Family deals this month

Great festive deals, Tree-lightings, Gingerbread house decorating and more stuff to enjoy during the month of December


Hearing enchanting, seasonal songs is one of the most special things about the holidays, especially when it is under the twinkling lights of a tree. Standing beside your friends and family, silently pinching yourself in disbelief that you’re surrounded by desert and dunes, singing about dashes through the snow and frosty snowmen. These are the tree-lightings and carol sessions you need to be munching mince pies at this month...

Emirates Golf Club
The annual tree-lighting will be held to the soundtrack of carol singers from Dubai Vocal Ensemble. Following the tree-lighting, there will also be a seasonal buffet and quiz night.
Dhs165 (adults, food only), Dhs345 (house beverages), Dhs75 (kids aged four and above). Mon Dec 19, from 7.30pm. Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills 2 (04 417 9999).

Fairmont The Palm
Rock around the Christmas tree at Fairmont The Palm, where there is a special performance by the children’s choir as part of the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. Santa will be putting in his first appearance in the traditionally festive lobby, too.
Free. Wed Dec 7, 5.30pm. Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 3457).

Grand Hyatt Dubai
Carols, cake and Christmas is the theme for this evening at the atrium of Grand Hyatt Dubai. Its tree will be lit and gingerbread houses and panettone will be passed around.
Free. Mon Dec 12, 6pm-8pm. Grand Hyatt Dubai, Sheikh Rashid Road (04 317 2146).

Holiday Inn, Al Barsha
Enjoy a concert by the JPS Girls Choir as the festive tree is lit and everyone has a chance to go and hang an ornament on it themselves.
Free. Thu Dec 8, 5pm. Holiday Inn Dubai, Al Barsha (04 323 4333).

Maison Mathis
Carol singers from Dubai City Sound are singing up a storm at this popular eatery in Arabian Ranches. Young and old can enjoy singing along to some of their favourite seasonal songs.
Free. Dec 1, 6, 13, 20 and 27, 7pm-9pm. Arabian Ranches, Sheikh Bin Mohammed Road (04 450 1313).

Mövenpick Hotel, Jumeirah Beach
Under the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, the hotel choir brings some beautiful classic Christmas carols to life. Enjoy some seasonal sweets and beverages, and watch out for a jolly visit from Santa.
Free. Tue Dec 6, 7pm-9pm. Mövenpick Hotel, Jumeirah Beach (04 449 8888).

Raffles Dubai
Nothing will get you in the holiday spirit quite like Raffles Dubai, as the 20-foot high Christmas tree is gloriously lit up with hundreds of twinkling lights. Enjoy some traditional tunes, festive treats and a special appearance from Santa Claus. A festive gingerbread village is also on display in the lobby – this edible extravaganza measures six square metres and features replica alpine houses and a working miniature train.
Free. Tue Dec 6, 6pm. Raffles Dubai, Sheikh Rashid Road, Wafi (04 324 8888).

Shangri-La Hotel
Kick-start the festive season at the annual tree-lighting ceremony and enjoy the carollers and seasonal music while sipping hot chocolate and feasting on festive bites.
Free. Wed Dec 7, 6pm-8pm. Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 405 2703).

Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel
Marking the start of the season, the Sheraton Carol Singers arrive in style to the fifth floor singing every evening at 6.30pm. Pass by after one of your inevitably epic shopping sprees in the mall this month and unwind with some mince pies and festive beverages during the run-up to Christmas.
Free. Dec 15-31, 6.30pm. Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel, Al Barsha (04 377 2000).

The Address Dubai Mall
The (almost) five-metre Christmas tree will be lit with the help of Santa Claus and his little helpers. You, of course, can tag along too, for a little festive fun.
Free. Mon Dec 19, 7pm-9pm. The Address Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 438 8888).

The Address Dubai Marina
The tradition of the yearly tree-lighting ceremony continues at this Dubai Marina hotel. There will be festive songs to sing along to so you can get in the mood for the holidays.
Free. Tue Dec 6, 7pm. The Address Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).

The Irish Village
One of Dubai’s most iconic spots is getting in the spirit of things with a traditional tree-lighting ceremony. There will be mulled beverages, mince pies and a live choir. Arrive in your Christmas jumper and you could win a pair of tickets to the Irish Village’s New Year’s Eve party!
Free. Dec 5, 7pm-9pm. The Irish Village, Garhoud (04 282 4750).

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Residence
Forget your traditional tree-lightings – The Ritz-Carlton is hosting a special teddy bear’s afternoon tea to be enjoyed to the tunes of the festive choir. The whole family will be smiling with some hot cocoa and plates laden with treats to a backdrop of festive décor.
Dhs220 (traditional), Dhs275 (sparkling), Dhs360 (royal), Dhs360, Dhs110. Dec 1-31, 2pm-6pm. Kids’ choir: Dec 9, 10, 16, 17 and 23, 4.30pm and 5.30pm. Adults’ choir: Dec 24, 25 and 26, 4.30pm and 5.30pm. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Residence (04 318 6150).

The St. Regis Dubai
The regal hotel lobby is back at it, with its grandiose display of festivities for the second year. Staying true to The St. Regis family traditions, this year’s five-metre tall tree will be lit while flutes of bubbles and roasted chestnuts are passed around.
Free. Thu Dec 8, 6pm-8pm. Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 435 5555).

Wafi Mall
Dubai English Speaking Performing Arts Academy will wow the crowds as the Wafi Mall Christmas tree is lit. Enjoy the performance while soaking up some Christmas cheer. Then you can pick up some more presents for under your own lit-up tree.
Free. Thu Dec 8, 5pm. Wafi Mall, Oud Metha (04 324 4213).

Gingerbread house decorating

This age-old tradition has now become a firm fixture on Dubai’s festive calendar, with everywhere from hotels to malls and play areas getting in on the act. Perfect for toddlers through to tweens – who doesn’t love the chance to play with icing and biscuits with sticky fingers to lick afterwards?

Arabian Ranches Golf Club
Here’s your chance to take some tips from the professionals, as the talented culinary team at the Arabian Ranches Golf Club demonstrate how to construct and decorate the perfect gingerbread house, right by the beautiful setting of the Water’s Edge terrace. There’s also the chance to win prizes for the best gingerbread house, plus a bouncy castle and face painting fun.
Dhs105 per person. Sun Dec 18, 4pm-7pm. Water’s Edge terrace, Arabian Ranches Golf Club, Sheikh Bin Mohammed Road (04 366 4700).

BookMunch Café
Cosy up for Christmas storytime and gingerbread house decorating topped with seasonal hot chocolate and handcrafted festive goodies. They’ve promised all the favourites, from The Night Before Christmas to The Snowman.
Dhs120 per child. Dec 18-19, 4pm-5.30pm. Wasl Square, near Safa Park (04 388 4006).

Brothus Bakery Bistro
Bring the whole family down for an entire afternoon of Christmas crafts and baking in traditional German hospitality style, topped off with a gingerbread house decorating competition. Once you’re done, you can also stay for a dinner afterwards.
Dhs60 (kids, includes one soft drink, one kids’ dish, Christmas bakery and crafting session), Dhs95 (adults, one main course, plus two house beverages or unlimited soft drinks). Dec 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18, 3pm-9pm. Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay Dubai, 3pm-9pm (04 369 0000).

Gummy drops, sugar icing and candy stones are bringing families together this month at the giant sweet store’s gingerbread house decorating sessions. Don’t forget to grab a basket for some handy stocking fillers while you’re there.
Dhs119 per child. Dec 15-17, 2pm-5pm. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 330 8700).

jones the grocer
The gourmet café is hosting fun, festive children’s masterclasses, where kids and adults can learn how to make festive cookies or a chocolate and cherry roulade together.
Dhs99 (one adult and one child). Dec 2 and 16, 4pm-6pm. Al Manara, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 346 6886).

Manzil Downtown
Head down to the Manzil Downtown for an enchanting decorating session while tucking into a selection of delicious bites and juices, then prepare the kids for a surprise visit from a very special guest (guess who!).
Dhs125 per person. Dec 9-10, 10am-1pm and 3pm-6pm. Mezzanine Level, Manzil Downtown, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).

Festive fiestas

Festivals are not just for summer, especially when there is all sorts of Christmas revelry as part of the line-up. Getting out and about in the lead-up to the holidays is a wonderful way to capture the hustle and bustle of the season, grab some last-minute gifts and soak up all that festive fun.

Arabian Ranches Golf Club
The kids will love this one, as some good old-fashioned carnival games are present, sprinkled with some Santa spirit. With face painting, ring tossing and a giant twister, the fun will continue well into the afternoon. Enjoy the delicious buffet while waiting for the grand arrival of Father Christmas.
Dhs160 (adults, members), Dhs105 (kids, members), Dhs180 (adults, non-members), Dhs125 (kids, non-members). Thu Dec 22, 4pm-9pm. Water’s Edge, Arabian Ranches Golf Club, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (04 366 4000).

ARTE, The Makers’ Market, Times Square Centre
Meet some very talented crafts people displaying their wares at ARTE Market and find some unique gifts for your loved ones, whether it’s some organic, handmade soap or a lovely, brightly coloured artwork depicting Dubai (for example).
Free. Fri Dec 16, 11am-6pm. Times Square Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road,

Atlantis The Palm
Discover a little bit of the North Pole in Dubai at the Poseidon’s Court in front of the Ambassador Lagoon, now transformed into a winter wonderland of delicious treats at the Festive Village. From traditional cakes, mince pies and cookies, to decadent gift hampers and gingerbread houses, there is something for everyone to put them in the spirit of the season. So why not hop on over for some glitter tattoos, festive balloons and watch every child’s fantasy come alive at the chocolate river? Little ones should make sure they are on their best behaviour as the jolly old man is set to make a special appearance.
Free. Dec 1-Jan 7, 2017, 9am-11pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 1387).

Dubai Winter Festival, Dubai Media City
Capture all the joy of the season at the Dubai Winter Festival. Now in its fifth year, Dubai’s favourite festive fair celebrates everything you love about Christmas in one place. From building a snowman to singing carols, it’s a magical wonderland of funfairs, delicious food, stage shows and more.
From Dhs180 (adults), from Dhs50 (kids). Pantomime tickets sold separately. Dec 8-10, Thu 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 3pm-10pm. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai Media City,

La Farine
Watch a life-sized gingerbread house come to life, made with 600 kilos of flour, 500 kilos of honey, 150 kilos of sugar, 30 litres of milk, 60 kilos of spices, 250 kilos of icing sugar, 150 litres of egg and five litres of lemon juice (don’t try this at home). Then head to the festive market where you’ll be greeted with a roasted chestnut cart, hot chocolate van and a spiced mulled grape stand. This market will also house impressive hand-crafted cakes by Gelly Kalouta for you to take home.
Free. Dec 4-26, open 24 hours. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay (04 414 3000).

Madinat Jumeirah Festival
Find festive family fun, with rides, slides, bungee jumping, trampolining, an ice rink, the North Pole train, stilt walkers and much more. There will be plenty of delicious seasonal food on offer, too. Watch out for the beautifully adorned tree and special visits from Santa.
Free. Dec 17-27, Sun-Thu 3pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 1pm-12am. Fort Island, Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre, Umm Suqeim (04 366 8888).

Raffles Dubai
The Garden Brunch at Raffles receives a festive sprinkle on Friday 16 December, as the scenic Raffles Garden transforms into an enchanting outdoor Christmas market with gift stalls offering homemade crafts for sale.
Free. Fri Dec 16, 12pm-4.30pm. Sheikh Rashid Road, Wafi (04 324 8888).

Reform Social and Grill
Celebrate the season at the Reform Festive Family Winter Fair. Enjoy a fun-filled day, complete with a bouncy castle, lots of games and a visit from Santa on his sleigh. Also browse through a variety of fashion, jewellery and homeware stalls.
Dhs55 and Dhs75 (kids’ activities vouchers). Dec 16-17, 12pm-6pm. The Lakes, Emirates Living District (04 454 2638).

Ripe Market
If you’re a weekly visitor of this market in Dubai, then you’ll be glad to know that Ripe Market is adding festive sparkle to all of its markets. From Wednesday December 7 onwards, the Zabeel Park, Al Barsha Pond Park and Le Méridien Mina Seyahi markets will all be Christmas themed. There’s a petting zoo, craft workshops and BabySouk Soukettes (Santa’s Middle East representatives), who will be scanning the crowd to collect letters to send back to the North Pole. Then each kid will get a personalised reply from the big man.
Free. Wed Dec 7 onwards, times and locations vary.

The Falls Café
Stock up on some festive treats at The Falls Café, where you’ll find homemade Christmas cookies, German stollens, Swiss delights and other delicious bites to sweeten Christmas stockings throughout the month.
Dec 6-26, noon-midnight. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach (04 449 8781).

Christmas camps

Sometimes little ones need to run off some steam, especially during the highly-charged, silly season, when excitement and adventure are peeking around every corner. Play centres, splash pads and Christmas camps have flung open their doors to add an extra sprinkling of glitter to the most special time of the year.

Atlantis Kids Club and Club Rush
The Atlantis Kids Club will have daily festive activities to help keep the children occupied while you sneak off for some last-minute Christmas shopping in The Avenues. Activities include face painting, festive arts and crafts, cupcake decoration and much more. For 13 to 18 year-olds looking to escape their parents, they can head to Club Rush and enjoy karaoke night, get involved in a movie marathon or even make their own mocktails.
Dhs150 per child (morning or afternoon), Dhs75 per hour, per child, Dhs375 (day pass with lunch). Dec 1-31, 10am-6pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 1387).

Drama Scene, Winter Workshop
Warm up your theatre skills with a wonderful and wacky winter workshop at Drama Scene. Children will explore acting, musical theatre and prop and set design as they work towards a performance at Ductac for their grand finish.
Dhs980. Dec 17-21, 8.30am-2pm. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (055 310 0984).

Fairmont The Palm
The Falcon Kids Club will enchant little ones with a festive Christmas Eve party camp, which is jam-packed with fun activities, talent shows, arts and crafts and exciting games. There will also be cookie decorating, dancing, a visit from Santa Claus and plenty more.
Dhs180. Sat Dec 24, 5pm-7pm. Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 3331).

Ice Tots skating sessions
Get in the winter spirit at Dubai Ice Rink, where Ice Tots skating sessions, complete with penguin pals, are back on Mondays, helping kids gain confidence in the rink.
Dhs90 (one parent and child). Mon 10am-11.45am. The Dubai Mall (04 448 5111).

IMPACT Musical Workshops
IMPACT Centres will be running a day of fun musical group workshops in an effort to produce the best all-round musicians.
Dhs50. Fri Dec 9, 10am-1.30pm. IMPACT Centres, Control Tower, Motor City (04 361 5002).

Kids HQ
Pop along to award-winning Kids HQ’s Santa’s Toy Factory for an afternoon of traditional fun. Santa Claus will appear every 30 minutes!
Dhs100. Thu Dec 15, 3pm-6pm. Umm Suqeim Road, Barsha 2 (04 379 4233).

Kidzone Christmas Party
Enjoy a Kidzone Festive Party, with lots of activities, including festive arts and crafts, reindeer food making, party games, face painting, balloon bending, two hours of soft play access and more. A prize will be given to the best festive costume and each child will receive a present from Santa, as well as a yummy meal and drink.
Dhs120. Sat Dec 17, 4pm-6pm. Kidzone, Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (050 460 4203).

Mini Professors Christmas Camp
Bring science to life while having lots of festive fun with a Christmas camp at Mini Professors. Science experiments, dancing, music and crafts will keep little minds busy.
Dhs160 per day, Dhs700 (five days), Dhs1,100 (eight days). Dec 18-22 and 27-29, 8.30am-2.30pm. Smart Start, Sunset Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road (055 112 6895).

Splash ‘n’ Party
Featuring magic shows, live mermaids and a special appearance from Santa Claus – Splash ‘n’ Party has a lot going on. Swim with Ursula, an underwater resident mermaid, before enjoying some seasonal treats.
Dhs140 per child, free (adults with every child), Dhs50 (additional adult). Dec 8 and 15, 3.30pm-6.30pm. Villa no. 1, Street 8A, Al Safa 2, Jumeirah (04 388 3008).

Christmas Eve

Take the whole family out for a wonderful meal the night before the Big Day. Enjoy everything from turkey and honey-glazed veg to elaborate desserts and plenty of gingerbread cookies. Then make sure the sprogs are tucked away well before midnight.

Turkey and trimmings, an oyster bar and foie gras are featured in the Christmas buffet. There will also be festive music, a Christmas choir and a visit from Santa Claus.
Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house drinks), half price (kids aged 6-12), free (kids aged under six). 7pm-11pm. InterContinental Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina (04 446 6669).

Al Forsan
A Christmas buffet in a winter wonderland setting with Bab Al Shams carol singers providing Yuletide entertainment.
Dhs225 (food only), Dhs385 (house beverages), Dhs595 (bubbly), Dhs125 (kids aged five and over), free (kids aged four and under). 7pm-11pm. Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Dubailand (04 809 6194).

Aspen Chalets
Enjoy a traditional Christmas meal prepared by a private chef while you overlook powdery snow in a venue decked out for the festive season. Santa Claus will also pop in for a visit. Transportation is also provided.
Dhs1,450 per person (package including house beverages is for a minimum of eight people and a maximum of 12), half price (kids aged 6-12). Timings vary. Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 341 0000).

A roast turkey with all the trimmings will be the centrepiece of the festive family buffet, which includes live cooking stations and a flying visit from Santa.
Dhs165 (soft drinks), Dhs250 (house beverages), half price (kids 6-12), free (kids aged five and under). 7pm-10.30pm. Warwick Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 506 9600).

Constellation Ballroom
A gourmet festive menu will be laid on at the ballroom at The Address Dubai Marina. Entertainment will be provided by a magician, a DJ and there will be a visit from Santa Claus.
Dhs345 (soft drinks), Dhs495 (house beverages), Dhs645 (bubbly), half price (kids aged 6-11), free (kids aged under six). 7pm-11pm. The Address Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).

The festive-themed buffet includes a host of classic Christmas dishes, including a traditional roast. There will also be a separate buffet for the kids, who will get a goodie bag during their visit.
Dhs159 (soft drinks), Dhs259 (house beverages), half price (kids aged 6-12). 7pm-11pm. Wyndham Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina (04 407 8888).

An extensive festive buffet, including traditional roasts, pies and pastries. There will also be a special visit from Santa Claus, who will come bearing gifts for the little ones.
Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages), half price (kids aged 6-11), free (kids aged under six). 7pm-midnight. The Palace Downtown Dubai, Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).

An evening buffet is packed with everybody’s favourite festive dishes topped off with a visit from Santa Claus.
Dhs199 (soft drinks), Dhs299 (house beverages), Dhs99 (kids aged 6-12), free (kids aged under six). 6.30pm-10.30pm. Amwaj Rotana Hotel, The Walk, JBR (04 428 2000).

An evening buffet features a host of seasonal dishes, including turkey with all the trimmings and a festive log for dessert. There will be a special area with activities for the kids and live pipe music will be played.
Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs350 (house beverages), Dhs130 (kids aged 6-11), free (kids aged under six). 7pm-11.30pm. The Address Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).

West 14th
A choice of two starters, mains and desserts – including smoked salmon, roast turkey and a traditional Christmas pudding – will be on offer for the adults, while youngsters can enjoy a kids’ Christmas Eve Party. Live entertainment and a visit from Santa Claus will also be a highlight at the New York-style grill and bar (that also has great sea views).
Dhs220 (food only), Dhs99 (kids’ party, including activities and snacks). Oceana Beach Club, Palm Jumeirah (04 447 7601).

Christmas Day

The Big Day is finally here! After your epic present-opening session, make the afternoon much more memorable by heading out to one of these magnificent, family-friendly brunches.

A family-style sharing menu covering four courses, with dishes such as turkey with trimmings, an oyster bar and foie gras is on offer. There will be entertainment in the form of a Christmas choir, festive music and a visit from Santa Claus.
Dhs175 (food only), Dhs275 (house drinks). 12.30pm-4pm. InterContinental Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina (04 446 6669).

Al Bahou
The Christmas Day brunch will showcase a range of cuisines while fun activities are on offer for the kids, from face painting and a bouncy castle to a movie theatre, carol singing and a visit from Santa.
Dhs449 (soft drinks), Dhs599 (house beverages), Dhs799 (bubbly), Dhs225 (kids aged 7-12), Dhs99 (kids aged 3-6), free (kids aged under three). 12.30pm-4pm. Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate, Jebel Ali (04 444 0000).

Al Forsan
The restaurant will be laying on a festive-themed buffet, as well as an array of activities for youngsters, from camel and pony rides to kite flying and face painting, with a magician and juggler thrown in, too. Santa Claus will also be dropping by for a flying visit for tots.
Dhs445 (soft drinks), Dhs595 (house beverages), Dhs795 (bubbly), Dhs223 (kids aged 5-12), free (kids four and under). 1pm-4pm. Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Dubailand (04 809 6194).

Amwaj Rotana
The hotel will be hosting a Christmas brunch at two of its restaurants, Rosso and Benihana, with live cooking stations, a traditional roast and chef’s specials. Kids get the chance to meet Santa Claus and enjoy festive activities such as cupcake decorating and face painting.
Dhs333 (soft drinks), Dhs444 (house beverages), Dhs555 (sparkling), Dhs166 (kids aged 6-12), free (kids aged under six). 12.30pm-4.30pm. Amwaj Rotana, The Walk, JBR (04 428 2000).

Aspen Chalets
Enjoy a luxurious “white Christmas” in the desert at the Aspen Chalets. Overlook Ski Dubai and the snow, while tucking into a four-course festive feast and house beverages, and get a visit from Santa.
Dhs1,450 (minimum spend Dhs10,500 per group), half price (children 6-12). Dec 24-25, timings vary. Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 341 0000).

The Christmas family brunch boasts an array of traditional and international festive dishes and homemade desserts, while Santa will
also be dropping by to visit excited sprogs.
Dhs165 (soft drinks), Dhs250 (house beverages), half price (kids aged 6-12), free (kids aged under six). 7pm-10.30pm. Warwick Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 506 9600).

Join Santa Claus and the carol singers for an extravagant brunch, where there will be an array of international food and entertainment.
Dhs299 (soft drinks), Dhs329 (house beverages), Dhs429 (sparkling), Dhs99 (kids 6-13). 1pm-4pm. Sheraton Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 377 2353).

Festive dishes such as roast turkey with all the trimmings and gingerbread cookies can be enjoyed during the restaurant’s Christmas Day brunch. Seasonal songs will be played throughout, while Santa will be popping in with presents for the children.
Dhs165 (soft drinks, juices, house beverages), half price (kids aged 7-12), free (kids aged under seven). Noon-4pm. TIME Grand Plaza Hotel, Damascus Street, Qusais (800 468 357).

Center Cut
As well as traditional turkey with all the trimmings, the extensive brunch menu includes dishes such as tomahawk beef, sushi and fresh seafood, as well as a dessert station with an ample selection of chocolates and cheeses. The festive experience extends to live musical entertainment, an outdoor play area for the kids, carols from The Ritz-Carlton choir and an appearance by Santa.
Dhs310 (tea and coffee), Dhs490 (house beverages), Dhs155 (kids aged 6-12). Noon-4pm. The Ritz-Carlton, Gate Village 7, DIFC (04 372 2323).

Chef’s House
Enjoy a Christmas Day lunch with Santa, carol singing and a children’s play area.
Dhs199 (soft drinks), Dhs259 (house beverages), Dhs99 (kids 5-11). 12.30pm-4pm. Radisson Blu Media City, Dubai Media City (04 366 9131).

Constellation Ballroom
The ballroom will be transformed into a festive village. A traditional roast with all the trimmings will be cooked up, while there will be live cooking stations producing plenty more festive fare. Entertainment is provided by a magician and a live band.
Dhs345 (soft drinks), Dhs495 (house beverages), Dhs645 (bubbly), half price (kids aged 6-11), free (kids aged under six). 12.30pm-4pm. The Address Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).

Estrellas Rooftop Lounge
Dine in the sunshine at this Christmas Day brunch by the pool. There will be a kids’ corner, a chance to explore a huge gingerbread house and a special appearance by Santa Claus.
Dhs199 (soft drinks), Dhs299 (house beverages). 1pm-5pm. Meliá Dubai Hotel, Kuwait Street (04 386 8111).

The restaurant will be inviting guests to sit down for a gourmet brunch, featuring traditional and contemporary cuisine while there’s festive music from a live band and a dinner option, too. There will also be a visit from Santa Claus and a chance to turn your hand to gingerbread making.
Dinner: Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages), half price (kids aged 6-11), free (kids aged under six). 7pm-midnight. Brunch: Dhs550 (soft drinks), Dhs700 (house beverages), Dhs850 (premium bubbly), half price (kids aged 6-11), free (kids aged under six). 1pm-4pm. The Palace Downtown Dubai, Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).

Flow Kitchen
The festive brunch includes turkey with all the trimmings and a range of seasonal desserts, while family-friendly entertainment will be provided and there is complimentary access to the Falcons Club for kids aged three to 12.
Dhs355 (soft drinks), Dhs495 (house beverages). 12.30pm-3.30pm. Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 3388).

The afternoon festive buffet boasts an al fresco dining option taking in views of the golf course and the Dubai Marina skyline. Little ones are well catered for, too, with a petting zoo, pony rides, bouncy castle and secret presents among the array of activities.
From Dhs450 (soft drinks), Dhs590 (house beverages), Dhs220 (kids aged 6-11). 12.30pm-4pm. The Address Montgomerie Dubai, Emirates Hills (04 888 3444).

The Christmas buffet includes carved roast turkey with all the trimmings, as well as a choice of seafood and traditional Middle Eastern dishes. There will also be a live band, a Christmas choir and Santa Claus will be dropping by.
Dhs485 (soft drinks), Dhs595 (house beverages), Dhs260 (ages 12-20), Dhs130 (kids aged 6-11), free (kids aged under six). Noon-4pm. Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, Palm Jumeirah (04 455 5656).

A traditional Christmas buffet is accompanied by gifts from Santa Claus and a theatrical display for little ones to enjoy.
Dhs219 (soft drinks), Dhs260 (house drinks), Dhs450 (bubbly), Dhs70 (kids under 12). 12.30pm-4pm. Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre, Deira (04 603 8201).

Méridien Village Terrace
An all-you-can-eat brunch featuring a range of festive favourites is offered. Kids aged under 12 are welcome to join the Kids’ Club located at Jules Bar free of charge. And, if you want to dine later, there is also a Christmas Day dinner with festive food cooked in the open kitchen pavilion.
Brunch: Dhs330 (house beverages), free (kids aged under six). 12.30pm-3.30pm. Dinner: Dhs269 (soft drinks), Dhs299 (house beverages), Dhs169 (kids aged 6-12), free (kids under six). 8.30pm-11.30pm. Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud (04 217 0000).

An international buffet boasts Christmas classics such as traditional turkey with all the trimmings and a festive log for dessert. There will be live pipe music, activities for kids and Santa Claus will be dropping by.
Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages), Dhs150 (kids aged 6-11), free (kids aged under six). Noon-4pm. The Address Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).

A traditional Christmas spread is laid on, complete with live cooking stations. Children can enjoy pony rides, a bouncy castle and much more festive entertainment.
Dhs375 (soft drinks), Dhs475 per person (house beverages), Dhs110 per person (children aged 6-11), free (children aged five and under). 1pm-4pm. Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, Dubai Studio City (04 362 7880).

A festive family affair includes turkey and all the trimmings, a range of children’s activities, such as face painting and bouncy castles, and Santa will come bearing gifts for little ones. Parents can bring along a gift to be presented by him as well.
Members: Dhs295 (adults), Dhs150 (kids aged 6-12). Non-members: Dhs345 (adults), Dhs170 (kids aged 6-12). Noon-4pm. Arabian Ranches Golf Club, Arabian Ranches (04 360 7935).

Raffles Ballroom
The Christmas buffet will feature an extensive carvery with traditional roasts, while there will also be fine cheeses, seafood and desserts to take your pick from. The Raffles Ballroom and Garden will be given a festive makeover, with bouncy castles, an ice cream igloo, a gingerbread icing station and even a sweet shop on show.
Dhs475 (soft beverages), Dhs685 (house beverages), Dhs250 (kids aged under 12), free (two children aged six and under per couple). 12.30pm-4.30pm. Raffles Dubai, Wafi (04 324 8888).

A set menu of classic dishes, with three-course and five-course dining options is on offer at the international restaurant. There will also be a kids’ corner, Christmas carols being sung and the promise of a visit from Santa Claus to make the afternoon more special.
Dhs180 (three-course menu), Dhs240 (five-course menu). 5pm-11pm. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, The Walk, JBR (04 449 8781).

Enjoy a festive feed with an all-you-can-eat brunch being cooked up for Christmas Day. Children aged under 12 can join in the fun free of charge at the Kids’ Club located at Jules Bar.
Dhs599 (bubbly, grape, house beverages). 1pm-4pm. Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud (04 702 2328).

Meet Father Christmas

Atlantis The Palm
Santa and his friends will be making a special visit to Atlantis this festive season. If you decide to stay the night, you can opt for an elf tuck-in (Dec 17-23, Dhs150 per child) or Santa tuck-in (Dec 24-25, Dhs250 per child). The kids will love it!
Dec 13-25 and Jan 1, 3pm. Grand Lobby and Poseidon's Court, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 1387).

Dubai Irish Society
Santa arrives on a camel, then every child gets the chance to meet and greet the man of the moment before gathering together for a big sing-song. Pack a picnic and have a day of craic in the sun. Advance booking is necessary.
Fri Dec 9, 2.30pm-5pm. Email for location and price to

Maison Mathis
When Santa comes to Dubai he always pops into Maison Mathis for some tasty pastries.
Free. Dec 5, 12 and 19, 3pm. Arabian Ranches, Sheikh Bin Mohammed Road (04 450 1313).

Ski Dubai
Ski Dubai is a veritable winter wonderland. And the jolly old man himself will be in residence in the lead-up to the Big Day.
Dhs100 (Santa passes), Dhs350 (Polar Express, includes a Santa Pass, access to the snow park and an option to book either a penguin encounter, Snow Bullet Ride, ski Lesson or Slope Pass). Dec 16-24, 10am-1am. Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (800 386).

Fairmont The Palm
Snuggle down for a cosy tale or two at Santa’s Hut.
Free. Thu, Fri and Sat throughout Dec, 6.30pm-7pm. Palm Jumeirah (04 457 3457).

Wafi Mall
Wafi Mall’s is often lauded as the best Santa Claus to find his way to Dubai. He’ll arrive by sleigh each morning and there are plenty of elves to entertain with crafts and face painting. It’s best to get their early as the queue often wraps around the mall!
Dhs60. Thu Dec 8, 7pm-10pm; Dec 10-15, 10am-10pm; Dec 17-22, 9.30am-10pm; Dec 23-24, 9.30am-10.30pm. Main Atrium, Wafi Mall, Oud Metha (04 324 4213).

Part of the wonder of the season is creating memories with your loved ones and every family does it a little bit differently. We’ve put together a list of some super-cute ideas for new festive traditions you could incorporate into your Christmas agenda.

Countdown calendars
Make counting down the days to Christmas even more fun by filling them with surprises. Tack 25 decorated, candy- or trinket-filled envelopes to a corkboard or similar surface in a tree shape, then top the arrangement with a pretty bow. Using fun shapes such as candy canes, mittens and gingerbread men, your little ones will delight in the countdown to the big day.

Bake some cookies
Whip up some holiday cheer by gathering family members to bake and decorate cookies. Assign youngsters manageable tasks such as pouring pre-measured ingredients, stirring and making shapes with cookie cutters. Lay out assorted colour frostings, sprinkles and small candies, and watch everyone’s imagination soar as you make your creations. Share the results with friends and family, but be sure to save a few goodies for yourself! They’ll be gone before you know it.

Spreading snacks for Rudolph
Whether it’s a juicy carrot or some homemade museli, little ones will be even more excited (if it’s possible) after they leave a little feast for the red-nosed one. Mix some sparkly glitter with some dried oatmeal and watch their faces light up.

Pose for a Picture
Whether you’re decked out in new Christmas Eve pyjamas or in your holiday finest, strike a pose and take a festive snap with your family during holiday gatherings and make this an annual tradition so you can look back and smile at past years.

Twelve Days of Giving
Make others’ lives merry and bright during the 12 days of Christmas, beginning –December 25 and ending January 5. Stuff decorated shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and personal-care products for people in need. This will make sure you capture the true spirit of the season.

Share a story
Break out your favourite holiday stories and start an annual tradition of reading together before bedtime on Christmas Eve. Designate one family member as the reader, or take turns passing the book around.

The Elf on the shelf
If one of these cheeky chappies is not already part of your household, pop one on various shelves and have fun tracking his movements around your home. And, remember, he logs all behaviour, naughty and nice, to relay back to Santa Claus.

Christmas Eve Boxes
Pack a box with some special treats to enjoy on Christmas Eve as you prepare for the most important night of the year. A new pair of PJs, some hot chocolate, a precious book – these all make bedtime more special.

Boxing Day brunches

Al Bahou
A Boxing Day brunch featuring Christmas classics such as roast turkey, roast leg of lamb and prime rib comes alongside a special buffet with nibbles for kids. There will also be face painters, a bouncy castle, a movie theatre and a visit from Santa Claus.
Dhs325 (soft drinks), Dhs425 (house beverages), Dhs599 (bubbly), Dhs160 (kids aged 7-12), Dhs45 (kids aged 3-6), free (kids aged under three). 12.30pm-4pm. Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate, Jebel Ali (04 444 0000).

Al Khaima
A Middle Eastern buffet in an outdoor setting will feature classic dishes, while entertainment comes in the form of a traditional duo band and a belly dancer.
Dhs300 (soft drinks), Dhs450 (selected house beverages), half price (kids aged 5-12). Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 317 6000).

An extensive buffet offers traditional festive fare at this family-friendly brunch.
Dhs315 (soft drinks), Dhs440 (house beverages), Dhs595 (bubbly), half price (kids aged 6-11) free (kids five and under). 12.30pm-3.30pm. The Address Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).

Pool Bar
A poolside barbecue is serving seafood, Middle Eastern specialities and salads. There will also be a kids’ corner set up as well as Christmas carols and a visit from Santa Claus.
Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs350 (house beverages), Dhs125 (kids aged 6-12), free (kids aged under six). 12.30pm-4pm. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, The Walk, JBR (04 449 8781).

Ranches Restaurant
A Boxing Day lunch buffet and children’s entertainment, all served in such a lovely setting, will extend the holiday cheer.
Members: Dhs175, Dhs95 (kids aged 6-12). Non-members: Dhs195, Dhs105 (kids aged 6-12). Noon-4pm. Arabian Ranches Golf Club (04 360 7935).

Capture festive moments with The Picture People

Gather your loved ones and book a photoshoot with The Picture People this month for a special discounted price of Dhs195 for a 30 minute in-studio session, viewing and one high resolution image. Or spend Dhs2000 and get a one to one-and-a-half-hour session in the comfort of your home with all high resolution images provided on a USB memory stick. The perfect Christmas gift for friends and family overseas.
Call 04-343-4413 to schedule your session and quote this offer. Deal is for sessions booked before December 20 2016.

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