Fill up your festive calendars with these Christmas events in Dubai… 

Christmas is less than two weeks away and if you’re spending the most wonderful time of the year in the desert, then it’s time to start booking these unmissable festive events in Dubai.

December 15 to 17: See a magical ballet

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s 1892 piece, with its dancing dolls, feisty mice and fairies – all sugared over with snowflakes and delicious music – is probably the most popular ballet in the world. See it at the Dubai Opera on December 15 to 17, brought to life by the Ballet Theatre and State Opera Orchestra of Astana from Kazakhstan.

Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, December 15 to 17, Fri 8pm, Sat 2pm and 8pm, Sun 7pm, from Dhs300.

From December 15: Madinat Jumeirah Festive Market

souk madinat jumeirah

Running from Friday, December 15 to Thursday, January 7, 2024, the Madinat Festive Market will transform Fort Island into a magical winter wonderland, opening from 3pm to late Monday to Thursday and 12pm to late Friday to Sunday. Best of all, it’s free entry for all to enjoy. As well as a traditional chalet-style market and live band, there will be plenty of festive food and drinks to fuel up on (mulled wine, anyone?). The little ones’ faces will be shining bright with a snow fight zone, bungee jumping, a North Pole train ride, and a Venetian carousel. Make memories by taking an Abra with Santa and decorating your own gingerbread houses.

Madinat Jumeirah Festive Market, Fort Island, Madinat Jumeirah, December 15 to January 7, 2024. 3pm to late Mon to Thurs, 12pm to late Fri to Sun.

December 16: Christmas Candelight concert

Welcome the holiday spirit with your favourite Christmas tunes this December. Candlelight concerts is hosting a Christmas-themed night at Madinat Jumeirah where you will listen to festive melodies from string quartet. Expect to hear classic Christmas music plus tunes from Home Alone, Love Actually, and much more. There will be two shows taking place on December 16 at 6pm and 9pm. Prices start from Dhs120.

Candlelight Concert, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. Saturday, December 16, 6pm and 9pm. Tel: (0)4 335 8712. 

Throughout December: Green Planet’s winter wonderland

Dubai’s Green Planet is ready to welcome the festive season transforming the Nature Park into a magical winter wonderland. From meet-and-greets with Santa to real eco-friendly snow, there will be plenty of festive activities that will have both the adults and children feeling merry and bright. Taking place from December 6, entry to the Winter Wonderland costs Dhs69 or visitors can also get access to the indoor rainforest for Dhs175.

Green Planet, City Walk, Dubai. December 6 to January 7, 2024, 10am to 6pm. Dhs69 per person for Nature Park or Dhs175 for rainforest and Nature Park access. @thegreenplanetdubai

Throughout December: Twiggy Chalet 105


It doesn’t get much more festive than this… From December 1, Twiggy by La Cantine will bring back its Chalet 105 x Montblanc experience. Guests will be transported to an alpine cabin, complete with fireplace, fondue and cosy blankets. With full cabin decor, you’d never know that you’re in Dubai, let alone a beach club with Twiggy’s incredible set-up. Picture real skis, vintage furniture, fluffy rugs and a faux fireplace; the space feels almost like a movie set. Chalet 105 is the ideal choice for a festive dinner event with friends, colleagues or loved ones.

Twiggy by La Cantine, Park Hyatt Dubai, Dubai Creek, daily from December 1, 7pm onwards. Dhs425. Tel: (0)4 602 1105. 

December 16 & 17: Breakfast with Santa

For an unforgettable experience with the little ones this Christmas, don’t miss a magical breakfast with Santa taking place at stunning Italian restaurant, Bussola at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi. The magical breakfast experience, on December 16 and 17, is priced at Dhs285 for adults and Dhs175.

Bussola, Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, Dubai Marina. December 16 and 17. From 8am to 12pm. Dhs285 per person, Dhs175 for children. Tel:(0)4 511 7373.

Throughout December: Cosy up to a classic Christmas movie at the cinema

Ugly Christmas jumpers at the ready… Roxy Cinemas is hosting special screenings of classic holiday movies this month. From Home Alone to Die Hard, Love Actually to Elf, you’ll be able to watch your favourite festive movies on the big screen. Tickets start from Dhs61 including plenty of surprises in store from entertainment, the chance to meet Santa, and delicious treats including hot chocolate and mince pies.

Roxy Cinemas, Dubai Hills Mall, Dubai. From Dhs61. Find the movies and showtimes here:

December 20 to 24: Carols by Candlelight

From December 20 to December 24, Expo City’s enchanting Carols by Candlelight will bring back fond memories of your Christmas past with carol-singing, live dancers, and Christmas-themed projections on the iconic Al Wasl Plaza. From 6.30pm, the two-hour show will feature family favourites such as Rudolph the red-nosed reindeersilent night, and jingle bells, as well as a surprise visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Tickets are on sale now from Dhs75 for general admission which includes access to Expo’s Winter City. Children under 12 years old go free.

Expo City Dubai, Al Wasl Plaza. December 20 to 24, 6.30pm. From Dhs75.

December 22 to 24: Gingerbread house workshop

There are a number of tasty activities taking place at Eataly this festive season. Little ones can take part in a gingerbread man or gingerbread house cooking class at Eataly Dubai Mall on December 22, 23, and 24. Classes are priced at Dhs129 for gingerbread men and Dhs299 for decorating a gingerbread house, both inclusive of gelato and fresh juice.

Eataly, Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai. December 22 to 24. Tel:(0)4 330 8899.

Throughout December: Motiongate Dubai

Step into a magical world of festivities at Motiongate this December where the little ones can experience a one-of-a-kind Hollywood Holidays Parade, a reindeer dance show, a night festive market with delectable sweet treats, a Smurfmas show, meet-and-greet with Santa, a 40-foot Christmas tree, and more. Tickets are on sale from Dhs330 per person. Of course, a trip to Motiongate wouldn’t be complete without checking out their 29 thrilling rides and attractions.

Motiongate Dubai, Dubai Parks and Resorts. Until January 7, 2024. From Dhs330 per person.

December 24: Christmas Eve breakfast

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Book a Christmas Eve breakfast buffet at Bulgari Resort’s Il Caffè. Available from 8am to 1pm, guests can help themselves to live stations showcasing traditional dishes inspired by the Mediterranean. The Christmas Eve breakfast is priced at Dhs500 per person inclusive of soft beverages, Dhs900 for the Champagne package, and Dhs300 per child. Alternatively, spend Christmas Eve at the pool with the La Vigilia Di Natale In Piscina brunch. From Dhs475 (soft) and Dhs800 (Champagne) per person, the art of grilling is elevated through this exclusive brunch, including fish, seafood, and meat dishes, that can be savoured while admiring the shimmering Yacht Club pool.

Bulgari Resort, Jumeira Bay Island, Dubai. Tel: (0)4 777 5555.

December 24 and 25: Inside Burj al Arab

Taking place on December 24 and 25, this festive Inside Burj al Arab experience, priced at Dhs2,000, offers two adults and two children a guided one-hour tour of the seven-star hotel followed by a visit to Santa’s grotto at the royal suite, a festive cocktail, a family photo book with Santa, and gifts. For a more lavish affair, opt for the Dhs669 per person package, which includes the tour followed by a two-course Christmas dinner, and a delightful festive cocktail.

Inside Burj Al Arab, December 24 and 25. 10am to 7pm. Dhs2,000 for two adults and two children.

Images: Social/Provided