Christmas in Dubai: What’s it Like?

Living in Dubai Christmas

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.

Living in Dubai Christmas

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.


  1. The Pictures are so pretty! Alot of people have their christmas lights up in the neighborhood, I love it! My sister wanted to compete with my aunt and uncle next door but I dont have the mney to invest into that tpe of stuff right now not including how much the electric bill go up! I will sit on my couch and admire the eghbors through the window! lol

    Happy Holidays!



  2. Ah Dubai, such a gorgeous and wonderful place. should be on everyone’s top travel list. You have a lovely blog. thanks.

    Just in case your expats get homesick for New York City we have a post about the 55 best places to view the NYC Christmas Lights.
    .-= Christmas Lighting NYC´s last blog ..Eating NYC =-.



  3. Thank you so much for always giving us an insight into Dubai’s Christmas practices. I love how you always give us lessons on other cultures with gorgeous photographs. I think the UAE has it right with the way they accept the expats into their society – not like the USA, who tries to be so politically correct, and ends up excluding everyone.
    Thanks so much for being you and so wonderful!
    .-= Lorie Shewbridge´s last blog ..Cartoon of the Day: Parents, Be Specific =-.



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