Visit Santa at Wafi
To avoid a long wait to see Santa, we’d advise heading down early, as soon as he opens for visitors, when the queues aren’t usually as bad. It’s a great-value place to see the man in red: not only do the nippers get to chat to Santa, they also get a gift, you get a photo of the occasion, and there are vouchers for free coffees or hot chocolates afterwards (you’ll need them if you were late to get in line). Yes, there’s a reason why this is possibly the most popular Santa’s grotto in town.
Dhs50 per person. Open Sat-Thu 10am-10pm. Until December 24. Wafi City, Oud Metha (04 324 4555).
Head to the Christmas Festival
Get into the festive spirit with the Christmas Festival at Dubai Media City. There are heaps of fun Christmassy things to do, including seasonal food to sample, a Christmas cookery school, a night market and Santa’s grotto. It’s the perfect way to wind down at the end of the week and enjoy some festive cheer.
Dhs30-40 (adults), Dhs20-30 (children), free for kids under two. Daily 3pm-11pm. Until December 8. Dubai Media City, www.dubaichristmasfestival.com (no number).
Watch Santa Claus and the Christmas Adventure at Ductac
If you’re looking for some ho-ho-ho-holiday fun, don’t miss this cracking stage show at Ductac’s Centrepoint Theatre. The fun begins on Christmas Eve with the sleighall loaded and ready to go. But then disaster strikes. The Santa-nav goes wrong, Rudolph has disappeared and the elves are all misbehaving. Will Santa get the presents delivered on time? Don’t miss this seasonal drama that’s perfect for kids.
Dhs85-135 per person. Daily 4pm and 6.30pm. Until December 8. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, www.ductac.org (04 341 4777).
Visit the Mother, Baby and Child Show
Head to Dubai World Trade Centre and catch Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants live on stage, as well as heaps of other attractions that will entertain parents and children alike. As the premier parenting trade show in the GCC, you’ll discover a raft of new products, toys and parenting aids, as well as lots of entertainment on offer for the little ones, and a supervised crèche so the kids can make new friends and be taken care of while you take a peaceful stroll around the exhibition. There are plenty of bargains to be had on day three too.
Dhs25 (adults), Dhs10 (children), 10am-6pm. Until December 8. Dubai World Trade Centre, www.motherbabyandchild.com (04 340 5601).
Festive fun and carols at The Irish Village
Head to the Irish Village for lots of good old-fashioned festive cheer. Complimentary mince pies and hot drinks go perfectly with the sounds of the St Mary’s choir, who will sing a variety of well-loved traditional carols. And of course, the tree will light up at 8pm to lots of ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaaaahs’.
Free. From 6.30pm; tree lighting at 8pm. The Irish Village, Garhoud, www.irishvillage.ae (04 282 4750).
Seasonal cooking classes at Asado
Mums and dads can hone their festive culinary skills by taking part in the cooking classes at Asado at The Palace: learn how to bake seasonal pastries, ‘Christmas morning muffins’ and Büche de Nöel. Perfect for kitchen novices – and those who want to brush up on their baking before Christmas.
Dhs295 per person. 11.30am-2pm. The Palace, The Old Town, Downtown Dubai, www.theaddress.com/en/hotel/the-palace-downtown-dubai (04 428 7806).
Feeding time at Dubai Aquarium
Pop along to The Dubai Mall’s Underwater Zoo and witness all sorts of gourmet shenanigans as these sub-aqua residents enjoy their meals. The feeding time presentations happen every two hours, from 10am to 10pm, and provide the perfect opportunity to teach little ones a bit of marine biology. The shark feeding time is a big favourite and happens every day at 4pm. You can also take a trip on the glass-bottomed boat and feed the fish yourself.
Dhs50-100 per person. Open daily 10am-10pm. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.thedubaiaquarium.com (04 448 5200).
Watch the tree-lighting ceremony and sing carols in The Greens
You can catch some carols and a tree lighting ceremony at Time Oak Hotel & Suites’ Vanilla Café in The Greens, 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.
Free. 4pm-6pm. Vanilla Café, Time Oak Hotel & Suites, The Greens, www.timehotels.ae/TIME-Hotels/TIME-Oak-Hotel-Suites (04 437 7888).