Tis the season to be jolly – and we’ve found something to keep the kids entertained for the whole festive season!
Meet Santa Claus
Kick off the season with a visit to Santa’s Secret Grotto at WAFI. Kids will be captivated from the moment they enter the mall, with a giant 40-foot tree in the main atrium and glittering decorations as far as the eye can see – and it’ll get even better when they make their way upstairs!
Based on the first floor next to the café court, the grotto operates a queuing system rather than booked slots, but they definitely won’t be bored. As they wait their turn, kids will be entertained by stilted elves, a series of animatronics, and a video section playing festive movies on large screens.
And once you reach the big man himself, your child will have a photograph taken and be handed a bundle of gifts, including a cuddly ragdoll and raffle coupon that gives you the chance to win a luxury family holiday.
Where? First Floor, WAFI Mall. www.wafi.com
When? 1st December to 24th December, 10am-10pm (Sat-Thurs), 10am-11pm (Friday).
How much? Dhs60 per child How to book? No booking required
Decorate Gingerbread Houses
Continue the festivities in the opulent surroundings of Ritz-Carlton Dubai, based on JBR Walk. The hotel will be hosting the last of three Gingerbread House Decorating Classes in the Library Bar this afternoon, accompanied by yummy Afternoon Tea to keep rumbling tummies happy as kids get creative.
The two-hour class will encourage them to discover their artistic talents alongside the hotel’s pastry chefs as they learn how to craft and decorate their gingerbread house – and at the end of the session, they can take home their handiwork to enjoy with their family over the festive season.
Where? Library Bar, Ritz-Carlton Dubai, JBR Walk. www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Dubai
When? Saturday 7th, 14th, and 21st December, 2pm-4pm.
How much? Dhs225 per child, including Afternoon Tea
How to book? Call 04 399 4000 or email email@example.com
Design and make decorations
Keep the brood entertained this morning by heading to The Archive in Safa Park to take part in the first of two Christmas ARTventures workshops taken by resident craft teacher Saima.
The class will teach crafty kids between the age of 6 and 12 years old how to make their own Christmas tree and decorations using dried branches and recycled materials.
Kids can take home their tree decorated in pom-poms, snowflakes and stars at the end of the two-hour workshop, adding festive sparkle to their apartment or villa,
Where? The Archive, Safa Park (enter through Gate 5)
When? Sunday 22nd and Monday 23rd December, 10am-12pm.
How much? Dhs100 per child
How to book? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch Beauty & The Beast
Madinat Theatre’s annual festive show promises to enthrall youngsters and entertain adults every December – and this year, we are being treated to a specially created version of the family classic Beauty & The Beast.
Whether your kids already know the fairytale of Belle and her beloved beast or the story is new to them, they will be gripped by the magical stage performance by an international cast of professionals and local talent. And with performances every day between 20th and 31st December (except on the 25th), there is plenty of opportunity to fit the show into your busy festive schedule.
Where? Madinat Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah.
When? Fri 20th Dec, 7pm; Sat 21st, 11am and 3pm; Sun 22nd, 11am and 3pm; Mon 23rd, 11am and 3pm; Tues 24th 11am and 3pm; Thurs 26th, 3pm and 7pm; Fri 27th, 3pm and 7pm; Sat 28th, 3pm and 7pm; Sun 29th, 11am and 3pm; Mon 30th, 11am and 3pm; Tues 31st, 3pm.
How much? Dhs250-350
How to book? www.madinattheatre.com
Post a letter to Santa
With the big day just one sleep away, today is your last chance to visit Fun City outlets across Dubai and post letters to the North Pole through the special Santa’s Mail Boxes. Not only will the act of writing letters keep little imaginations alive, but participants will also have the chance to win a prize when Santa opens the boxes at midnight tonight and selects one letter as a winner.
While you are there, why not let the kids burn off some of that excitement with a play session? Fun City outlets will be decked out with festive decorations – and if you are very lucky, you may even run into Santa Claus himself.
Where? Fun City Arabian Center (04 284 5679), Ibn Battuta (04 366 9819), Lamcy Plaza (04 335 2700), Mercato Mall (04 349 9976), Oasis Centre (04 339 7782), Reef Mall (04 222 2405) and Century Mall (04 239 8634). www.funcity.ae
When? 1st-24th December, 10am-10pm (weekdays), 10am-12midnight (weekends).
How much? Dhs30 per hour (for under 4’s), Dhs40 per hour (for over 4’s)
How to book? No booking necessary
Celebrate in style
When the bells ring out for Christmas Day, there are few more traditional ways to celebrate than by booking a table at the Raffles Roast “Christmas Day Edition”. Take your pick from the grand interior of the Raffles Ballroom or tables outside on the terrace, accompanied by a gentle breeze and backdrop of the botanical gardens.
The ‘winter wonderland’ décor will feature life size igloos and a giant gingerbread house, whilst a kid’s area will keep little diners entertained while their parents dine.
Raffles chefs will conjure up surprises that combine traditional cuisine with festive flavours that promise to dazzle taste buds - and if that wasn’t enough already, Santa will be making a personal appearance to ensure it’s a day your brood will always remember.
Where? Raffles Hotel, Sheikh Zayad Road, Wafi, Dubai. www.raffles.com/dubai/
When? Wed 25th December, 12.30-4.00pm
How much? Dhs545 (inclusive of house beverages), Dhs375 (for non-alcoholic package and teens between 13 and 20 years), Dhs190 (for kids under 12). Two children between 0-6 years old dine for free per couple.
How to book? 04 324 8888
Indulge in a festive afternoon tea
Escape the turkey leftovers and bags of screwed-up wrapping paper with a relaxing trip to Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on Palm Jumeirah to indulge in their Festive Afternoon Tea. Available throughout December in the Sultains Lounge, you can expect your surroundings and table décor to be suitably festive as you tuck into a generous serving of seasonal flavours that kids and adults will equally enjoy.
The menu boasts sweet treats including Ginger Cranberry Scones with Cinnamon Cream and Strawberry Jam and Mandarin Ganache Cones. Whilst those with a savoury tooth will enjoy the array of sandwiches including Smoked Barbary Duck Breast with Apple and Quince Chutney (on Rosemary Roll) and Vanilla Roasted Turkey Crown with Spiced Cranberry and Cinnamon Relish (on White Bread) – and that’s just a small taste of what is on offer.
Where? Sultan Lounge, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/dubai/jumeirah-zabeel-saray/
When? Throughout December, 2.30-6.30pm
How much? Dhs175 per person
How to book? 04 453 0000
Head to a Winter Wonderland
Keep the festive spirit alive with a visit to Madinat Jumeirah’s Souk Festive Market, which concludes its 10-day run today. Spread over 2,200 square metres at Mina A’Salam, the market will enthrall your brood with a winning combination of festive entertainment, winter wonderland décor, and tummy-pleasing refreshments.
Entertainment includes a giant snow globe, ice rink, Santa surfing area, reindeer rodeo, Santa’s grotto, and North Pole Train - and when you have worked up an appetite, you can stop under the Christmas tree to enjoy a tempting array of seasonal snacks including roasted chestnuts and gingerbread men.
Where? Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah. www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/dubai/madinat-jumeirah/
When? 17-27th December, 3pm-midnight (weekdays) and 1pm-midnight (weekends).
How much? Free to enter, attractions and food outlets charged individually.
How to book? No booking required
Heat to a festive play date
Feeling exhausted? Why not enjoy a little ‘me time’ today, while your brood is entertained at Play A Round, located in Dubai Marina? While you relax with a cup of organic coffee to the dulcet tones of jazz music in the café, staff will look after your kids for an hour to allow you to recharge batteries after the party season.
Your kids will be just as happy with the arrangement when they are presented with gingerbread craft activity sets to build and decorate. Staff will help them to assemble the walls, roof, and door of the house, before they decorate it with goodies including icing sugar and candies.
Where? Play A Round, The Jewels Tower 2, Dubai Marina.
When? Throughout December, 9.30am-7pm daily
How much? Dhs150 (includes gingerbread house, supervision, and play time)
How to book? 04 457 0455
Hit the piste
What could be more festive than a day throwing snowballs, drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, and listening to a traditional choir singing nostalgic songs?
If you haven’t visited Ski Dubai yet this December, today is the day to head over. Big kids can enjoy the slopes, whilst little ones can explore the snow park or visit the resident penguins. And when you’ve worked up an appetite, you can make your way to Avalanche Café at mid-station to warm up with steaming drinks and comforting snacks and admire the 20ft Christmas tree and festive lights.
Where? Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates. www.theplaymania.com/skidubai/
When? Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thurs 10am-midnight, Fri 9am-midnight, Sat 9am-11pm (Santa Claus will be at Ski Dubai between 13th and 25th December).
How much? Dhs300 (for adults) and Dhs275 (for kids) for Ski Slope Day Pass. Dhs140 (for adults) and Dhs130 (for kids) for Snow Park.
How to book? No booking required
Watch a traditional pantomime
Get ready to experience a traditional festive pantomime, as the all-time family favourite Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is showing at DUCTAC this December and is bursting with songs, dance routines, and plenty of audience participation.
With impressive scenery and eye-catching costumes, your kids will be glued to the stage as the Prince, Snow White, and Dwarfs tell a story filled with magic, mischief and fairy dust.
Where? Centrepoint Theatre, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates.
When? 20th, 23rd, 26th, 27th, and 30th Dec, 3.00pm and 7.00pm; 22nd, 24th, 28th, 29th, and 31st Dec, 11.00am and 3.00pm; 21st Dec, 11.00am (no show on 25th).
How much? Dhs130 per person
How to book? www.ductac.org
Party on New Year's Eve
Looking for a way for your kids to count down to 2014? Caboodle in Dubai Mall is hosting a New Year’s Workshop this afternoon and evening, giving sprogs the chance to celebrate New Year’s Eve with lots of fun and sparkle!
Lasting two hours (book your preferred time slot between 4pm and midnight), the workshop will include themed games in a group, free play, face painting, themed crafts with lots of glitter, and music and movement time.
The workshop is suitable for kids between the ages of 2 and 9 years old, and a nanny or parent needs to be present.
Where? Caboodle, Second Floor, Dubai Mall. www.caboodle.ae
When? 31st December, two hour slot between 4pm and midnight.
How much? Dhs90 per child (10% discount if booked a day ahead)
How to book? Call 04 325 3367
Welcome 2014 over brunch
What better way to welcome the New Year than by surrounding yourself with family and friends at a celebratory brunch? Mazina at The Address Dubai Marina holds one of our favourite family-friendly brunches in Dubai – and today it will be hosting a special New Year’s Day event that the whole family will enjoy.
Along with a lavish buffet of seasonal dishes and international classics to satisfy even the hungriest tummies, little diners will be kept entertained in the packed kid’s area, featuring Wii games, movies on a roll, face painting, and a bouncy castle. The brunch will also feature fun challenges.
Where? Mazina at The Address Dubai Marina. www.theaddress.com/en/hotel/dubai-marina
When? 1st January 2014, 12.30-3.30pm
How much? Dhs325 per person, including house beverages; Dhs195 per person including soft drinks.
How to book? Call 04 436 7777 or email email@example.com