Dubai, being a city located in the Middle East, Arab region, prevalently Islamic environment…one would think Christmas won’t have a place in its book. Wrong. I bet first time visitors and expats who come during Christmas time has that little fear of losing the Christmas feeling just because they have landed in an Islamic country. I had the same worry three years ago.
Every year, Dubai makes all the needed preparations and decorations to welcome Christmas and make the atmosphere Christmas-sy to foreign residents who celebrate it. There are Christmas trees in most (if not all!) malls and hotels. The photo above was taken inside Radisson SAS Hotel in Deira. The streets are lit up. There are lots of Christmas events like annual Christmas tree lighting or meeting with Santa which is always a hit for the kids.
December is a very comfortable month, weather wise here in Dubai so with the festive events and decorations around, it’s a great opportunity to roam around the city to see the lights in our light jackets. Needless to say, Dubai is kind and generous to all faiths where locals (UAE residents) and other non-Christian friends nonchalantly greet us Christians “Merry Christmas!” instead of the ‘politically correct’, “Happy Holidays”. I love that.
When compared to Japan, Dubai has a much better edge to giving that Christmas feeling. The Catholic/Christian churches even hold a Christmas masses to celebrate.
The only downside? December 25 is a normal working day (we can always take a leave if we like), just like in Japan. Thankfully, December 25 falls on a Friday* this year so I’ll probably be staying home, watching Polar Express or opening the gifts with my daughter.
* Fridays are our normal day-off every week.