Best Christmas Day dinners

Santa Claus is coming to town, but so are all of the very merry dinners and turkey roasts. The best part is you can tuck in whether you’ve been naughty or nice. Here’s why you should head to these dinners on Christmas Day.

Palmito Garden, JA Beach Hotel, Dubai: They’re hosting an Epic Christmas Day Brunch with 150 traditional festive dishes, a huge kids’ buffet complete with candy counter and gingerbread houses, live entertainment and an appearance by Santa. From Dh250 per person, 12.30pm-3.30pm. Call 04 814 5555 or email jatr@jaresorts.com.

Distillery, Souk Al Manzil, Dubai: On Christmas Day, pop crackers and dive into a three-course meal at this gastropub. Starters such as house-cured salmon and beets or hazelnut and truffle soup and main courses like veggie Wellington, roast turkey with classic sides will get the celebrations started. Dessert will show up as delightful Eton Mess, candy cane tart, or sticky toffee pudding. From 12pm-11.30pm. Dh195 per person, call 054 9982003 or email reservations@distillerydubai.com.

Marea NYC, DIFC: This NYC hotspot’s Dubai outpost is serving a three-course meal bursting with Italian flavours. Tortellini en Brodo, a delicious Italian meat-filled ravioli in a warm, rich chicken broth, oven roasted turkey and lamb, served with all the trimmings, Panettone – Italian sweetbread – for dessert, and a selection of Christmas cookies and a glass of creamy Eggnog. From Dh350 per person, call 04 583 6366 or visit marea.ae.

The Palmery, Jumeirah Al Naseem: Both on the night before Christmas as well as Christmas day, enjoy a festive meal full of roast turkey with all the trimmings, beef medallions with grape compote and grilled salmon steak with basil pesto, as well as sweet treats of traditional Yule Log and Christmas Pudding. From Dh495 per person, 1pm-4pm. Call 04 432 3232 or email restaurants@jumeirah.com.

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Hell’s Kitchen, Caesars Palace Bluewaters, Dubai:  It’s definitely ho ho hotter than your usual winter wonderland but traditional staples such as turkey Wellington, trimmings and pudding more than make up for the holiday spirit. Did we mention the three-piece band, Christmas carollers, a festive photobooth?  From 12.30pm-4pm; from Dh295 for children aged 11 and below and from Dh495 for adults. Call 04 556 6466 or email dine@caesarsdubai.ae.

Urban Bar and Kitchen (ubk), Mövenpick JLT: The Christmas Day brunch gets you tasty turkey carvings, roasted beef, and Christmas desserts, all for Dh199 per person. You can brunch at the newly opened Winter Terrace along with a live performance by resident musician Danny starting at 2pm. From 1pm-4pm. Call 04 438 0000.

The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach: Three restaurants join forces to tame the wild fun that the Bubbalicious Christmas Brunch is offering – there’ll be 10 live cooking stations across Mina’s Kitchen, Sui Mui and Baba. From Dh595 per person, 1pm-4pm. Call 04 511 7373, email 03034.restaurants@westin.com

Manava, Sofitel Dubai The Palm: The Polynesian restaurant has a Christmas brunch lined up with children’s activities that include face painting, gingerbread baking and a meet and greet with Santa Claus. Dh485 per adult and from Dh130 for kids. Call 04 455 6677 or email dining.palmdubai@softitel.com.

Faith, trust and a bit of pixie dust

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Never say never, but always say yes to a trip to Neverland. You and your family and friends can whoosh away to JM Barrie’s whimsical world at the Peter Pan, The Swashbuckling Pantomime Adventure aboard the QE2. Rediscover your inner child this weekend as Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy, the Lost Boys and the whole gang fight off the evil Captain Hook and hide from a hungry crocodile in a recreation of the classic children’s tale that reinforces the power of imagination. Shows are on until December 24; tickets from Dh150 per adult, Dh120 per child at plantinumlist.net.

Snow away!

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Time to be on your merry way to Al Seef for a merry Christmas – the waterfront destination’s heritage area will host a Snow Park where you and your family can make snow angels and unleash snowball fights. There will also be a Festive Market offering handmade gifts, trinkets and Yuletide activities – you can make fluffy snowmen figurines at the arts and crafts station and learn to build Santa’s grotto in a bottle. Santa and his reindeer will be making an appearance too, and so will kids’ stage shows based on festive tales. Today a DJ and a live band and street musicians will up the festive ante with seasonal hits and classic carols. Until December 31.

Old St. Nick is also swinging by Bollywood Parks Dubai this month and his arrival packs all the colour and sound of a Bollywood welcome – the Santa Comes to Bollywood-themed celebration includes a Santa Meet & Greet and parade, festive tree lighting, a Spot the Elves competition, roaming street bands, carol performance by the festive choir, a festive buffet featuring Indian, Chinese and continental cuisine and more until December 28. Dh99 per person includes complete park access, unlimited rides and live entertainment acts from 1pm onwards. Guests will also receive a complimentary digital photograph as a memento. Visit dubaiparksandresorts.com.

The festive spirit will also abound at Bay Avenue and the community centres of Mudon, Shorooq and Al Khail Gate – Snow Parks will be installed from 10am to 10pm until December 26. Today, there’s a Festive Fair community event at Remraam, with an ice-skating rink, snow-pit play area, Santa’s Grotto and more. From 4pm to 8pm. 

Holograms of musicians past

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We’ve seen it in sci-fi films such as Vanilla Sky, now it’s happening for real in Dubai – a hologram concert (the UAE’s first) projects into life from December 26 at the Dubai Opera featuring a 3D hologram of late Egyptian singer and actress Umm Kulthum (2019, what a time to be alive). And it gets better – the 20-piece live orchestra will be accompanied by the vocals of the yesteryear songstress’ granddaughter Sana’a Nabil (who’s also an Arabs Got Talent contestant). Tickets from Dh195 per person at dubaiopera.com. Shows at 7.30pm and 9.30pm on December 26 and 6pm and 9pm on December 27.

Bless the mess

Children’s museum and experiential play centre OliOli is bringing back their Mess Fest. Kids can engage in messy playtime from December 27-30 at the Al Quoz venue without their parents having to worry about clean-ups. Here’s what you can look forward to – explosion shows, paint catapults launches on to canvases, walk on water on an oobleck walk, bubble stations where you can encase yourself inside bubbles, science demos, glow-in-the-dark messy zone and more. From 9am-9pm, Dh109 for three hours per child and Dh27 per adult. Bookings made before December 25 get a 30 per cent discount on regular admission prices. Call 04 702 7300 or visit olioli.ae/messfest.

Three-part melody

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Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan will be back to perform at the Coca Cola Arena on December 27. Titled I, Me and Myself, the three-part concert will be a blend of his Bollywood hits, qawwalis, and a segment of fusion that will see him perform with up-and-coming singers. Show starts at 7.30pm; tickets from Dh125 per person at coca-cola-arena.com.