Christmas decor
These UAE-based artists have a variety of Christmas-themed decor and gifts, including candles, coasters, camel figures and more. Image Credit: Pexels/lilartsy

‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la laa, la la la la…’ – this sweet melody has started to make its rounds on playlists this month; Michael Bublé is defrosting as we speak (as the famous meme goes) and sparkly bursts of red, green and gold décor are now festooning familiar spaces. Preparations are being made for a huge feast, complete with perfectly cooked turkey and fruitcake.

It is Christmas.

As the special festive day draws near, if you are looking for presents for loved ones, here are some options for gifts and décor items you can buy to support the local community of artisans here in UAE. ‘Tis the season for sustainable gifting practices too.

1. Candles by Innara

These eco-friendly candles made of pure vegan soy wax, housed in aesthetic stands that are actually recycled construction waste collected in the UAE, makes for a great gift for anyone. Innara is a UAE-based zero waste brand offering handmade candles and soaps. Candle stand colours include blue, brown, grey and more, with Midnight Jasmine, Bali Spa, Green Tea, Havana and Mysore as some scents offered – and there is a special limited edition hand-painted Christmas candle as well. There is also a candle-making kit for purchase.

Their festive season offer includes a 50 per cent off on many candles, which means you can bag some for Dh25. They can be purchased on their website.

2. Festive cushion covers by Soulart

Sayli Panse, a licensed UAE-based artist who specialises in acrylic, mixed media and watercolours offers a range of Christmas-themed cushion covers that ranges from Dh45-65. These include silver sequins on a red cushion or an abstract X’mas tree on a cream cover – sourced from Sharjah markets, and handstitched locally.

You can purchase this by messaging the artist on Instagram, and there are options for cash on delivery or bank transfers.

3. Body butter by The Four Flowers

This UAE-based natural vegan zero waste brand focuses on handcrafted soap, offers body creams made entirely of butters, essential oils and other natural ingredients. The fragrant Shea Whip body butter or Cocoa Mousse cream come in glass jars tied in twine, and work well for winter skincare.

Price ranges from Dh40 to Dh45. These items can be purchased from their website.

The Four flowers, by Dalila Ben Cherif, is also exhibiting every day at Winter Wonderland in Mall of the Emirates from 10 am to 10 pm until December 25 and has a popup store at The Ripe Market at Academy Park every weekend.

4. Christmas coasters by Suzy.B Art

These handmade wooden coasters that come in a carved wooden box, feature a decorated Christmas tree and smiley Santas – perfect for a warm pumpkin spice latte or winter hot chocolate moment. They are by Dubai-based artist, Suzy B. who creates handmade wall art and functional artworks, often inspired by Lebanese tradition.

They are priced at Dh185 for a set of four and can be purchased at the Expo 2020 Lebanon Pavilion’s store or on the website.

5. Santa Camels by HandmadebyAfiya

A mix of beloved UAE heritage and Christmas traditions – these local festive Santa camel figures made of recycled papier-mâché can function as seasonal décor with a local touch. They are by HandmadeByAfiya, an online crafts store run by UAE artist Afiya Vaseem, and come in a variety of prints, including Christmas trees, holly berries, colourful wrapped presents, gingerbread men, snowflakes and more.

The papier-mâché is made of recycled paper and sourced locally.

Prices range from Dh49 to Dh79 on her website, and free delivery is included anywhere in the UAE.

6. Handmade ceramic stars by Treasures in Clay

These snowflake and festive-patterned ceramic stars are by, a UAE-based artist specializing in ceramics, wheel-thrown and handmade pottery.

They are priced at Dh35 to Dh45 each, depending on size and come in shades of yellow, blue and red. They can be purchased by contacting the artist on Instagram.

7. Snowflake Winter trays by Dubaijo

Made by British mosaic and ceramic artist, Joanna Fletcher, these striking blue snowflake-patterned stoneware platters will brighten up your Festive feast – perfect for Christmas sides such as mince pies, or these traditional Linzer cookies.

These are priced at Dh120. They can be purchased by contacting the artist on Instagram.

8. Christmas wall hangings by JJCraftsDXB

This UAE-based artist recycles foam boards used as signage for events in UAE hotels using putty, and offers custom festooned Christmas boards this festive season – with sayings like ‘Have yourself a Merry Christmas, and ‘Joy to the World’ framed by holly leaves and berries, as well as painted canvases.

They are priced from Dh40-50 except for sets of more than one piece, and can be purchased by contacting the artist directly on Instagram.

9. Christmas-themed masks by Jessica Lily Handmade

Safety comes first, as always, and this Christmas you can wear festive masks (over surgical masks if preferred), to best complement your Christmas jumpers. These masks come in patterns of candy canes, snowflakes on red background, snowmen, fir trees and more, and are by Jessica Lily Handmade, a handmade clothing brand that is British-designed and based in Dubai. The fabrics are sourced locally and the masks made by Jessica.

They can be bought online at the website, for a price of Dh25 per mask.

If you are looking to buy more such gifts, you must not miss out on these markets showcasing products made in the UAE by local artists. Here’s a quick list:

• The Ripe Market, a community market for UAE based artists and small businesses, runs every week at Springs Souk (Friday 10 am – 10pm), Academy Park (Friday 9am – 9pm, Saturday, 10am – 9pm) and at Festival City (Sunday to Saturday, 4pm – 10pm).

• If you are in the mood for online Christmas shopping, the Saffron Souk is an online creative community and local marketplace where you can find a range of craft items and décor handmade in the UAE.

Mumsbuzzar is also an online platform for UAE mumpreneurs, where you can find a range of handcrafted products as well – including festive crocheted decor, hand-carved wood items and more.