Snowball fights, markets, stage shows, Santa’s grotto and more – there’s many ways to get into the festive spirit in the capital this month. Here’s our pick of the festivals taking place in the emirate

Winter Wonderland on Al Maryah Island

Every year, The Galleria and The Promenade on Al Maryah are transformed into a festive village, and this year is no different – there’ll be a tree-lighting ceremony on December 14, at 7pm. Kids can visit Santa in his grotto daily until December 24 and there’ll be festive flashmobs performed by professional dance troupes, plus a winter show inspired by Disney’s Frozen. There’ll also be slides in a slope park, a snow zone and a bungee trampoline.
December 14 to 26
Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, daily 3pm to 10pm. Taxi: The Galleria. Tel: (02) 6166999.

Winterfest at Ferrari World

The Yas Island themepark becomes a winter wonderland to celebrate Christmas, for the fifth year in a row. There’s snow slides for kids to try, plus an ice skating show called Fairytales On Ice featuring seven international performers. There’s also an elf school and kids can hang out with Bjorn the Polar Bear in a snowy play area.
December 15 to January 6
Ferrari World, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, timings vary. Taxi: Ferrari World. Tel: (02) 4968000.

Winterland Carnival

Back for a second year, this child-friendly carnival is part of Yas Island’s winter celebrations and will feature a snow park with a snowball zone, a magical forest, funfair games, and rides such as bumper cars and a snow tubing ramp. There’ll also be a local market selling arts and crafts plus a selection of food trucks. It’s open late on the last day, New Year’s Eve, and will be hosting a fireworks display.
December 27 to 31
du Forum, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Wed to Sat 2pm to 10pm, Sun 2pm to 12.30am, free. Taxi: du Forum.

The New Year’s Eve Countdown Village

Making its debut this year is the Countdown Village. It’ll have live music, a fireworks show, 50 F&B outlets, a balloon park, glowing kites and a graffiti wall. There’ll be a concert on NYE with local, homegrown performers playing, plus a laser show. The singers performing on NYE are Egyptian star Tamer Hosny and Emirati singer Hussein Al Jasmi.
December 28 to 31
Breakwater, Corniche, Abu Dhabi, timings and prices TBC. Taxi: Breakwater, near Marina Mall. Tel: (800) 5000.

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