Dubai: With Christmas around the corner, many residents are going in for real trees over cheap plastic ones in Dubai.
Christmas trees, usually a pine or fir variety, are imported to Dubai from Canada, the US and other countries during Christmas time.
Although they are sold in large stores such as Ikea, Ace, Home Centre and Spinneys, one street in Dubai — Al Hudaiba Road in Satwa — is popular with seasonal shoppers buying real Christmas trees from small shops.
Small real Christmas trees — three to five feet in height — start at around Dh250, climbing all the way up in price and height to around Dh5,000 for a 12-footer.
Plastic trees are much cheaper on average, starting at less than Dh10 for a four-feet tree to over Dh1,000 for a 12-footer, prices quoted online by UAE stores show.
Still, some shoppers prefer to celebrate Christmas with a real tree.
“We prefer a ‘fresh’ tree for Christmas. It’s a family tradition of ours to have a real Christmas tree. We usually travel outside the UAE for Christmas, but this year we’re celebrating the festival in Dubai. I came to Satwa to find a real tree,” said German expat Angelina Steinberg.
“I like the variety in the size and price of trees here [on Al Hudaiba Road]. I think an eight or nine-footer will go nicely for our villa.”
Harshad, an employee of the National Flowers shop located on the street, said the Noble, Fraser and Nordmann varieties are the most popular. The shop’s customers include people who live in apartments, villa owners, hotels, churches and corporates throwing up a Christmas party.
“Our tip for shoppers is: water the tree with 7up and ice cubes as it keeps the tree fresher and makes it give off a nice smell,” Harshad said.
Sanju, a salesman at the Al Madina Gardens shop, said: “The good thing about shopping at a smaller shop like us, compared to the big stores, is that we will open the tree for you so you can inspect it. Sometimes a tree looks good when it’s closed — tied up — but when you open it up, it’s not the same. There can be big gaps between the layers of branches or it’s really not in that typical cone Christmas-tree shape.”
Shopkeepers said sales of the trees continue even after the December 25 Christmas Day as many Christians from Russia and Egypt celebrate Christmas on January 6.