than 24 hours.

7. Crafts

Deluxe Christmas decorations and folk art wall hangings are big business now. Check the malls for boughs of holly, not to mention some gorgeous seasonal trinkets. But never mind the baubles, because this is the season to get the scissors and glue out and make your own decorations. Roughly cut snowflakes, asymmetrical crepe paper chains and wonky snowman figurines made from cotton wool will score low on style, but high on charm, so save money and get creative.

8. Music takeover

Every novelty song, schmaltzy ballad and party anthem to ever put a reindeer on its cover art is going to be played in your office on repeat for a full month. Half the team will delight in this and sing merrily along, while the other half will claim to want to hear the latest underground dance music instead. But secretly, they all want to hear Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas album as much as everyone else…

9. Annual gatherings

For many expats, this is the one time of the year whole families get together. Realise how much you miss granny and her extreme views, mum and dad’s stories about how great your siblings are doing and the rest of the trimmings that come with a family dinner. Get through it all with a smile on your face because you love them all and probably won’t be together again until cousin Sandra’s wedding in August.


Get the latest Dubai Christmas news

More from Christmas

Where to shop for gifts and scoff festive treats across the city

Celebrate the festive season with a mince pie and some mulled grape at these events

What to watch in the lead up to the most wonderful time of the year

Keep the celebrations going on past December 25 with these brilliant events across the city

The best places to celebrate the festive season across the city

The enchanting winter wonderland will feature holiday carols and a visit from Santa every day

Newsletters

Follow us