Christmas Abu Dhabi

How do you celebrate Christmas in the desert? Try carols, Sir Ben Kingsley and Santa on a camel

Christmas Abu Dhabi
All December

Cloud Nine (winner of best bar and pub food at our Eating Out awards) is offering a glass of bubbly and half-a-dozen oysters for Dhs135 for the whole of the festive month. The smooth jazz may eliminate any sense of Christmas spirit but, when in Abu Dhabi, do as the glitterati do.

December 5-16

Carols in the garden, switching on the Christmas tree lights, chestnuts, mince pies and all the usual festive stuff that looks plain weird in the desert are coming to Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi on December 5, 5pm; One to One Hotel on December 10, 6pm; Le Méridien on December 12, 5pm, and Sheraton Abu Dhabi on December 16, 6pm. Santas are included!
No booking necessary

December 6

On St Nicholas’ Day at 6pm, Abu Dhabi Theatre will play host to young musicians from the Abu Dhabi Classics Academy, who will be performing Mozart’s Toy Symphony and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf backed by Dresden’s famous Sächsische Staatskapelle orchestra. The latter is even narrated by all-round British lovely Sir Ben Kingsley.
Tickets from

December 10

In aid of St Andrew’s Church – or, more precisely, renovating the church courtyard – a special dinner is being held at the British Embassy on December 10. It’s not black tie – more come as you are – and costs just Dhs250, including dinner, entertainment and wine.
Reservations can be made on 02 446 1631

December 10-12

Held in the courtyard of Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi Hotel from December 10-12, the Swiss Christmas market has stalls, arts, crafts and its very own chocolate station (well, it is Swiss). There will be carol singers, not to mention the Alders dancers (yep, lederhosen is to be expected) – basically everything that makes the Swiss yodel and the rest of us reach for our chequebooks.
No booking necessary

December 11

Join the St Andrew’s Society’s annual Scottish Christmas carol concert. It’s being held on December 11 at the British Embassy’s private bar, The Rabbit Hutch and it’s open to everyone. Mulled wine, good food and gifts for kids (who get in free), it’s a real old-fashioned Christmas. Oh, and there’ll be the odd kilt too.
Contact Andrew on 050 288 4980 to book in advance and for price details

December 12-16

The Abu Dhabi Choral Group gets into full swing during the festive season with three carol concerts. The first is held at St Andrew’s Church on December 12 at 3pm (Dhs30) and 8pm (Dhs50). The matinee concert is especially for kids (for a start, it’s shorter), while the latter panders to grown-up nostalgia. Another concert is being held on December 16 at the Officers’ Club at 8pm (Dhs50).
Tickets available from Spinneys’ video counter or email

December 15

The Irish carol service is being held at Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi and is always a popular event. This year it is held on December 15 at 8pm where there will be the usual mixture of songs, mince pies and mulled wine for between 100 to 150 people.
Visit for more info

December 17

The Hiltonia Lake Garden is hosting a night of Christmas carols on December 17 from 6pm-8.30pm. The biggest pull for us is that Santa will arrive on camel and distribute gifts to all the kids – we do love a fat man on a dromedary. Bring a rug, we’re told – and prepare to explain to the children why the reindeer are absent.
Call 02 681 1900 for more info

December 26

There’s nothing like a traditional Boxing Day sat in front of the TV. So how about 13 TVs? Heroes plays host to every Premier League match being held that day. For those who last the entire 14 hours (noon-2am), we salute you, and, in some ways, are a little scared of you.
Entry is free, call 02 616 6122 for more details

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