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While it’s true that Christmas in Dubai may not be as prominent as in other major cities such as New York or London, visiting the city during the month of December all the way to January will still get you in the holiday mood.

Immediately following the National Day of the UAE holiday on December 2nd, the emirate transforms itself into a Christmas wonderland to welcome the coming festivities. Almost overnight, the streets of Dubai are magically illuminated by colourful lights emanating from the many events, activities and shows taking place throughout the city.

So while snow may not fall on the desert anytime soon, the myriad of places to visit and things to do in Dubai and the UAE during Christmas promises an unforgettable end-of-year experience under the winter sun for you and your loved ones. 


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Dubai is home to one of the most diverse expatriate communities in the Middle East, and in terms of Christmas activities and celebrations, the city definitely does not disappoint. From Christmas shopping bonanza to Christmas-themed performances, Dubai offers everything for everyone. 

Visit Christmas markets

Not a lot of people are aware that lively Christmas markets aren’t limited to countries like Germany or Switzerland. Case in point, Dubai regularly hosts these charming markets come to the start of December to just before Christmas.

To know more about the exciting Christmas markets in Dubai, refer to our article below.

Dubai Christmas Markets 2023: Must-Visit Festive Markets in Dubai This Year


Take part in the Dubai Shopping Festival

Starting from 15 December 2023 to 29 January 2024, you can take part in the fabulous Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF). This eagerly awaited family event is not only popular among UAE residents but also among shopping connoisseurs of the world. 

You can take advantage of the hefty discounts, participate in raffles and explore the various malls around Dubai. For more information, we recommend visiting our dedicated article on the topic.

The Dubai Shopping Festival (2023 & 2024) is Here — Get Ready for the Most Anticipated Celebration in Town!


Christmas is also about worship

Last but not least, those looking to spend a quiet and contemplative moment will find a wide variety of churches available. Although the UAE is an Islamic country, Dubai offers a number of churches for nearly every single Christian denomination.

From Russian Orthodox Churches to International Baptist Church, from the beautiful Catholic Church in Downtown Dubai to the Evangelist Singing Winners Chapel, devoted Christians will find no trouble in finding an avenue for them to engage in solemn worship.

Abu Dhabi

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Apart from Dubai, Christmas is also widely celebrated in Abu Dhabi. There are probably more Christmas trees here than in any other emirates. Abu Dhabi simply loves celebrating Christmas, as reflected in the decoration of the city’s numerous shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and Christmas markets.

Swiss Christmas Market at the Beach Rotana

The Swiss Christmas Market brought the dazzling alpine Christmas tradition to Abu Dhabi in 2022. The four-day-long event featured wooden chalets that provided decorative gifts and culinary delights unique to Switzerland, such as raclette and cheese fondue. A collection of kids’ activities was also available.

Christmas gift hunting in Abu Dhabi’s excellent malls

Malls in Abu Dhabi are no slouch, even when compared to Dubai. Those looking to procure Christmas gifts for their loved ones will find themselves spoiled for choice due to the variety of available items offered by the various shopping malls. From high-end shopping to obscure traditional items, Abu Dhabi provides an excellent shopping experience.

Winter Wonderland on Al Maryah Island

One of the highlights of the season is the Winter Wonderland event on Al Maryah Island. This event brings a touch of magical seasonal fun to the city with beautiful decorations, roaming entertainment, a winter village, and the opportunity to meet Santa. The event runs from the 9th to the 31st of December, 2023.

Winter Wonderland at Snow Abu Dhabi

A new addition for 2023 is the Winter Wonderland at Snow Abu Dhabi at Reem Central Mall. This event includes a Santa Grotto, a Santa meet and greet, a Christmas goodie bag, and a hot chocolate.

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