Abu Dhabi is the place to be in all seasons, but it is really special in the holiday season. Its Galleria Festive Market resembles a traditional Christmas souk packed with vendors and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Many tourists come to Abu Dhabi for the holidays entertainment, check out tree lightings and selection of delicious Christmas treats such as traditional gingerbread; others are attracted by the tax-free shopping experience, Marina Mall’s Christmas market and Ice Rink, to name a few attractions.
Even though the majority of Abu Dhabi Emiratis are Muslim and Islam is the official religion of the UAE, with only 9 percent being Christian, the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates provides for freedom of religion in accordance with established customs; thus far, the UAE has done a great job at recognizing the Christians in the country and everyone celebrates the holiday season.
While many expats will be in the Christmas spirit in Dubai, Holidays in Abu Dhabi, this year, promise a lot of holiday cheer. Thus far, there have been Christmas festive markets with retail outlets offering specials and selling decorations and foods for the occasion. Tourists and locals have also enjoyed the lighting of the Christmas tree and choirs singing Christmas carols.
Yas Marina, as it does every year, transforms into a festive winter wonderland (from the Christmas décor to visiting Santa Claus on to the Snow Fight Zone and Penguin Bowling, if not the Winter Market) that brings family fun and magical spirit throughout the month of December. Be sure to visit the official website (yasmarina.ae) for the “Let It Snow @ Yas Marina event,” which takes place from 11 December 2015 to 2 January 2016, and has a full month of festive celebrations.
In December 2010, Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace hotel unveiled what is thought to be the world’s most expensive Christmas tree, a 13-metre fake evergreen tree that due to the necklaces, earrings and other jewelry draped over its branches that held 181 diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and other precious stones, made its value to be over $11m, as mentioned arabianbusiness.com. Every year, to this day, tourists can find a Christmas tree that adorns the lobby of the Emirates Palace hotel.
Recently, the NSO Brass, Chorus and Orchestra performed on the Emirates Palace Terrace some favorite seasonal music and carols that started the celebration of the Festive Season. However, for those that missed out on the occasion still can visit their life-sized Gingerbread House in the Palace Dome. As well, there is an extra special treat this year that is the Christmas Afternoon Tea at Le Café. Christmas treats of cookies and cakes are handcrafted by the pastry team for the occasion.
What else to do in Abu Dhabi this Christmas? Visit the malls with their rich Christmas decoration and Santa Claus with a bag of gifts underneath the tree for kids.