Dubai, and the United Arab Emirates in general, are well-known for being multicultural, and show religious tolerance to the large expat communities who reside within the country as a whole, so if you are spending Christmas in Dubai this year there is no need to fear that you’ll miss out on all the usual celebrations just because you’re living in a Muslim country.
While Christmas Day may not be an official holiday in Dubai, some workplaces do allow expats time off (it is worth checking with your employer to be sure) but as this year (2019), Christmas Day falls on a Wednesday, most businesses will be open for trade as usual. So, if you are planning a few days off with your family you may need to book it now!
As a company with offices in both the UK and Dubai, Creative Word understand the importance of cultural awareness and appreciation so, for those of you are new to Dubai, or those who haven’t spent Christmas here before, the following information might come in handy to know…
• It’s Going to be Sunny this Christmas
Without a doubt, it will be hot and sunny this Christmas in Dubai with average temperatures around 16 to 26 degrees centigrade during December.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t see some snow if you want to.
Days out at ski slopes such as, Ski Dubai, the indoor ski arena at the Mall of the Emirates, are amazing fun, but if you fancy travelling a little further, or prefer real snow, you can fly for less than 3 hours and arrive in Turkey, the Lebanon, or Georgia where there are snow-capped mountains with enticing après-ski festivities nearby.
• Christmas Lunch (with all the trimmings)
If you are worried you’ll miss out on a traditional Christmas meal, stop!
There are a plethora of places from which you can purchase a Turkey for your Christmas meal and you can even get your roast potatoes, gravy, vegetables and accompanying sauces from most supermarkets.
But, that’s not usually how it is done in Dubai – instead we eat out on Christmas Day.
Christmas Day in Dubai is like an enormous ‘Friday brunch’ where most restaurants, hotels and bars offer traditional Christmas food (with additional seafood platers, salads, grills, desserts and much more), and seasonal decorations such as, Santa’s Grotto, Christmas trees and fairy lights.
You can enjoy all the treats of Christmas lunch, without the hours of cooking or the dreaded piles of washing up.
• Christmas Shopping (on Christmas Day)
Unless Christmas falls on a Friday or Saturday, all shops, malls and restaurants are open for business as usual which is really handy if you’ve forgotten to buy a gift for someone, or run out of wrapping paper at the last minute.
There are also many Christmas markets and fairs held by schools, communities and corporations throughout the region including:
The Madinat Jumeirah Festive Market from 13 – 28 December 2019 at Fort Island, Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre
Check with local hotels for light switching on ceremonies, or enjoy a festive afternoon tea at larger hotels.
• Church Services
The UAE may be a Muslim country but that doesn’t mean they aren’t tolerant of other religions, so if you fancy going to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day you’ll probably find a church near you that offers services for different denominations over the festive period.
The following churches are just a few examples:
St. Francis of Assisi Church is a Catholic church located in Jebel Ali
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is located in Oud Metha
Holy Trinity Church is a Protestant church in Umm Hurair 2
The United Christian Church of Dubai is an Evangelical/Protestant church located in Jebel Ali
St. Mary’s Catholic Church located in Bur Dubai
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