Dubai: It's evening in Satwa.
Four trucks on Hudaiba Road are laden with fresh Christmas trees, ready to be shipped to stores and homes across Dubai nine days away from Christmas.
"These ones came fresh from refrigerated containers the other day," said Vicky V., who runs the Fresh Flowers outlet in Satwa, one of several such outlets on the road. "They have been selling like hot cakes."
Similar refrains can be heard from neighbouring stores where many are scouting for fresh fir trees imported from Holland or elsewhere. Global slowdown or no, expatriates are definitely in no mood to cut down on decking up their homes.
Vicky said they had already sold more than 400 fresh Nordman fir trees shipped from Canada. Prices range from Dh150 for a two-foot tree to about Dh5,000 for a 15-foot tree.
Outside Spinneys on Al Wasl Road, about 20 fresh Christmas trees are ready to be picked up by their owners - mostly western expatriates. Ben, a British engineer who snapped up a massive fresh nine-foot fresh tree for Dh470 at Spinneys, said: "It's been a long family tradition to have a real tree at home."
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China-made artificial trees are not to be outdone. Yan Dee, a Dragon Mart shopkeeper, said they sell around 15 trees each day [during the season], with the 5.5-foot model jazzed up with fibre-optic lights for Dh250. "Most of our buyers are Indians and Filipinos," said Dee.
An executive at Home Centre told XPRESS their 1,000-plus stock of five- to eight-foot Christmas trees quickly ran out since they started the Christmas sale in mid-November at their 12 outlets across the UAE.
"We're supposed to be in the middle of an uncertain period… but people want bigger Christmas trees. Out of the 1,000 trees we stocked, only 64 of five- to six-foot artificial ones are left," said the executive.
The priciest artificial Christmas tree costs a hefty Dh4,195 apiece ($1,140). It looks very much like the fresh one with generous amounts of holiday ornaments and jingle bells lights. The One, a furnishing store has managed to sell about a dozen of these trees so far.
Wish to have an upside down Christmas? Why not try overturned trees, modestly priced at Dh350 and available at The One?
"It's not meant for hanging… It does come with a stand," said Tomas Lundgren, "chief emotional officer" of the chain.
The 2.3-metre upturned Christmas tree, introduced by The One three years ago, literally stands on its head.
Such trees had their origin in 7th century Europe, when families used to hang a fir tree upside down from the ceiling to symbolise their faith.
Not everyone is amused. "I wouldn't have an upside-down Christmas tree at home by any stretch of imagination," vowed Leslie, a teacher in Dubai.