Dubai: Decorations, feasts and get-togethers are underway as residents of different faiths celebrate Christmas.
Pakistani expat Mustafa Tin, 35, who is creative director at Tin Sports, said Christmas is dear to his heart.
“I went to university in the US for four years. Christmas is a huge celebration in the US. Plus I had so many friends there. Every year we would celebrate Christmas. That tradition just stayed on. So even today my wife, kids and our friends all have a little Christmas celebration at home,” he added.
This year Tin invited friends and cooked traditional Christmas dishes himself.
“I set up a Secret Santa corner in my house and we all exchanged gifts. It was such a cute celebration.”
He said: “Christmas is a global festival. Children love the idea of having a Christmas tree at home decorating it and exchanging gifts. It’s a time to be merry.”
Inspired by daughter
Indian expat Shuchi Singla, 42, an IT consultant, said her daughter Nayonika inspired her to celebrate Christmas at home.
“When Nayonika was 10 she came home one day asking me for a Christmas tree. She is 16 now and till today we celebrate Christmas. Every year, we bring a tree home, decorate it and wrap it with gifts. Celebrating with the family has brought the whole Christmas spirit back,” Singla added.
The Christmas celebration at home have added to the joy of the school winter holiday, she said.
“There was so much excitement during the holidays right from selecting a tree, buying gifts, preparing special Christmas treats. It’s all so fun. Since then we started celebrating Christmas each year. During this time our entire family looks forward to the festivities. Christmas is as grand as Diwali for us.”
She added : “Nayonika and my son Sourish make the Christmas cards for our family and friends. We place the cards near the Christmas tree. We also make ornaments for gifts as it gives a personal touch. It is our gifts for our family and friends. It is so much fun, we literally wait for this every year. Christmas has created a meaningful sentiment in our lives.”
Jordanian mother-of-two Asil Alnoty said Christmas is a yearly celebration for their family as they have many friends who celebrate it.
“My children love Christmas - the idea of opening present, exchanging gifts, decorating the Christmas tree. This is something we do as a family. Christmas for sure is a time for being merry and we do a complete job of it. Also it is a holiday time. So as friends and families we all get together to socialise, partake in authentic Christmas dishes,” she added.
“Christmas has positive vibes. The energy is so festive, it brings a lot of cheer in everybody. It truly is a global celebration.”
‘Soaked in celebration’
Malvika Varma, also from India, who is head of human resources at Prime Healthcare Group, said: “We always enjoy celebrating all the festivals and Christmas is a big one for us. This is the time when the whole world is soaked in celebrations and naturally the festive spirit also fills us up with a new zeal and exhilaration to spread the cheer.”
She added: “Every year, we set up a Christmas tree and invite our friends and kids in the neighbourhood to celebrate it. Especially exciting is the whole act of buying secret gifts and putting it under the tree and then opening them on Christmas morning.
“This has been a ritual in our family for decades. Dubai, being the cosmopolitan city that it is, every year dresses up for Christmas and you can see the festive spirit in the malls and all around. I love the cheer and happiness Christmas brings.”