If you're spending Christmas in Dubai, there's plenty to see and experience as the festive season hits
7 November 2019| Last updated on 10 November 2019
We've compiled your handy guide to celebrating the Christmas holidays in Dubai...
Although the city is part of a Muslim country, Christmas is celebrated in Dubai with its own brand of festive spirit in the desert.
So what is Christmas like in Dubai? Christmas in Dubai brings out certain magic that can be felt throughout December - the music is louder, the lights are brighter, the smiles are bigger, and the weather is colder. It's a truly enchanting time to visit the emirate or stay in the city for the holidays. Regardless of religious background, it's a wonderful time of the year that welcomes UAE nationals and expatriates to join in on all the fun celebrations.
There's heaps of exciting festive activities, shopping, dining options, and Christmas-themed events happening all around Dubai, with public pop-ups of Santa's grottos, Christmas markets for the whole family, dazzling decorations, illuminating lights, malls vying for the most gorgeously decorated Christmas trees, and much, much more. On top of that, Christmas in Dubai will usually deliver an array of music and other entertaining performances.
Read our guide for a full run-down of how does Dubai celebrates Christmas as well as the best ways to spend the holidays in Dubai so you can make the most of your Christmas holiday in town.
Christmas in Dubai will be pleasantly warm
If you're a visitor to the UAE, you might wonder what is the weather like during the holidays.
Christmas in Dubai will be warm for residents and visitors who are used to spending the festive season all bundled up from the cold outside. The winter weather in Dubai will consist of average highs of 26˚C and will go as low as 14˚C, so you'll see lots of outdoor festive activities going on and people eating outdoors.
The mornings and evenings will be quite windy, with pleasantly warm afternoons. It will be raining often, thanks to Dubai's cloud-seeding efforts.
But, you can still enjoy a white Christmas in Dubai by visiting the popular indoor snow park, Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates. You can sip on a warm cup of hot chocolate while looking out at the manmade slopes, aww at the march of the penguins, frolick among the snow, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of skiing down the white hills.
Dubai stays open on Christmas day
While other cities in the world will need you to plan your Christmas as many restaurants and shops will either be closed or have reduced working hours on the day itself, Dubai will be open through Christmas day.
Shopping malls, restaurants, bars, and supermarkets in Dubai will still be open for Christmas.
There's heaps of Christmas dining options in Dubai
With restaurants, cafes, and other dining spots having regular business hours on Christmas, as well as a versatile array of cuisines, residents and tourists are spoiled for choice on where to savour a splendid Christmas breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner in Dubai. Many of which will be decked in holiday decorations, feature gingerbread houses, Santa grottos, and especially curated Christmas menus.
Dubai has Christmas turkeys
You can buy them from supermarkets across Dubai. Another population option among expats is to place an early order of takeaway turkey from hotels, restaurants, or cafes. You can choose the turkey parts or the whole poultry, including the sauce, gravy, stuffing, roasted sides, and vegetables. It's highly recommended to order your Christmas turkey in advance as these are usually limited in quantity.
Christmas mass is popular in Dubai
In fact, they're so popular you might not even get into a church and if you want to, you will need to arrive more than an hour early to beat the church crowds. The UAE is a proudly tolerant country, with 2019 celebrated as the Year of Tolerance. From the start of December, there will be plenty of religious services happening across the churches in Dubai themed around Christmas. The most popular location is St. Mary's Church at Oud Metha, where the faithful wait hours to attend mass.
Dubai has loads of festive activities, markets, events, and fairs
Dubai residents love to spend Christmas out, and why not when there's so many festive events, fairs, markets, and promotions taking place across the city in restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels. Shopping and dining outlets across the city will be gearing up to pull out all the stops for Christmas, offering shopping discounts, scrumptious Christmas feasts, indulgent brunches, festive fairs, and lots more.