Where to find that festive feeling in Abu Dhabi…

‘Tis the season to be jolly, so here’s where to get your fill of all things festive in the capital

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Before long, the house will be festooned with decorations, with gifts under the tree and excited children waiting to see what Father Christmas has brought.

Sure it is warm and sunny here in the desert, but you can still get that cosy festive feeling. ‘Yule’ certainly love our round-up of this year’s events across the capital to capture that Christmas spirit. From little elves to takeaway turkeys, we’ve got Christmas in the capital all wrapped up.

For little elves

Let the kids bask in the festive buzz and see Santa, of course Santa Claus and the Magical Journey will give little ones something to cheer about on 10th December. When Santa’s present delivering mission is thwarted by a malfunctioning Sat Nav, it’s up to two naughty stowaway elves to get the gifts delivered on time. From AED 105. Abu Dhabi Theatre, facing Marina Mall, Breakwater. From 6pm. Contact: 02 681 8821

Lana’s Partiperfect is inviting little elves to decorate a gingerbread house, make a snow globe and more on 12th December. AED 200, meal included. Lana’s Partiperfect, Marina Office Park Villa A56, behind Marina Mall. From 11am–1pm and 3.30pm–5.30pm. Contact: 02 681 0090, info-partiperfect@partiperfect.ae

Kids can get crafty at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, with gingerbread and snowman making sessions on 23rd and 24th December. Free. Corniche West. 3pm–5pm. Contact: 02 811 5666, JADrestaurants@jumeirah.com

Merry markets

Grab great unique gifts at these festive markets…

Yas Marina will be a winter wonderland from 11th December to 2nd January. There’s a winter market on 12th December, a snowball zone daily and lots more wintry fun. Free, but activities are charged. Yas Marina, Yas Island. Various times. Visit: yasmarina.ae

La Loupe is hosting their popular boutique market on 12th December for some unique gifts. Free. Eastern Mangroves Promenade. 11am–6pm. Contact: facebook.com/laloupeauh

Beach Rotana is going for the Swiss theme from 9th to 12th December, with traditional chalets and Christmas-themed wares to buy. Free. Beach Rotana, Tourist Club Area. Wed 4pm–9pm, Thu 2pm–10pm, Fri-Sat, 11am–10pm. Contact: 02 697 9000, rotana.com/beachrotana

Happy holidays

Get even more festive cheer at these holiday events.

Rosewood Abu Dhabi will be hosting a festive bake sale in their Majilis Lounge from 7th to 27th December. You can get your hands on in house baked goodies from gingerbread to Yule logs. From AED 35. Al Maryah Island. Open daily. Contact: 02 813 5550, rosewoodhotels.com/abudhabi 

If you fancy a little tra-la-la-ing with a view, make for the Carols in the Desert event on 11th December. Barbecue and carols. You can even camp over! Free.
Check Facebook for details From 3pm. Visit: http://is.gd/w9HFWl

Take-out turkeys

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Put your feet up this year and order in one of these juicy birds with all the trimmings so your Christmas isn’t a turkey (unlike the bird).

Paul’s offering this season is a hefty bird that can feed ten to 12 hungry family members. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance. From AED 450. Various locations. Visit: facebook.com/PAUL1889.arabia

Yas Viceroy has farm-raised and organic options on offer with all the trimmings for six to eight people. From 1st December. From AED 650. Yas Island. Contact: 02 656 0000, viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/abudhabi

Courtyard by Marriott has various sizes of turkey with all the trimmings for families big and small until 7th January. From AED 499++. World Trade Center Mall, World Trade Center Mall, Hamdan Street. Contact: 02 698 2222, marriott.com

BOOK NOW: On the day

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If you fancy some food but don’t fancy clearing up after it, then there’s a bevy of delicious feasts to fill your belly on the 25th.

At Dusit Thani, there’s an international buffet on offer at Urban Kitchen. AED 199. Sultan Bin Zayed the First Street, opposite Al Jazira Stadium. 12.30pm–4pm. Contact: 02 698 8888, www.dusit.com

The Fairmont Bab-Al-Bahr has a brunch across three outlets for those who just can’t choose. Between the bridges. 12.30pm–4pm. Contact: 02 654 3238,

The Intercontinental has a variety of options across their outlets from Lebanese to Brazilian. Prices vary. King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street, Al Bateen. Noon–4pm. Contact: 800 423 463, icad.ae

Le Méridien will be hosting a bumper brunch in the garden with international cuisine. From AED 225. Al Zahiyah (Tourist Club Area). 1pm–4pm. Contact: 02 644 6666, lemeridienabudhabi.com

At The Sportsman’s Arms, you can eat both your breakfast and brunch on Christmas day, as well as an à la carte menu. From AED 225 for brunch. Zayed Sports City. 12pm–3pm. Contact: 02 403 4235, reservations@sportsmanszsc.com

Traders will be celebrating Christmas on the beach with a bouncy castle and DJ at Afya Beach Lounge. From AED 280++. Khor Al Maqta’a, between the bridges. 12.30pm–4pm. Contact: 02 510 8888, shangri-la.com/abudhabi/traders

The Southern Sun is offering a brunch-style Christmas meal. From AED 215++. Al Mina Street, Al Zahiyah (Tourist Club Area). 12.30pm–4pm. Contact: 02 818 4888, tsogosunhotels.com/hotels/abu-dhabi

Top brass

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We grabbed a couple of merry minutes with National Symphony Orchestra founder Janet Hassouneh on their upcoming Christmas gala.

What’s special about this year’s show?

This time, we’ll be playing our Christmas concert outside in the beautiful surroundings of the terrace at Emirates Palace. We’re so excited to be there! You can feast on stollen, gingerbread and eggnog while listening to the orchestra play.

What’s on the programme for this year?

After the national anthem, the first thing you’re going to hear is our NSO brass with a jazz arrangement of ‘Deck the Halls’. When you hear the brass, you just think of Christmas.

On the programme, we’ve got a mix of carols and classic Christmas compositions performed in a variety of styles by the NSO Brass, Chorus, Orchestra and vocal soloists like Handel’s famous ‘Hallelujah’ chorus all led by guest conductor Ed Keeley.

Any special surprises?

Joining us this year will be the boys’ choir from the British School Al Khubairat with
‘Little Drummer Boy’. It’s going to be the absolute cute factor!

Little audience members will be able to join in for our ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ too! Our special guest artists Dave LeMieux and his More Than Music group, are coming all the way from Memphis and Denver to perform their own toe-tapping gospel, blues, jazz festive work.

Friday 11th December. From AED 75. Emirates Palace. From 7.30pm. Contact: ticketmaster.ae, nsouae.org

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