Celebrating the Holiday Season in the UAE

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uae-holiday2Living in the Middle East makes it a little difficult to find a Candy Cane Lane during the holiday season in the UAE. As friends and family post their photos of their trips along the lane to see the best of decorated houses set to music, I get a little nostalgic for home. However, the United Arab Emirates had its own light spectacular happening all over the country during the holiday season (lucky for us!)
In 1972, the United Arab Emirates came to be on December 2nd, when a treaty was signed with Britain, creating the union of seven separate emirates. The emirates are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Sharjah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah. Every year, on December 2nd, the country celebrates National Day, the anniversary of the UAE coming together. This year was the 41st National Day, and it just keeps on getting better!

uae-holidaycarWhat’s the best part for us Westerners? The colours are red, green, white and black…similar to Christmas! Everything is draped in red, green white and black. EVERYTHING! Light posts, statues, buildings, cars, people…it really does feel like the holiday season over here. Of course the stores and malls also have Christmas trees, Santa and Christmas decorations catering to the Westerners, but as far as twinkle light lit streets…we’ve got them too…thanks to this local holiday.

If you’re still looking for more of a traditional Christmas treat, one of our favourite experiences here has been visiting Santa at Wafi Mall in Dubai. They have a different theme each year. The first year we went, it was all about snow where each child received a little snowman gift from Santa. Last year, they had toy soldiers everywhere, complete with oversized drums. You guessed, it, the kids all received little plush soldier bears. This year was adorable…a Christmas village and everyone received a plush puppy.

souq1We chose to go on the opening night with Santa’s arrival and the Christmas tree lighting. It’s a brilliant way to welcome in the holiday season, and Santa is truly the best. After your visit with the jolly man, head outside to see the Christmas light show projected on the walls of the courtyard. It always brings a tear to my eye to see how delighted my kids are.

There are many ways to celebrate the holiday season over here, no worries. Come and enjoy what the UAE has to offer for your next holiday season!