Sponsored: Meditations on a very merry XmYas…

It’s beginning to look a lot like… Well not Christmas, this is Abu Dhabi – blue skies, sandy beaches, gleaming tower blocks, theme parks, and absolutely zero native reindeer. But if you are trying to get into the festive, we’ve actually got some creative ideas for you and we’re not talking about resorting to wrapping tinsel around a mangrove tree.

No. It’s the Santa sack full of merry madness going down at Yas Plaza Hotels this holiday season. Want to know more? Join us on a sleigh ride straight through some of the best ways to ensure your XmYas is very very merry this year.

Santa’s Stopover #1 – Belgian Café, Radisson Blu

There’s a traditional Belgian flavour to the festive feasts on offer at this beloved Euro pub. The three-course meal includes tender beef stew, croquettes, and did somebody yell timber? Because dessert is chocolate log cake. The Christmas tune soundtrack will come from a live singer.

Belgian Cafe at Radisson Blu Hotel, Yas Island, Dec 24 and 25 6pm to 11pm, soft Dhs259, house Dhs359, kids over six Dhs129. Tel: (02) 656 2000, @bbcyasisland

Santa’s Stopover #2 – Amerigos, Radisson Blu

Santa’s next stop on the festive fun tour is this Latin hot spot. Enjoy Amerigos’ Mexican family-style festive fiesta, ‘Noche Buena Weekend’ — a brunch with a whole lot up of fuego food and entertainment up its chimney. There’ll be live cooking stations, beverages, a live band, piñatas to let all that holiday (inlaw) stress out on, a visit from Santa, and other kid-friendly engagements.

Amerigos at Radisson Blu Hotel, Yas Island, Dec 24 6.30pm to 10.30pm, Dec 25 12.30pm to 4.30pm, soft Dhs259, house Dhs359, kids over six Dhs129. Tel: (02) 656 2000, @amerigosyasisland

Santa’s Stopover #3 – Filini Garden, Radisson Blu

Father Christmas and his elves have a cheeky trio of attractions for you on this Italian itinerary-stop. Those taking part in the Filini Garden festivities can also take part in the traditional Italian pastime of tombola, with the chance of winning amazing prizes.

On Christmas Eve (Dec 24) there’s an evening meal (6pm to 11pm) appointment with authentic Italian fare, signature beverages and a live singer. Priced at Dhs259 for soft, house is Dhs359, and kids over six are Dhs129.

On Christmas Day (Dec 25), there’s a special seasonal edition of the Garden Brunch (12.30pm to 4.30pm), brought to you in conjunction with Assymetri. This supersized Yuletide banquet includes a big ol’ buffet, live carvery and bespoke beverage stalls. Kids entertainment comes in the form of a magician, face painting and, according to a North Pole insider closeto the What’s On team — there’s rumoured to be a visit from old Babbo Natale (Santa) himself.

And if you’ve been particularly good this year (or at least good at being naughty) you can score an invite to the Christmas Day after-party (4.30pm to 7.30pm), with more signature seasonal sips and a live DJ, all for just Dhs159.

Filini Garden at Radisson Blu Hotel. Tel: (02) 656 2000, @filinigarden

Santa’s Stopover #4 – Stills, Crowne Plaza

Stills could very well be the last stop on your search for Christmas spirit this year. In addition to all their brunching and partying, there’ll be an actual British caroling group serving up traditional acapella Christmas bangers. A ‘we’re walking in the air’ kind of vibe.

The Christmas Weekend Daydream Brunch is the star on top of the venue’s festive offerings and drops on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (12.30pm to 4.30pm). It’s ‘stills’ the same awesome brunch, just with a festive twist. Traditional eats, live beats from the International Playboyz, party games, face painting, a bouncy castle and surprise gifts from old mate, Santa and a special performance by elves to delight kids. There’s also a chance to win entry to the New Year Party at Stills. Priced at Dhs229 for soft, house is Dhs329, and kids over six are Dhs89. Those looking to extend festive festivities a little longer can also get free flow pours at an after party between 4pm and 8pm.

For Xmas Eve celebrations with a pitch-perfect twist, we’d point you in the direction of the Stills Christmas Karaoke and Disco Night with DJ Shahara (Dec 24, 8pm to 11pm). Party packages include a two hour free flow on drinks (Dsh99), and a three hour brunch with unlimited barbecue snacks and salads (Dhs99). Kids over six are Dhs50.

Stills at Crowne Plaza, Yas Island. Tel: (02) 656 3066, @stillsyasisland

Santa’s Stopover #5 – Barouk, Crowne Plaza

Christmas brunch (Dec 25, 1pm to 5pm), but make Lebanese. That’s all Santa wants this year. Enjoy the unconventional double act of turkey and ouzi, accompanied by the soulful sounds of an Arabic singer and keyboard player. The soft package is Dhs200, premium drink option Dhs300, kids between two and six can join in for just Dhs80.

Barouk, Crowne Plaza, Yas Island. Tel: (02) 656 3064, @baroukyasisland

Santa’s Stopover #6 – Rangoli, Yas Island Rotana

Rangoli is proposing a spicy British-Indian fusion based Christmas evening feast this year (6pm to 10pm). Their Taste of Christmas extravaganza includes such tantalising delicacies as Malai Turkey Tikka, Turkey Roghan Josh and more. Soft drinks option Dhs189, house Dhs289.

Rangoli, Yas Island Rotana, Yas Island. Tel: (054) 709 1444, @rangoli_yasisland

Santa’s Stopover #7 – Blue Grill, Yas Island Rotana

Blue Grill at Yas island Rotana

The final port call of Santa’s round-the-world Yas Plaza itinerary is ‘the Americas’ — a little ‘steakation’, well deserved after all that high-pressure present distribution.

On Christmas Eve (Dec 24, 6pm to 10pm), there’s a meat feast on the table at Argentinian steakhouse, Blue Grill featuring premium cuts from the USA, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The three-course meal, puts tender beef cooked to your preferred ‘cuisson‘ in centre stage, with a selection of seafood and because t’is the season — some deeply indulgent desserts to end on.

Blue grill, Yas Island Rotana, Yas Island. Tel: (02) 656 4155, @bluegrill_yasisland

Images: Provided