Christmas In The Desert
From snow to sand.

I grew up in Romania, where winter temperatures are below minus degrees. Most Christmases are covered in a blanket of snow and ice. Germany was the same.

They say that this is part of the Christmas magic, and I couldn’t agree more.

However, since 2015 I haven’t seen snow, ice, nor felt the cold, and I was celebrating Christmas in the desert. Not sad at all, as I am not a big fan of low temperatures anyway.

I was home for Christmas with my family in Bucharest in 2011 – 10 years ago. The reason is that the flight tickets are super expensive, it’s too cold for me, many of my friends are not from Bucharest so they would be away. Plus, my family never pushed me to be back there for the holidays.

This year I will be celebrating the 7th Christmas in the UAE.

So, how is it to spend Christmas in the desert? For me, it feels like an early fall with a twist of a festive season. Frankly, I find it perfect for someone who doesn’t want to spend this period wrapped in layers of clothing and desperately trying to warm up in front of the fire.

During this time, I don’t wear flip-flops, nor do I go to the beach.

When I was moving to Dubai, I also thought I would never buy boots or sweaters. And I didn’t in the first 2 years. But later on, I felt like winters here are not that warm.

It is sunny most days, but it’s chilly in the evening and freezing cold at night in the desert. What is very funny for me is that it’s so easy to distinguish the ex-pats from the visitors. The crowd living here is wearing winter clothing and the tourist’s summer ones.

Suppose you are looking for alternatives to spend this holiday in 25 degrees or new in the UAE. In that case, the possibilities of having a wonderful white Christmas in the desert are endless.

12 Tips On How The Festive Season Looks Like In Dubai
Some online guides mention that in December, Dubai is hot and dry. It’s not true. If you come from a cold country, you will love it, and indeed it is not humid like in summer. But it’s far from being hot… It’s warm and pleasant during the day and lovely in the evenings, and very suitable to sit outside, which would be challenging to bear in a month like July.
All hotels are beautifully decorated and have their Christmas trees gorgeously embellished. My favorite by far was and will always be Jumeirah Al Qasr.


Best Dubai Hotels


All over December, most of these hotels have a Christmas tree lighting ceremony (each having a different day and timing). Usually, they serve hot cocoa, mulled wine, and gingerbread cookies, and it is all paired with a band singing Christmas carols.


Christmas in Dubai


Every year we have a few Christmas Markets in Dubai. And I find the idea of a Christmas tree next to a palm tree very exotic and different.The Winter Market at Habtoor Palace. Because I have lived in Europe for so long, I know what a good real Christmas Market means in Germany, France, or Austria. I just have to say that this particular market needs some improvement.It is not that bad for a change, and if you are visiting, it is worth a try, but I hope to see it improve in the next few years. Inshallah … (hopefully in Arabic)Madinat Jumeirah’s Festive Market – my favorite so far. It is more expansive, and the decor is different, maybe because Souk Madinat is a beautiful place. There are plenty activities for little ones, excellent festive food and beverages.

This year from Dec 10 – 21, we have a new addition hosted by Bab Al Shams Desert Resort. Haven’t been yet but it looks pretty awesome!

Note: eating and drinking are pricy. If in Berlin a mug with mulled wine is 2.5 Euros and for 3 Euros you can keep the beautifully themed cup as well, in Dubai you will pay 8-10 Euros, and you will drink it from a plastic cup.

Madinat Jumeirah’s Festive Market


Suppose you are new to Dubai and don’t feel like cooking. In that case, many hotels nowadays offer the option of a takeaway turkey paired with several side dishes and dessert.I bought one from Fairmont Hotel the Palm a few years ago, and I must say it was a delight and beautifully wrapped.So lay back, enjoy the holidays and let others do the job.Yes, welcome to Dubai.

Places where you get get turkey in Dubai


Dubai it’s a Muslim place that celebrates Christmas in style, and brunches are like a trademark of our city. This concept was reinvented here like no other. Most of them are on a Friday all year long from 1 pm – 7 pm, but the hours vary depending on the venue. Nowadays, we have Saturday brunches as well, and some locations organize it later in the evening, not during the day.And of course, in December, without a doubt, we will have Christmas brunches all over the UAE.I know it might sound weird to be out on Christmas Day, but this holiday means spending time with family and friends at home for most Christians. But remember, most of us are here without our parents or siblings, and our family is our group of friends.Prices start from AED 300 and go up to AED 800 or even more for lavish ones. You will indulge with the classic festive dishes in addition to an international buffet or a la carte menu.

A total delish!

Dubai might be a Muslim city. However, it is very open and tolerant with its ex-pats and tourists. All they expect in return is respect, and I think it’s a fair trade.St. Mary Church in Oud Metha is an option to attend the Christmas mass, and it is easy to reach with the metro.Also, if you are orthodox, you can go to Christ Church in Jebel Ali. 
Business as usual, guys. Supermarkets, shops, malls, restaurants, bars – all open.
Proudly, Dubai is the home of the first Middle East indoor ski area called Ski Dubai, conveniently located in the Mall of the Emirates.So spending your morning by the beach and the afternoon or evening hitting the slopes isn’t this a dream vacation? Best of both worlds.
Going for Christmas to the beach sounds so exotic, especially if you come from a cold country. Plus, why not spend this Christmas in warm and beautiful Dubai.I’ve been talking to many people that expressed their concern about coming to Dubai for holidays. Well, Dubai is Dubai – very permissive and celebrating everything. There are so many nationalities and religions here, and it is such a wonderful, tolerant place.Therefore, if you plan your winter holidays in a warm, sunny, beautiful place, Dubai is the place to be.
One of the top things to do on Christmas in Dubai is to attend a Christmas-themed concert at the iconic Dubai Opera. The Sound of Christmas Te Nutcracker  

Dubai Opera Schedule
Dubai Opera Christmas Schedule
We all celebrate together Christians with Muslims like one big family, and the overall vibe is fantastic. My best Christmases were here in the UAE. I was (still am) surrounded by beautiful people, presents, decorated houses, gatherings, yummy food, parties, brunches, palm trees, warmth, and love. So much happiness for me.Would you spend your winter holidays in Dubai?
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