Christmas and New Years are celebrated in Dubai with such glory that you’ll never want to be in any other place during these festivities. Every place in Dubai is lit up for Christmas, with shopping malls pulling out all stops to set up special snow ball zones, festive corners, games and giveaways and much more for kids.

Grownups aren’t left behind, though; there’s much planned for them this Christmas in Dubai with every club vying to put up a Christmas extravaganza to beat anything you’ve experienced before. As we see it, Dubai is the ideal place to spend Christmas. Where are you spending the holidays this year?

Best Things to Do over Christmas in Dubai: A Perfect Holiday Destination

1. Be A Part of The Winter Garden Market at The St. Regis Dubai

If you’ve not seen this before, then you simply must see it. The St. Regis Dubai Gardens are set to transform into an enchanted winter wonderland again this year, and there’ll be fun galore for everyone. There will be themed activities and entertainment for kids and adults alike. If that weren’t enough, a number of food stalls and retail stores wait to entertain, satiate and satisfy you. The winter wonderland is from the 29th November to 26th December.

2. Participate In The Dubai Winter Festival

The Dubai Winter Festival is a magical weekend of festive fun that’s conducted from December 6th to 9th at the Dubai Media Amphitheater. Take your family to Santa’s grotto in the white wonderland, do some retail therapy at the winter market, watch the tree lighting ceremony, join a snowball fight, experience the fun fair, build a snowman and enjoy live stage performances.

3. The Great British Christmas Ball

The British Business Group is kicking up its annual Great British Christmas Ball on December 7 on the British Embassy’s grounds in Dubai. Don’t miss the event which begins at 7 P.M. and is likely to run till the early hours of the morning. A full traditional British Christmas dinner awaits you, complete with Christmas pudding and Yule log.

4. Peppermint Massage

Feeling excited yet? The Heavenly spa at The Westin has put together a 50-minute peppermint-infused massage that’ll get you smelling just like Christmas. What’s more, you get to snuggle up later in a warm robe with a cup of homemade dark hot chocolate in your hand.

5. Christmas Special At Atlantis The Palm

The Cirque de Cuisine: The Festive Edition will take place on December 7th this year, from 7 P.M. to 11 P.M at the Atlantis, The Palm. It’ll be followed by an after party at The Avenues that’ll go on till 3 A.M. as well. What’s waiting for you is this:

  • Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen’s terrace will be transformed into a white Christmas market, complete with snowmen, festive games, snow everywhere and picnic tables and candy cane stilt walkers
  • There’ll be a magnificent festive choir singing all your favorites underneath a giant wreath arch at the entrance
  • A huge snow globe will be suspended from the ceiling that you can actually climb and snap a selfie.
  • The Lost Chambers Aquarium will be turned into Christmas Grotto underwater. Your kids can get down there and write a festive postcard to Santa. What’s more, they can give it to Santa and his elves right there to post overseas to family. Book your tickets online here.

6. Light Up The Christmas Tree At The Irish Village

At the Irish Village pub and restaurant, an enormous traditional Christmas tree is put up with all the decorations by the first week of Christmas. On the 4th of Christmas, a traditional Christmas Tree Lighting takes place where your entire family can participate. String the lights, create your own fun light combinations and enjoy the seasonal mulled beverages and home-baked mince pies while you have fun. Everyone sings Christmas carols as well, so join in! Lighting the Christmas tree at the Irish Village is one of the best things to do in Christmas in Dubai.

7. The Annual Christmas Jumper Party

Get your cheesiest festive sweater ready for December 14th annual McGettigan’s Christmas Jumper Party. You can buy a cheesy sweater or make your own but make sure it’s cheesy as all hell. The plus here is that anyone in a festive, cheesy jumper is sure to get a free drink. Plus, the more creative your jumper, the more prizes you’ll win at the cheesy jumper contest.

8. Fort Island’s Festive Market

Madinat Jumeirah welcomes its annual Festive Market this year, from December 15th to 27th. It’s a 1,750 square meter winter wonderland that’ll welcome you on the 15th at Madinat Jumeirah. It will feature a Germanic Festive Market complete with girls dressed as Gretchens, and beer frothing from the mouths of real German steins. There’ll be all these thrills to look forward to:

  • Exciting rides and dozens of slides and games
  • And abra boat rides with Santa
  • A north pole train for kids
  • A giant snow ball zone for the kids and adults

This Christmas and New Year, there’ll also be a shimmering interactive LED Christmas tree. Santa will make an appearance all the way over from the North Pole between 5 to 7 P.M. every night.

9. Festive Cookie Decorating At Vida Downtown

Be sure to get your kids to Vida Downtown on the 16th for some festive cookie making. Let them get their hands sticky and yucky decorating giant gingerbread cookies. They can make cookies for themselves and for Santa who’ll be visiting Vida Downtown at Christmas. Of course, there’ll be tons of toys, balls, plenty of edible glitter, yummy colorful icing, and holiday chocolates.

10. Festive Market at La Farine

Get to La Farine on December 3rd and participate in the building of the giant gingerbread house, to be prepared from more than 600 kilograms of flour, 150 kilograms of sugar, 500 kilograms of honey, 30 liters of milk, and 60 kilograms of spices, 250 kilograms of icing sugar, 150 eggs and five liters of lemon juice. The whole place is going to smell like spicy gingerbread!

The gingerbread house is expected to be completed within a day. The La Farine festive market sells roasted chestnut carts, hot chocolate vans and other hand-crafted cakes along with delicious spiced mulled grape by Gelly Kalouta.

11. Ripe Park Markets

Dubai is holding Ripe Markets at various places, such as the Zabeel Park, Al Barsha Pond Park and Le Méridien Mina Seyahi markets. From Wednesday December 7 all the way to Christmas Eve, all these daily markets will be selling Christmas-themed items and will be decorated for Christmas. There’s going to be craft workshops, and stalls selling all manner of Christmas goodies. Santa’s Middle East reps, the BabySouk Soukettes will be collecting letters from the kiddies to send on to the North Pole. What’s more, each kid will receive a personalized response from Santa himself and soon!

12. Christmas at Dubai Parks And Resorts

Dubai Parks and Resorts is gearing up for the Christmas and New Years’ season in every possible way. Don’t miss the Fireworks by The River event that’ll be on every Friday in December. Riverland Dubai is all set to light up the sky as night approaches. Watch this amazing show from one of the 40 restaurants and shops in Dubai Parks and Resorts. The stretch of 1 kilometer of manmade river will be lit up all along with colorful fireworks to ring in Christmas and New Year. Legoland is also planning gala events every day and gifts galore to winners. The whole of Dubai Parks and Resorts will glitter with white like a magical Christmas snow land. Take a boat tour on the river and enjoy some amazing views of the fabulous fireworks at Dubai Parks and Resorts.

13. Admire the gingerbread replica of the iconic Burj Khalifa 

Those of you who will be travelling though Dubai International Airport can join the festive season in Dubai upon arrival. This season you can admire the gingerbread replica of the iconic Burj Khalifa by Address Dubai Marina.

A 14 meter high gingerbread replica of the Burj Khalifa is decorated with gift boxes and lights, occupying a central place in Concourse B at Terminal 3.

The project created by Address Dubai Marina’s culinary team lead by Head Chef Avinash Mohan and six engineering professionals meticulously constructed the show stopping replica in 432 hours. The tasty replica is made from over 30,000 gingerbread panels, using 180kg of flour, over 1,600 kg of icing sugar, 216 litres of honey and 23kg of ginger powder.

Check out this fantastic creation at Terminal 3, Dubai International Airport.

14. Festive celebration tasting menu at At.mosphere Restaurant, Burj Khalifa

Join us at world’s highest restaurant, At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa for an exceptional and memorable festive experience. Indulge in a seven and five course set menus of decadent delights, celebrating the essence of seasonal flavours paired with the best of sea and land. Treat yourself to a magnificent gourmet festive menu featuring Foie Gras Au Torchon with Smoked Eel and Apple, Obsiblue Tartare with Caviar, bergamot and kaffir lime, Dover Sole with Crayfish and Guanaja Chocolate Paired with Passion Fruit, Mandarin Orange and Cardamom for desserts, complemented with live music and spectacular views of Downtown Dubai.

Date: 24 December evening to 25 December 2017

Entertainment: Live Violinist

Timings:  Lunch – 12:30pm to 2:30pm; Dinner 6pm to 10:30pm

Price: Seven-course set menu (window table) – AED 1250 per person including a glass of sparkling beverage; Five-course set menu (non-window table) – AED 1050 per person including a glass of sparkling beverage. Pre-payment required, 48-hour cancellation policy.

15. New Year’s Day Lunch at At.mosphere Restaurant, Burj Khalifa

Start the New Year with panoramic vistas of Dubai while At.mosphere Restaurant, Burj Khalifa serves its signature à la carte and multi- course set menu featuring delicious international dishes and a selection of scrumptious desserts. The array of delicacies are inspired by the most impressive of flavours found across the globe that emphasise on freshness and seasonality whilst offering an extraordinary touch of At.mosphere mastery for all discerning tastes. Also, attending guests will stand the chance to win luxury prizes to make the evening further special.

Date: 1 January 2018

Entertainment: Ambient music

Timings: 12:30pm to 2:30pm

Price: Five-course set menu (window-table) – AED 720 per person, Three-course set menu (window-table) – AED 600 per person, Two-course set menu (non-window table) – AED 450 per person.


Christmas and New Years are globally-celebrated occasions. Dubai is an international city with a huge population of expats. When you’re in Dubai during Christmas and New Year, you’ll simply forget that Dubai is an Islamic city.

The whole city gears itself up to celebrate Christmas with such verve that you’ll just love the spirit that’s behind it. Just head to Dubai right now and spend the whole of December there, enjoying wonderful events for the kids and for you every day. No other city puts up such an extravagant display of festivities the way Dubai does during Christmas!

Pin for later… 

Best things to do in Dubai over Christmas

Article written by Neha Singh.