Christmas events in Abu Dhabi 2014

Christmas tree lightings, gingerbread making, Santa grottos and more

Christmas events in Abu Dhabi 2014
Find your Christmas spirit

You’ve probably booked your Christmas Day lunch already, but that isn’t the only Crimbo stuff going on in the capital. Make the most of the festive season with these awesome events that will inject the spirit of Christmas into all the family. You might not be able to make a snowman in your back garden (although you can if you go to the right places – read below for more), but that’s no excuse for not fully immersing yourself in all things seasonal.

Christmas Tree Lighting

Emirates Palace
See one of the UAE’s biggest and most lavish Christmas trees at Emirates Palace. They’ve scaled back since 2011, when their decorations made a world record for the most expensive Christmas tree, but the community showing at this lighting is sure to make you a little homesick for your home holiday traditions. Christmas carollers and live music will bring home the spirit.
Free. 7-9pm, Dec 10. Main Lobby, Emirates Palace, Ras Al Akhdar (02 690 9000).

The Ritz-Carlton
Everything’s fancy at The Ritz-Carlton, so expect a lavish ceremony at its official tree lighting ceremony. Complimentary treats, carols from the choir and a visit from Santa Claus will even get the Grinch into the Christmas spirit. A fantastic way to kick off the festive season in style.
Free. From 6pm, December 11. The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, Khor Al Maqta (02 818 8888).

Al Maha Arjaan
For a little slice of Christmas delight right in the middle of town, head to Al Maha Arjaan to join in with its festive season launch. You won’t be the only one there, as Father Christmas is scheduled to pop in and say hello when the Christmas tree lights are turned on, and there will be festive singers performing your favourite Christmas songs.
Free. 7pm, Dec 11. Al Maha Arjaan, Hamdan Street (02 610 6666).

Le Méridien
Sing along with the classic holiday carols as Le Méridien’s Christmas tree lights go up in their heavily decorated Center Garden. We certainly miss the scents of warm roasted chestnuts and mulled holiday beverages that spice the air at home around the holidays, so the complimentary nuts, grape drinks, candy apples, cookies and other baked goods are welcome additions to the lighting festivities. Afterwards, stick around to listen to the live band Trio del Soul, and if you fancy, enjoy Christmas specials at one of the hotel’s many restaurants for dinner.
Free. 6pm-7pm, Friday, Dec 12. Le Méridien Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiyah (02 644 6666).

Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
One of the most beautiful spots in Abu Dhabi is getting even more picturesque on December 12 when the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club turns on its Christmas tree lights. If you live on Saadiyat then why not go down and join in with the festive fun that’s sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
Free. 7.30pm, Dec 12. Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Saadiyat Island (02 557 8000).

Westin Abu Dhabi
Light up your night at the lighting of the Westin Christmas tree on their huge outdoor lawn, sipping on plenty of delicous holiday themed beverages. The Westin Christmas choir and Santa Claus himself will also grace the event. If all of this celebration works up a Christmas appetite, join Fairways for a holiday dinner at 6pm, complimentary for your little ones under 12-years-old.
Free. 4-6pm, Dec 13. Event Lawn, Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, Sas Al Nakhl (02 616 9999).

Desert Island Resort
The Desert Islands’ Christmas tree was officially unveiled on December 4, but that’s no reason not to see the beautifully decorated evergreen in their lobby. As an added incentive, each day until December 24, there will be a complimentary lottery draw for the chance to win special gifts such as spa treatments, activities, and exclusive Dining by Design experiences.
Free. Daily 7pm, Dec 7-24. Lobby, Desert Islands Resort & Spa, Sir Bani Yas (02 801 5400).

Gingerbread Making

Emirates Palace
The kids will love constructing a huge, delicious gingerbread house fit for sweetie royalty in the shadow of Emirates Palace’s gigantic Christmas tree. With fake snow and white icing galore, you might forget you’re only a stroll away from the beach and think you’re in the middle of a white Christmas.
Dhs230 per child. 2-5pm, Dec 13. Main lobby, Emirates Palace, Ras Al Akhdar (02 690 9000).

Beach Rotana
Come and make gingerbread treats at Beach Rotana. Not only will having fun decorating biscuits keep the little ones busy for an afternoon, but you’ll also have something tasty to take home afterwards, made by your little chefs.
Price determined by amount of sweets used. 11am-11pm, Dec 3-25. Beach Rotana, Al Zahiyah (02 697 9000).

Royal Rose Hotel
Think you may have a little architect in the making in the family? Or perhaps you fancy getting a little hands on and creative yourself. On December 19, the whole family can try their hand at creating an individual gingerbread house. It’s all in good fun, and of course, you will get to take your creations home with you to devour. You might want to put some effort into it though, as there will be a competition to determine the best effort, and the winner will receive a complimentary overnight family stay at the hotel.
Dhs120. Noon-4pm, Dec 19. Royal Rose Hotel, Electra St, Al Markaziyah (02 672 4000).

See Santa

Yas Marina
The fat man in red makes a special visit to your kids at Yas Marina this year for a jolly chat and some pictures under the Christmas tree. Your kids can write Santa a letter and post it in the North Pole Mail Box; with the help of his cheerful elves, all of the kids’ wish lists will be taken care of. Santa will arrive by boat at the Marina rather than his usual mode of transport, his trusty reindeer; chalk it up to his cosmopolitan travels.
Free. 3pm-6pm, Dec 12 and 13, 2pm-5pm Dec 19 and 20. Yas Marina & Yacht Club, Yas Island (02 406 2000).

The Westin Abu Dhabi
Think Santa is too chubby to be light on his feet? We’ll let you off for thinking that, but rumour has it the man is actually pretty spry. Either way, you’ll get to find this out when the Westin has its festive season launch party on December 13. The kids will be charged with chasing Santa around the golf course, and the first one to catch him wins a prize. Other complimentary activities for kids include face painting and a candy cane hunt. Festive snacks and singing, ending with the lighting of the Christmas tree, will round off
the night.
Free. 4-6pm, Dec 13. Event Lawn, Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, Sas Al Nakhl (02 616 9999).

Other festive activities

Snowball Fight
If you find a leisurely stroll along the promenade, admiring Yas Marina’s festive decorations and Christmas Tree a little slow-paced, keep your blood pumping in a frozen winter atmosphere at the Snow Fight Zone. Warm up your cannon-arm with a friendly round of Penguin Bowling while you wait.
Dhs30 per person for 15 minutes. Open daily 12pm-7pm, Dec 5-Jan 3. Yas Marina & Yacht Club, Yas Island (02 406 2000).

Meet Frozen Characters
This isn’t a Christmas-themed event per se, but meeting a character from one of this year’s most acclaimed movies with your kids is not a bad way to spend the holidays either. Meet Elsa from Frozen, sing along with her, and settle down on the grass outside to watch the movie on the big screen. Prizes will be handed out for the best costumes, so be sure to encourage your kids to dress up as their favourite character for the special occasion.
Free. 5pm-6pm character reception and costume competition, 6pm movie, Dec19 and 20. Yas Marina & Yacht Club, Yas Island (02 406 2000).

Winter Market
Spice up your mall shopping routine at Yas Marina’s Winter Market, with more than 40 stalls selling unique gifts. Not only will you be able to break the monotony of stressful holiday shopping, but we’re sure you’ll be more inspired by the handmade clothing, cosmetics, and jewellery here, rather than the mass-made ones at all the commercial shops. As you shop in the Marina’s winter wonderland, GEMS School choir and instrumentalists will add some holiday cheer to the afternoon by performing seasonal songs around the market, so listen out and join in with all the classics when you hear them.
10am-5pm, Dec 13. Yas Marina & Yacht Club, Yas Island (02 406 2000).

The Nutcracker
Can it really be Christmas without E.T.A. Hoffman’s classical yuletide ballet The Nutcracker? Tchaikovsky’s score is one of the most iconic musical compositions this time of year, and The Moscow City Ballet is coming to Abu Dhabi for this special two-night-only performance. Transport yourself into this high-energy fairytale which is perfect to go to with the whole family, friends, or a special someone.
Tickets dhs150-650. 5pm, 8pm, December 15; 6pm, December 16. Emirates Palace, Ras Al Akhdar (02 690 9000).

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