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Christmas on a dhow? #onlyinDubai

Tired of the same old turkey? Celebrate Christmas in a new way this season with our round-up of alternative — but festive — celebrations in the UAE

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Roll back the years for a very Dubai Christmas with the Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek
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Christmas on a dhow

This festive season, the Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek’s Al Mansour Dhow offers a glimpse of old Dubai on a journey along the creek. Take your pick of meals for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and NYE.

Details: Times and dates vary, prices from Dh225, call 04 205 7033/34


BBQ on the terrace

Send the family your Xmas love with selfies from a sunny barbecue. Duke’s Dubai Hotel has just the thing with its festive-themed American BBQ this year, featuring the chef’s signature cuts and daily catch grilled over hot coals.

Details: 2pm to 6pm until December 30, Dh175 per head, call 04 455 1111


Festive Shopping Break 

InterContinental dubai marina

All that shopping is hard work, so get some help from a girlfriend. Afterwards, treat her (and yourself) to tea and a cheeky spa break later. Combine a back massage, foot treatment and express facial with a festive tea at Spa InterContinental Dubai Marina.

Details: Until December 30, 10am to 5pm, Dh800 for two with afternoon tea, call 04 446 6643


Family film fest

Christmas is about movies too, but why not hygge under the stars? The outdoor cinema at Atlantis The Palm’s Royal Beach has a plan for the entire month, with movies every Friday, complete with refreshments and stunning views.

Details: From 7pm, December 15, 22 and 29, food and drink á la carte, call 04 426 2000


Gingerbread house & Christmas market

Gingerbread house sheraton mall of emirates

You're used to tiny gingerbread houses, but the Sheraton Mall of Emirates has a life-size one the kids will love! The hotel lays on a winter fairy-tale wonderland for the young and young at heart with a lifesize gingerbread house and visits from Santa all month long. Upstairs, there’s also a festive market with gifts for one and all.

Details: Until December 31, call 04 377 2000


Bad Santa

Cirque le soir

No this isn't Santa, simply one of his crazy helpers, the kind you're likely to meet at Cirque Le Soir this month! So break out your naughty streak and head over to the club, whose dance floor is a great place to burn off all those festive calories. The club says it's found the grumpiest Santa, his naughty wife and everyone in-between in the cells, all mixed in with live performances, great music and plenty more. Go on, you know you want to.

Details: 10.30pm to 3am, December 18-26.Call 050 995 5400 or email


Santa’s grotto & Garden Brunch

We do like to be beside the seaside — even at Xmas! Sharkeys Grass Area at the Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa is making the most of its Indian Ocean location with a kid-focused outdoor brunch and a visit to Santa in his beach grotto!

Details: 1pm to 6pm, December 22, Dh249 including juices. Special rates for children, call 09 244 9888