The best way to kick-start those festive feels…

Please note that as of December 7, What’s On has received a notification from the mall that Santa visits have been booked up for the duration of the festive period and will no longer be available.

Winter Wonderland is back at Abu Dhabi’s The Galleria Al Maryah Island.

There are ‘festive-themed sensory rooms’ located on level two of the mall, by the Food Court, and at the rooftop Family Park. The whole family will be able to dive straight into a magical Christmas experience with giant candy canes, air filled with the aroma of fresh gingerbread, sleighbells in the ‘snow’ – and presumably therefore ‘children’s faces all aglow’.

The Mall’s made-for-Insta Winter Village is one of the quickest ways we know to funnel the festive spirit straight into the bloodstream. An enchanted wilderness of giant baubles, illuminated reindeer and a central, nine-metre high Christmas tree.


The Galleria is also home to two of the few regional North Pole mail outposts, so the kiddlywinks can pop-in and send off their letters to Santa. But only if they’ve been good this year, and let’s face it, lockdown tested us all.

You’ll find the letterboxes on level three at Central Kitchens, and at the Winter Village on the ground floor.

Mingle with Kringle

Or if your wee-ones fancy a more personal way of delivering their Christmas wishlists, you can book them a meet and greet with the Man in Red on the website.

Frank chats with Father Christmas and his elves are available from Saturday to Wednesday between 10am to 9pm, and for Thursdays and Fridays it’s from 10am to 11pm.

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Kids will also be able to get a contactless keepsake of their time with Santa, a photo, emailed directly to them on the spot.


Because this is a very special year, with special challenges and special considerations, we shouldn’t expect this special time of year to be any different.

Social distancing and the wearing of masks is still essential and The Galleria Al Maryah Island has put in place a number of measures to help limit crowding, ensure social distancing and a 360 degree level of the highest hygiene standards.

Sale-ing through the snow

As of December 10 we’ll also get our first look at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Shopping Season. A massive new retail festival set across malls and shopping districts in the capital, with huge sales, promotions and unique shopping experiences.

Expect The Galleria to go hard. Snow joke.

Images: Provided