Are you looking for amazing holiday destinations to spend Christmas? The Islamic Middle Eastern city of Dubai may not seem like the most obvious choice, but actually, the iconic Emirate transforms into a Christmas winter wonderland that would make Santa’s elves proud.
Christmas breaks to Dubai are a great way to spend the holiday season, with a blend of traditional festive markets, winter fun and beautiful Christmas displays around the city’s hotels and malls. Dubai Christmas holidays also give you the chance to experience all the luxury of this spectacular city, while also enjoying fun alternative festive activities like water sports.
And of course, while the UK’s best theme parks and shopping centres close early for the holidays, many Dubai attractions stay open throughout, such as the Wild Wadi Water Park and the Burj Khalifa! In this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on Christmas in Dubai and the reasons why you should book your dream winter escape to this amazing city:
Some people can get hung up on the idea of a ‘white Christmas’ and find the idea of Christmas in the sun to be a little alien. However, if we’re being honest, we haven’t had a truly white Christmas in the UK for the best part of a decade. So why not celebrate in the glorious sunshine instead of a cold, rain filled UK December.
December is a great time to visit Dubai, even for those who don’t celebrate Christmas. The temperature ranges from 23-27°C throughout the month, which is warm enough to enjoy the beaches, but cool enough for everyone to enjoy. This is great as the temperature can reach the mid 40s in the height of summer making Dubai too hot for some. In fact, November to April is one of the most popular times to visit!
Aside from the presents, Christmas dinner is by far one of the most important parts of the holiday season. If missing out on your seasonal roast is halting your plans to visit Dubai during Christmas, we have some encouraging words of advice.
Firstly, it’s still possible to find pork in Dubai, despite it being a Muslim Emirate. While eating pork is prohibited for Muslims, many butchers in the city still cater to Western tastes. This means that you’ll still be able to enjoy pigs and blankets and pork stuffing with your Christmas dinner!
Of course, you won’t be expected to cook or wash up during your Christmas Dubai break. Instead, we recommend treating yourself to a gourmet Christmas meal in one of Dubai's many five-star restaurants. You’ll find seasonal delights and tasty Christmas fare at some of the city’s best-loved haunts, including The Ivy, Perry & Blackwelders and Bistro Des Arts.
As these restaurants are licensed, you’ll be able to enjoy both pork and alcohol - there’s no need to tread on tradition!
So now that the food and the weather issues have been put to bed, the more stubborn UK Christmas defenders may claim that “it just won’t feel like Christmas!” But quite the contrary, Dubai really puts in the effort to capture the feeling of the holiday season, with its very own winter festival.
The Dubai Winter Festival will be celebrating its 6th year in 2016 at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, between the 8th and 10th of December. The Winter Festival is an outdoor celebration of all things Christmas. There’s a traditional Santa’s Grotto, where children can meet the big man himself, as well as festive performances, a winter market, a fun fair and much more, with added artificial snow for authenticity!
Shopping in Dubai is a great experience no matter what time of the year, but Christmas is when the city’s malls and markets really come alive. You can expect incredible decorations, grand store displays and plenty of Christmas trees during your Christmas Dubai shopping spree.
Dubai’s love of shopping is well evidenced in its many malls and markets, including the spectacular Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Souk Jumeirah. A vast selection of designer stores, exclusive boutiques, antique sellers and traditional stalls await you here, with everything from Gucci dresses to Persian rugs on offer.
The tax laws in the Emirate also mean that most things are cheaper than they are in the UK, although it’s worth reading up on our Christmas shopping in Dubai guide for more information about VAT and duty.
Dubai has also made shopping fun for kids as well. Most shopping centres in Dubai boast a number of amazing attractions and activity centres, including the cinemas and children’s play centres. Looking for a festive day out on the ice? Head to the Dubai Ice Rink at the Dubai Mall. Alternatively, head to the Mall of the Emirates for a the most fun you’ve ever had at Ski Dubai - the UAE’s first and best indoor ski centre.
If Christmas holidays in Dubai appeal to you why not take a look at our Dubai holidays page for all of the best offers on trips to Dubai in December? Alternatively, check out our blog for more Christmas ideas and seasonal holidays.