Visit Santa at Wafi
Want to meet Father Christmas? We’d advise you to arrive early, when the queues aren’t usually so bad. Wafi is one of the best-value destinations in town to meet the man in red: not only do kids get to chat to Santa, they also receive a gift and a photo of the occasion, and there are vouchers for free coffee or hot chocolate afterwards.
Dhs55 per person. Open Sat-Thu 10am-10pm. Until December 24. Wafi, Oud Metha, www.wafi.com (04 324 4555).
Fill your boots with festive nosh at THE One
Head to THE One in Jumeirah to enjoy a two- to three-course festive feast at the well regarded deli café. Tuck into roast turkey with all the trimmings, and choose from a selection of tasty Christmas desserts too. Dhs79-96 per person. Open daily 9am-10pm. Until December 31. THE One, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 345 6687).
Visit Santa at Ski Dubai
Santa will be in residence at his grotto in Ski Dubai from now until Christmas Day. Located in the Snow Park, kids can meet the man in red to share their festive wish list and take pictures in the grotto.
Dhs130 (adults); Dhs120 (kids aged 11 and under). Open daily 5pm-10pm. Until December 25. Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, www.skidxb.com (800 386).
Caboodle Pamper and Play
This play centre is 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 storytelling 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 are also new additions to the café menu, including cocoa, hot chocolate, gingerbread, smores and the ‘Elf Experience’, where for Dhs25, kids can enjoy a cocoa or ‘babycino’ with a mini cupcake and a special elf story.
From Dhs50 per child. Sun-Wed 9am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-11pm. Until December 26. The Dubai Mall, www.caboodle.ae (04 325 3367).
Decorate gingerbread at Al Manzil Hotel
Bring out the kids’ creativity with some gingerbread house decorating at Al Manzil Hotel. There will also be snacks and juices laid on, and Santa is rumoured to be making an appearance.
Dhs95 per child. 2pm, 4pm. Al Manzil Hotel, Downtown Dubai, firstname.lastname@example.org (04 428 5926).
Check out the Elves’ Tea Party at The Palace
Watch the kids get stuck into some seriously festive activities and Christmas nosh. There’ll also be a tree lighting ceremony in The Palace Downtown’s ballroom, and a very busy Santa will be there to meet and greet the kids. Tickets must be bought in advance.
Dhs150 per person; free for children under six. 3pm-6pm. The Palace, The Old Town, Downtown Dubai, email@example.com (04 428 7806).
Head to the movies for a festive flick
Stock up on popcorn and head to the cinema to catch new movie Santa’s Magical Crystal. Once a year, thanks to the power of his magical crystal, Santa multiplies into millions of himself and leaves his high-tech HQ in the Arctic Circle to deliver presents to the world’s children. But not everyone likes Santa. In fact, his evil twin brother Basil is jealous of his brother’s popularity. Basil steals the magical crystal and mayhem ensues: only a young orphan boy called Yotan is able to save Christmas.
At all major cinemas.
Hug a penguin at Ski Dubai
It’s that time of year when you really want to feel frosty and festive, so head to Ski Dubai and give the penguins a cuddle. If your kids have been following the antics of Abe and Sara, the festive penguins who have been visiting Dubai, this will be the ultimate treat. As part of the regular package, they get an underwater viewing, an up-close-and-personal encounter with at least two penguins, and the option of a commemorative photo of the event. Children aged three to 12 must be accompanied by an adult. the price includes coat and glove hire.
Dhs175 per person. Open daily noon-9pm. Ongoing. Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, www.skidxb.com (04 409 4090).
Chow down on turkey at The Irish Village
If you can’t wait until December 25 for your Christmas dinner, The Irish Village is serving a traditional festive menu, complete with roast turkey, Christmas pudding and cakes, served at lunch and dinner. There’s also a separate kids’ menu.
Dhs85 per person. Daily noon-11pm. Until December 25. The Irish Village, Garhoud, www.irishvillage.ae (04 282 4750).