Complete Guide to Celebrating Christmas in Abu Dhabi 2024

How to bring some seasonal magic to your expat posting in Abu Dhabi

A concern of many Christian families when they first hear they will be posted to a Muslim country is, “will we still be able to celebrate Christmas?”.  

Or are you seeking some winter sun over December and wondering if there will be any festive events going on in the UAE? 

It might surprise newcomers and visitors just how many festive celebrations you will find in Abu Dhabi. In this guide, we will help you with:

This post is part of our Expat Life series – come and read more above living in Abu Dhabi as well as things to see and do in the UAE 

Christmas Decorations how we celebrate Christmas in Abu Dhabi

Pre-Christmas Celebrations in Abu Dhabi

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the city will start to come alive with winter festivity.

Conveniently, the country’s national colours of Red, Green, White and Black fit pretty neatly into the traditional colours of Christmas – so as soon as the National Day holidays are finished (2- 4 December), attention in the retail stores and hotels becomes solely about Christmas.

What is there to do in Abu Dhabi at Christmas? Christmas Markets, Events & Performances

Winter Wonderland – Al Maryah Island

While the outside temperatures might not feel wintery (you can expect around an average of 26 degrees celsius for Christmas Day), the Winter Wonderland event on Al Maryah Island does its best to bring a touch of magical seasonal fun to the heart of the city.

The Galleria promises a range of festive delights, including beautiful decorations, roaming entertainment, a winter village and the opportunity to meet Santa himself!

The Winter Wonderland occurs outside on the waterfront between the Rosewood Hotel and the Four Seasons. There will be live performances, an ice-rink, activity huts and lots more!

You can visit the Winter Wonderland from the 9th to the 31st December 2023.

Flying reindeer and santas sleigh at the galleria mall abu dhabi

You can usually visit Santa from around the 10th December until the 24th December between 10am and 10pm. Full details are yet to be confirmed but booking is usually necessary and we would advise that you book early!

For more details visit the Galleria website.


Worried you will have a full house at Christmas?  Look at these options for apartment hotels in Abu Dhabi for your extra guests


Winter Wonderland at Snow Abu Dhabi

Brand new for 2023, A long-standing classic family festive event in Dubai can now be found at the new branch of Ski DubaSnow Abu Dhabi at Reem Central Mall.

Here, you’ll find a Santa Grotto, with a Santa meet and greet, including a Christmas goodie bag and a hot chocolate included. 

The Illusionists Magic of the Holidays

A bit of a different type of event for the Abu Dhabi festive season: join a thrilling night of holiday magic at Etihad Arena from disappearing acts to magic tricks and breathtaking feats. Suitable for all ages.

You can see The Illusionists from the 8th to the 10th of December 2023. Note that there are both matinee and evening performances. Tickets start at 95 AED and are available here.

Dear Santa

Little ones can enjoy an adaption of the iconic children’s book Dear Santa at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation on the 10th December. There are two showings, one at 3.00pm and another at 6.00pm.

The production is suitable for children over the age of 2. For more information click here.

Breakfast with Santa

A special Christmas treat at Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi, this family-focused event will take place every weekend in December. Join in with storytelling, Christmas Carol singalongs and a chance to meet Santa Claus himself at this wonderful event which is sure to get your younger kids into the Christmas spirit. 

You can join Santa every Saturday & Sunday throughout December from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Children 2-3 years AED 75, children 4-16 years AED 100, adults AED 125 – purchase tickets on VirginTickets

Christmas Market Stall

Le Royal Meridien Jingle Bells Family Craft Market 2023

Start the festive season at Le Royal Meridien on the 2nd of December from 1 to 8pm.

Supporting local female artisans and entrepreneurs, the WE Market by WEADS brings a great family afternoon event to the grounds of Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi. With over 70+ vendors displaying their wares, plus plenty of kids’ activities and a chance to meet Santa, this is one of the best Christmas Markets in Abu Dhabi. 

Entry is free.

St Joseph’s Christmas Festival 2023

This annual parish event brings a whole day of festive activities, shopping bizarre, food stalls and fun activities for the kids. From 10am on Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th December 2023.

Entry is free.

Abu Dhabi Golf Club Winter Market 2023

On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between the 9th and 24th December, you can enjoy a festive winter market on the Falcon Terrace at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. There will be live music, christmas carols and a kids area with inflatables as well as a Photo Booth for capturing that all important festive snap. There is an entry fee of 10 AED but this includes pool access.

For more details click here.

Aldar Santa Chase – Saadiyat

Santa will touch down at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club on the 9th December before leading runners through the bunkers. The Santa Chase is followed by a 5K race for anyone who wants to build up their Christmas appetite. Santa hats or suits are strongly recommended! Click here to register or find out more.

Abu Dhabi Mall Festive Market (TBC for 2023)


Yas Island Christmas Events

Yas Winterfest

This fantastic 5-day festive family event taking place at Yas Gateway South Park, will bring guests plenty of seasonal singalongs, festive activities, gingerbread-making sessions, and a snow park. The adults won’t miss out either with the Kibsons Festive Cook School and lots of fun fairground rides. There’s also the chance to meet Santa as well as a nightly fireworks display.

Yas Winterfest will take place from the 6th to the 10th December 2023 from PM to PM (Tree lighting 6:30 PM daily; Fireworks 9:00 PM daily)

Advance sale prices: Kids (4-12 years) 10 AED, adults 25 AED (extra activities chargeable) – buy tickets in advance on PlatinumList

It is likely that there will also be Christmas themed events at Yas Marina and Yas Bay Waterfront as there have in previous years.

Ferrari World will also be hosting its own ‘Winterfest’ celebrations from the 8th December 2023 until January 7th 2024, which will include live acrobatic performances, a mesmerising ice-skating spectacle, an interactive snow playground, arts and crafts and a gingerbread factory (tickets sold separately). Learn more about Ferrari World here

You can also celebrate Christmas with Batman and Bugs Bunny at Warner Brothers World’s Winter Spectacular! There are beautiful decorations and magical Christmas shows, as well as lots of other festive treats. The celebrations for 2023 will start on the 8th November and will run until the 7th January 2024. For more details, click here.

Polar Fest

Another new winter adventure can be found at SeaWorld. From the 8th of December until the 7th of January 2024, you can escape into the Polar Ocean realms of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi for an unforgettable festive experience. 

There will be character performances, the chance to visit the Christmas village and see the big man in red himself. You can also get up close and personal with some of SeaWorld’s polar residents.


Adult Christmas Events in Abu Dhabi

As well as festive family events, there’s no shortage of holiday events just for grown ups. In the past various venues have offered Christmas Karaoke, adult only discos and fun festive sweater competitions. There have also been Christmas Murder mystery nights, masquerade balls and numerous Christmas cocktail evenings. We will update this section when more information becomes available.

Christmas Karaoke and Disco (TBC 2023)

Fun Festive Sweater Evening (TBC 2023)

Murder Mystery at the Office Christmas Party (TBC 2022)

Christmas Bake Sales & Festive Stalls

Many hotels will host Christmas Bake sales alongside their Christmas Tree lighting ceremonies, gingerbread workshops and other festive activities. Some of the tastiest treats can be found at the Rosewood Hotel and at the Emirates Palace Hotel until the end of December.


Christmas Carols and Religious Services

The most famous run in the city is by St Andrews church, their annual Carols in the Desert. 

You can read a full write up on this event here.

Sadly this wonderful event had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and may no longer run as the key organisers have left the country.  Please look up their Facebook page here to see if the situation changes.

Grace Evangelical Church ran their own Carols in the Desert from 4.00 pm until 8.00 pm on the 9th of December 2022. Nothing has yet been planned for 2023. Please check their Facebook page for the most up-to-date details.

You will also find carolers at many of the tree-lighting events and Christmas Day Brunches we list below.

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies taking places in Abu Dhabi

Tree Lighting Ceremonies in Abu Dhabi

A fun evening for the kids can be attending annual tree-lighting ceremonies at various hotels all over town. There are often carol singers, mulled wine and mince pies and sometimes even a visit from Santa Claus! Here is a list of some of Abu Dhabi’s most beautiful Christmas trees:

  • 3 December 2023 Saadiyat Beach Golf Club 6pm-10 pm
  • 6 December 2023 The Beach Rotana 5pm.
  • 6 December 2023 Khalidiya Palace by Rotana 5pm
  • 7 December 2023 St. Regis Saadiyat Island resort 5.30pm.
  • 7 December 2023 Fairmont, Bab Al Bahr 7pm – 9pm
  • 7 December 2023 Dusit Thani, 6pm – 9pm
  • 8 December 2023 Hilton Yas Bay 6pm.
  • 8 December 2023 The Grand Hyatt, 6pm
  • 8 December 2023 The WB, Yas Island 5.30-6.30pm
  • 8 December 2023 All Yas Plaza Hotels 6pm.
  • 8 December 2023 Conrad, Etihad towers 7pm – 8pm
  • 9 December 2023 The Emirates Palace 6pm
  • 9 December 2023 St. Regis on the Corniche 6pm
  • 9 December 2023 Yas Links Golf Club 6-7pm
  • 10 December 2023 Abu Dhabi City Golf Club
  • 15 December 2023 Yas Acres Golf and Country Club 6-10pm.

These were the ceremonies that had been confirmed at the time of writing. More will be added as soon as more information is available.

Always check directly with the venue to confirm timings and whether booking is necessary. Some events may involve a fee whilst others are free.

The impressive Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Christmas Tree
The impressive Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Christmas Tree

Where can you get a photo with Santa in Abu Dhabi in 2023?

Other than at the events mentioned above, Santa will also visit many of the city’s malls. These were the locations and dates for meeting the man in red in 2022:

WE ARE CURRENTLY AWAITING DETAILS FOR 2023

  • Abu Dhabi Mall
  • Galleria Mall
  • Yas Mall

Yes, some of these Santas seem to work very late at night, but as you will see, being here a while, it’s a very stay-up-late culture, and Santa crosses over all races and religions when it comes to kids’ entertainment! Don’t be surprised to see yourself in line with children in national dress. 

Santa Grotto Yas mall
Santa’s Grotto at Yas Mall

Please check back in December 2023 for up-to-date information about where to see Santa this year

Gingerbread Activities in Abu Dhabi

A festive family favourite in Abu Dhabi is attending a Gingerbread workshop or party. These are a great chance to work together as well as a chance to scoff lots of sweeties!

Gingerbread House Workshop at the Emirates Palace 2018

Gingerbread House Making Workshops 2023

The following Gingerbread House making workshops have also been confirmed for 2023:

  • The St. Regis on the Corniche will host their gingerbread house-making workshop on the 8th December 2023 at 3.30pm. The cost is 195 AED per child. The St. Regis Christmas tree lighting ceremony will also take place on the 8th, so you might want to stick around!
  • The Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana will be letting kids express their creativity from 4pm on the 9th and 10th December 2023.
  • The Anantara at Eastern Mangroves from 6 to 8pm on the 15th December 2023, at a cost of 150 AED (TBC). Children will also enjoy a visit from Santa.
  • The Ritz-Carlton will have separate workshops on December 10th, 15th, 17th, 22nd and 24th 2023 with a fee of 179 AED per house.
  • A gingerbread house making workshop has also been confirmed at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island resort on Saturday 16th December 2023 at 1pm.
  • The Saadiyat Rotana Resort will host gingerbread house workshops on December 10th and December 17th 2033 from 3pm-5pm at a cost of 165 AED per child.
  • The Emirates Palace – TBC. Contact the Emirates Palace for more details.
  • Jones The Grocer will be offering a Gingerbread House decorating at their Al Mamoura, Al Muneera, Khalidiyah and Al Raha branches. The workshop costs 149 AED and includes everything that you need to make a gingerbread house. The same branches will also offer classes for making reindeer brownies and Christmas biscuits. For more details click here.

Note: Always book in advance for these sessions! The fee is per child but if you enquire nicely, siblings may be allowed to share one project. 

Festive Afternoon Teas in Abu Dhabi

A new sensation in Abu Dhabi is enjoying an afternoon tea in the lead-up to Christmas, with all sorts of bite-sized festive-themed treats, you’re sure to get into the Christmas spirit. These are some of the best afternoon teas in Abu Dhabi:

  • The Ritz Carlton will be serving up a lovely festive tea from the 5th of December 2023 to the 9th of January 2024 2pm to 5pm, 175 AED per stand.
  • Conrad at Etihad Towers will transform their impressive lobby into a stunning winter wonderland this holiday season. A festive afternoon tea can be enjoyed either in the lobby or in the Observation Deck at 300. Prices start at 230 AED per person.
  • St. Regis on the Corniche – The beautiful Crystal Lounge is the venue for this delightful festive afternoon tea. Prices start at 195 AED per person. Available from the 4th to the 30th December 2023, from 2pm until 6pm. On Saturday 9th December, you can even enjoy afternoon tea on the helipad from 550 AED per person.
  • The St. Regis, Saadiyat will have a ‘Yuletide’ afternoon tea throughout December with lots of festive flavours for 195 AED.
  • The Shangri-La’s award winning afternoon tea has gone Christmassy for the festive period, with mince pies, Yule logs and other traditional favourites. You can enjoy Santa’s Afternoon Tea from the 3rd December 2023 until the 7th January 2024 at a cost of 150 AED per person.
  • The Westin will have festive afternoon teas from December 1st 2022 between 2pm and 6pm. Prices start at 150 AED for two people.
  • Maglis at The Rosewood will have a ‘Winter Inspired Afternoon Tea’ with nutcracker cookie decorating for the kids from the 25th of November 2023 until the 15th of January 2024. Prices start at 210 AED per person.
  • The Hilton on Yas Island will be offering festive afternoon tea in its Osmo Lounge from the 1st December 2023 until the 6th January 2024 priced at 250 AED for two.
  • The Emirates Palace will have an extravagant Christmas afternoon tea at Episodes restaurant during December. Prices start at 285 AED per person.

Note: Afternoon tea needs to be booked at least 24 hours in advance.

Other family events

Maker Space in Al Zeina usually host a variety of crafty Christmas themed workshops including wooden gingerbread house making in December. You can find out more by phoning 02 558 8624. The cost is usually around 200AED per family. Suitable for ages 4 and up.

Shopping for gifts and supplies in Abu Dhabi

Yes, you can get Christmas decorations and other supplies in the UAE. They may not be as plentiful as in some other countries, but you do not have to dig deep to find them. Year after year, more and more is becoming available. Our top tip is to buy things when you see them.

ACE Hardware store is well known for having their plastic trees and decorations ready from about September!

You will also find most of what you need in Carrefour, Lulu’s and many other supermarkets and speciality shops (including Pottery Barn, Marks and Spencer (Yas Mall and Marina Mall Branches) and West Elm) from November. You can also try reliable old IKEA! 

Not saying items are particularly cheap, but they can be found.  Daiso is one of the better budget options but you do get what you pay for.

Shopping for your ornaments, trees and other christmas supplies in Abu Dhabi is getting easier

As for Christmas presents for the kids – don’t suppose you’ve got anyone arriving from overseas shortly? While we have plentiful malls with international brands, expect to pay top dollar.

Some big companies do deliver direct to the UAE, and you can use Shop & Ship services, but by the time you add shipping cost, and import taxes – it may well be cheaper to buy your flight overseas, stock up with full suitcases and bring them back.  Plan ahead from the summer! before!!


Related Reading: 15 Christmas Facts and Traditions around the world


Christmas Day in Abu Dhabi

Now not forgetting it is still a Muslim country, Christmas Day is NOT a public holiday.

That said, with children on school holidays, a lot of understanding employers will allow their Christian employees a day of leave – but not all.

(Psst, one awesome thing is all the shops are still open! So forgotten batteries, Santa fails, last-minute lunch details, no problem!)

Christmas Brunch in Abu Dhabi

If you think Saturday Brunch is a big thing in Abu Dhabi, wait until you see Christmas Brunch!  Hotels will pull out all the stops for one of the most spectacular spreads of the year.  Save the cooking for another day and have someone else do the dishes!

Almost every hotel will have some variety of Christmas lunch but the popular ones will book out early (normally by the end of November/early December) and require full payment upfront to guarantee your seats.  You will find most have a Christmas Eve option, too.

(Always when booking something like Brunch, check if tax is included, and cut-off ages for children discounts)

Christmas Brunch with choir welcoming at Fairways, the Westin Abu Dhabi
A choir welcomes diners to the Fairways Brunch at the Westin Abu Dhabi

Here are a few of our favourite Christmas brunches for families – thanks to our many readers for these suggestions over the years:

THIS LISTING IS NOT FULLY UPDATED FOR 2023: SOME DETAILS BELOW MAY STILL REFLECT 2022 PRICING

Ritz Carlton – Giornotte Christmas Brunch 2023

A spectacular spread across Giornotte Restaurant including turkey and Wagyu beef through to lavish desserts. Santa will also be making an appearance – in previous years he has arrived on camelback! As well as all the traditional Christmas trimmings, don’t forget they also have Abu Dhabi’s finest cheese room!

Prices start from 699 AED rising to 899 AED for premium bubbles. Children 6-11 50% off, under 6 free.

Timing: 1pm to 4pm Monday 25th December 2023

Jumeirah Saadiyat – White Christmas Brunch 2023

A beautiful beach-side brunch with a wide variety of Christmas treats. Each table also gets to decorate their own gingerbread house. There’s indoor and outdoor seating and lots of treats in store!

Prices start at 580 AED for the soft drinks package, with outdoor seating rising to 850 AED for bubbly. Kids aged 6 to 11 pay 290 AED.

Timing: 1.00pm – 4.30pm Monday 25th December 2023. There will also be an Orthodox Christmas Brunch served on January 7th.

Westin Abu Dhabi (next to Abu Dhabi Golf Club) Christmas Brunch TBC for 2023

An incredibly popular family offering at the Santalicious Brunch at Fairways restaurant at the Westin. The action spills from their usual Friday Brunch setting at Fairways, onto the balcony, then a chilled vibe on the lawn. There’s usually a big lineup of kids’ entertainment, games, a bouncy castle and a visit from Santa.

Kids enjoying the extra entertainment at the Westin Christmas Brunch

Prices start from 495 AED for the soft drinks package rising to 795 AED for the Champagne package. Children from 6-12 are charged 245 AED. 

Timing: 1.00 pm – 4.30 pm, Sunday 25th December 2022*

It looks like the Westin might only be holding an evening brunch in 2023. We are waiting for more details but will be back with updates!

Fairmont Bab al Bahr Christmas Brunch 2023

The Fairmont will be offering a fabulous international market themed buffet brunch with live cooking stations, chilled seafood, pizza and pasta as well as a turkey station that will feature stuffing and cranberry sauce!

There will be live entertainment, kids activities and a visit from Santa.

Prices starting from 355AED for the soft drinks package rising to 430 AED for house beverages. Children 6-12 165 AED, Under 6 free. Pre-booking is required with a 20% deposit.

Timing: 1.00 pm to 4 pm, Monday 25th December 2023

(Every time we have booked as a group at Fairmont we always get return vouchers to come back and use the pool!)

The Fairmont Bab al Bahr, Abu Dhabi | Discover the UAE Hotel Review | OurGlobetrotters.Com

St Regis Abu Dhabi – The Terrace Christmas Brunch 2023

The family brunch at the Terrace on the Corniche is back this year with a diverse array of international dishes and all your festive favourites.

The Terrace brunch starts at 450 AED per person for a soft drinks package rising to 850 AED for the champagne package.

Seafood restaurant Catch is also offering a Christmas Day brunch starting at 450 AED.

See our review of the regular Terrace on the Corniche Brunch & a Christmas Staycation here

Timing: Monday 25th December 1pm to 4pm

St Regis Abu Dhabi during the Festive Season
Spectacular gingerbread creation in the St Regis foyer

The Four Seasons – Crust 2023

One of the best buffet brunches in the city is going al out for Christmas 2023. As well as a buffet spread full of festive favourites, there will be a number of specials served directly to the table, including butter-poached lobster and turkey roulade.

Prices start at 410 AED for the soft drink package rising to 690 for bubbly. Children under 6 pay 50 AED whereas children 6 to 12 pay 200 AED.

Timing: 12.30pm until 4pm, Monday 25th December 2023

Conrad at Etihad Towers 2023

Get one of the best views in the city up high at the Nahaam/Sole Christmas Day mega brunch. Prices start from 535 AED rising to 895 AED for the premium drinks package, children 6 to 12 years 200 AED, under 6 free.

A good alternative may be brunch in the new Pachamama restaurant.

Timing: 1.00pm -4.30pm, Monday 25th December 2023

Aqua at the Rosewood 2023

An awesome family brunch at any time of year, Aqua really pushes the boat out at Christmas. The Christmas roast will include turkey and all the trimmings as well as succulent roast beef and Yorkshire puddings! Children are usually very well taken care of at the Rosewood and we’re sure Christmas will be no exception!

Prices start at 255 AED for the soft drink package, rising to 455 AED for champagne.

Timing: 6.30pm – 11.00 pm, Monday 25th December 2023


Related Reading: Abu Dhabi’s Best Family-Friendly Brunches 


Christmas Turkey Takeaway

Still want Christmas at home but someone to help with the heavy lifting?  Why not look at some Turkey cooking (and delivery) options.

These are just some of the venues we know will do a preparation service – though we are struggling to find ordering details for some. You are best to call and get their packages and delivery timeframes.

  • Abu Dhabi Golf Club (056 536 2230)
  • Al Raha Beach Hotel (02 508 0555) available until 31st December 2023.
  • Capital Centre Arjaan (02 495 4444)
  • Anantara Eastern Mangroves – Ingredients (02 656 1166) available until the 8th January, from 650 AED.
  • Beach Rotana (02 697 9011)
  • Conrad Etihad Towers (02 811 5666) available until 31st December 2023.
  • Courtyard by Marriott 5th Street Cafe (02 698 2222)
  • Crowne Plaza (02 656 3000) available until 7th January 2024.
  • Dusit Thani (02 698 8898) available until 20th December 2023.
  • Erth Abu Dhabi (02 497 5208)
  • Fairmont Bab Al Bahr (02 654 3333)
  • Four Seasons (02 333 2222)
  • Hickory’s Yas Links (02 404 3000) available until the 29th December 2023, from 499 AED.
  • Hilton Yas Island (052 547 6318)
  • Jones the Grocer – various locations (800jones@jonesthegrocer.com) until 1st January 2024, from 795 AED.
  • Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana – (02 657 0167)
  • La Cuisine de Manou (056 732 2519) available until 31st December 2023.
  • Le Meridien (02 644 6666) available until 30th December 2023. Prices start at 250 AED.
  • Marriott Al Forsan (02 201 4131) available until January 7th 2024.
  • Park Hyatt (050 740 5323)
  • Ritz Carlton – (02 818 8203) available until the 2nd January 2024.
  • Radisson Blu Yas Island (02 656 2000) available until 7th January 2024.
  • Radisson Blu Al Ain (056 685 3832)
  • Rosewood (02 813 5520) available until the 28th December 2023.
  • St Regis Abu Dhabi (02 694 455) available until January 7th 2024, from 450 AED.
  • Jumeirah Saadiyat (02 814 342) available until the 10th January 2024.
  • St Regis Saadiyat – The Drawing Room (02 498 8888)
  • Saadiyat Beach Golf Club – Hawksbill (056 660 8780) available until 29th December 2023, from 499 AED.
  • Saadiyat Rotana (02 697 0000) available until 8th January 2024, from 625 AED.
  • Sheraton Abu Dhabi (02 677 3333) available until 25th December 2023, from 499 AED.
  • Shangri-La (02 509 8513) available until 7th January 2023, from 505 AED.
  • Sofitel Abu Dhabi (02 813 7777)
  • Southern Sun (02 818 4888) available until the 7th January 2024.
  • The Director’s Club (02 815 000) available until 25th December 2023.
  • Westin – The Lounge Festive Hampers (02 616 9999) available until 30th December 2023.
  • W Abu Dhabi – W Lounge (02 656 0600)
  • Has Acres Golf Club (050 757 4808) available until 29th December 2023, from 499 AED.

Make sure you book super early on (like November) as some of the best, most convenient mealtime slots disappear fast!

Most restaurants will require a minimum 48 hours notice up to 7 days and might give early bird booking discounts.

Expect anywhere from 400 – 750 AED roughly depending on the size of the bird and trimmings (and from experience, the trimmings are never enough vs size of the bird;  be prepared with emergency backup supplies)

For Christmas 2023, Conrad at Etihad Towers will be offering a complete Christmas turkey hamper serving 8-10 people for 899 AED. This includes turkey, turkey chipolatas, herb-roasted potatoes, parsnips and carrots, brussel sprouts, sage and apricot bread stuffing, turkey gravy, cranberry jelly, mince pies and crackers. Additional sides can be added from 70 AED. There is also a roast beef option starting at 980 AED to serve 10 people. In addition you can order a delicious Christmas pudding for 100 AED, or a chocolate Yule log for 210 AED.

Pallet Picnics

Why not do something a bit different and enjoy your takeaway turkey with a pallet picnic set up from In the detail events? This small Abu Dhabi-based company can also organise Murder Mystery and Escape room dinner parties to keep you all entertained this Christmas.

For more details, click here.


Christmas Staycations

We await details of staycation packages for 2023

If you are seeking a “home away from home” here are a few options of resorts in the UAE that will include a special spread for Christmas to make it a truly unique event:

Ritz al Wadi Desert Resort

Head over to the beautiful deserts of Ras al Khaimah for a truly unique experience.  As well as your desert resort stay, there are two Christmas Eve brunch choices this year at the Kaheela Restaurant or at the Farmhouse, which has magnificent Desert views.  Musical entertainment, Santa & his helpers and a live jazz band set the tone.

There are also gingerbread making workshops on the 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 23rd and 24th December (145 AED) as well as Festive Afternoon Tea at The Farmhouse on selected dates.

Christmas Eve Brunch from 325 AED at Kaheela and 480 AED at Farmhouse.

Check here for current accommodation pricing for the Ritz over Christmas.

Ritz Al Wadi Desert Christmas

We talked about why the Ritz is one of our favourite Desert Resorts here


Qasr al Sarab, Liwa Desert

Anantara Qasr al Sarab Best desert resort in the UAE

Deep in the desert dunes, Qasr al Sarab is synonymous with desert luxury in the UAE, and what more unique way to celebrate the festive season than in the opulent surrounds of this desert resort.

Santa will arrive at Al Falaj, Qasr Al Sarab’s Bedouin venue at 4.30pm on Christmas Day. A fantastic festive dinner will be available afterwards at the Al Waha restaurant from 550AED.

Alternatively, dine under the stars of the empty quarter with Dinner in the Dunes, an opulent Bedouin spread with live entertainment from 425 AED, from 6pm.

There is also a lunch option for those with little kids who would like to dine earlier at Ghadeer with an a la carte menu.

Learn more about Qasr al Sarab Christmas Events Here  |  Check current prices for Christmas accommodation here


Got overseas visitors to impress over Christmas?

There are two unique UAE events that coincide with Christmas that can add a wonderful local spin to your festive plans.  We recommend you add these to your visitor bucket list in December:

Al Dhafra Festival

The Al Dhafra Festival is held in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi every December to celebrate the culture and traditions of the Bedouin people. The event has now expanded to cover several locations in Abu Dhabi emirate.

Events range from date packing to goat milking, Saluki racing to camel racing – but our favourite event and the one that draws competitors from across the region with huge tribal support and massive prize money is the Camel Mazayna – a camel beauty competition.

You’ve got to see it to believe it, an utterly unique and incredibly warm and welcoming event for foreigners to embrace more of the UAE culture.

You can read our tips for taking kids to the Al Dhafra Festival here, as well as a Beginners Guide to the Al Dhafra Festival (know thy camel!). Getting an official timetable or up-to-date information in English has always been a challenge!

Al Dhafra Festival & the Camel Beauty Contest | Discover the UAE | OurGlobetrotters.Com

Zayed Heritage Festival 

Held in Al Wathba just outside of Abu Dhabi city presents a great opportunity to continue the festivities and traditions that surround National Day into the winter months.  Through song, dance, food and craft, experience the UAE in-depth and the international cultures that make up the country.

There are also modern elements, including nightly light and laser shows, fun fair, fireworks displays (Thu, Fri, Sat evenings 8pm) and a daily World Heritage Parade at 5pm.

More of the UAE Outdoors

Don’t forget it’s also the coolest time of year in the UAE which makes it just perfect for getting out and exploring all over the Emirates without the stifling heat. 

We have a bumper list of ideas on how to keep the whole family entertained outdoors on our sister website Family Travel in the Middle East

Make sure you grab your downloadable checklist to keep your winter months brimming with ideas.


More Abu Dhabi Expat Resources

Don’t forget to check out our full collection of articles about expat life in Abu Dhabi, including:

Got more questions or want to continue the conversation?  You can connect with the Globetrotters Page on Facebook, we also run a local kids activity page on Facebook called With the Kids to help stoke your weekend and after-school ideas.


Helpful?  Bookmark this page or save it to Pinterest

How to celebrate Christmas in Abu Dhabi, UAE. An extensive listing of festive celebrations across all religions in the UAE capital every December

Do you have a favourite way to celebrate Christmas living in the UAE?  We’d love to hear more about how you celebrate abroad – or do you prefer to head home with family & friends each year?

Disclosure: This post is in no way sponsored by any of the places mentioned.  It is editorial content only, not a review or endorsement of any of the services. All opinions, as always, remain our own. This page contains some accommodation affiliate links that may provide a small commission to us if you make a booking, but at no extra cost to you.  You can see our full disclosure policy here.

© Our Globetrotters

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3 thoughts on “Complete Guide to Celebrating Christmas in Abu Dhabi 2024

    • Our Globetrotters says:

      We’re updating the 2021 guide as we get responses from all of the venues, some are very late to provide the information this year.

  1. fakhar says:

    This is just so amazing and the tips that you have mentioned for us really worth to plan the best celebration. I heard that people in UAE won’t celebrate the festival and i was thinking what to do because planning from Christmas to New Year, i have booked tickets to Dubai so had a second thought on listening that not celebrating the news. But thankfully you have noted something that boosted me again. Thanks for the info.

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