Turn up the lights

Tis the season to be jolly! The good news (apart from ole jelly-belly’s visits with presents) is that you don’t have to deck the halls on your own. Christmas trees around the UAE twinkle into life this week and you, your little ones and friends can all gather around the grand conifers at one of the venues below and enjoy the festivities:

Hilton Al Hamra, Ras Al Khaimah: A traditional tree-lighting ceremony kicks off the festivities on December 8 at 6.30pm. Little carolers from Little Treasures Nursery School will belt out festive tunes as you tuck into chocolate cookies and hot chocolate. Kids can get their pictures taken with Santa at a special photo session.

JA Hatta Fort Hotel: The mountains of Hatta will come alive with the sound of Christmas carols on December 12. At 7.30pm the resort’s very own Santa’s Village will host a tree-lighting ceremony accompanied by the resident hotel deer, canapés, turkey terrine, Christmas pudding, mini muffins and hot chocolate, with music by the Hatta Christmas Carolers.

Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi: The palatial hotel’s Grand Dome recreates the splendour and magic of the North Pole, minus the freezing temperature, with their Christmas tree lighting ceremony on December 10. Candlelight, songs and Santa accepting wishlists are all things to look forward to.

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah: Today, the resort’s legendary Peacock Alley transforms into Santa’s Grotto with a Christmas tree-lighting event at 5pm. Until 7pm fill your boots with a world-class selection of canapés, desserts and festive beverages, while resident carolers set the Christmas spirit with classics in the run-up to Santa’s arrival.

Park Hyatt Dubai: On December 12, the hotel located in the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club rings in good cheer with a tree-lighting in the piazza, traditional carols sung by a choir and Christmas market stalls with heaps of delicacies and gift hampers that will make for great stocking fillers. At 6pm.

Raffles Dubai
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Raffles Dubai: Christmas spirits soar high – 20-feet to be precise, at the Raffles. The hotel’s annual giant tree makes a reappearance on December 5 as will Santa and his elves with a sack load of gifts. Also vying for attention will be the colossal gingerbread house in the lobby that’s packed with freshly-baked treats. From 6pm to 7pm.

Market your calendars

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas today and tomorrow at the Hilton Jumeirah’s garden area which will be taken over by a traditional Christmas Market. You can browse around 20 stalls offering a wide range of Christmas goodies, gifts and decorations while savouring artisanal food such as turkey ham croquettes with cranberry dipping, roasted turkey roulade and beef cheese Käsekrainer hot dog and churros drenched in chocolate sauce. Santa and his entourage will be making an appearance between 12pm and 2pm, so keep those wishlists handy. Little ones can also participate in gingerbread decoration ativity, DIY card making, garden games, bouncy castles and more. From 10am-4pm; food items start from Dh20, entry is free.

Cool cat

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Feline hijinks abound today and tomorrow at The Junction where a staging of the play Puss in Boots is happening. The adaptation of the popular fairytale by children’s author and comedian Ian Billings has a fresh snappy script that sees the cunning kitten Puss run away from his owners, and in typical rags-to-riches turn of events transform his new owner George into a Prince and dodge a Castle Ogre. With a new musical score composed by Ricard Lamming, the play is set to be the cat’s whiskers. Tickets from Dh145 at ae.bookmyshow.com. Shows at 2.30pm and 5.30pm.

Final act(ive)

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Before the year ends, clock in some more fitness goals with Dubai Active –the fitness event at Dubai World Trade Centre. Today and tomorrow, top trainers and studios from around the city and the world will be conducting unlimited free fitness classes. Yoga, cycling, strength training, talks by nutritionists – eveything’s covered. You’ll also get the chance to break a sweat with international fitness stars such as Kayla Itsines and Kelsey Wells, who will also be hosting Q&A sessions and meet-and-greets. There’ll be dedicated weekend training sessions for Zumba addicts and you can also update your athleisure wardrobes by exploring the retail area for deals on wellness, beauty and sportswear brands. From 10am; single-day general admission tickets start from Dh80 at virginmegastore.me.

Say Yas to winter

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Yas Island is set to become a winter wonderland from December 11-15 when the Yas Winter Carnival kicks off. There’ll be daily tree lighting ceremonies at 7pm, school choirs belting out pitch perfect carols and live performances of Christmassy musicals such as The Princess Show, The Nutcracker, and many more on the main stage. Do you wanna build a snowman? You’re in for a treat as the frozen realms of the North Pole will be brought to the carnival with hourly snowfalls! Yes, you read that right, so come prepared to build snowmen, survive snowball fights, and slide down fresh snow. You can wander through the festive winter market featuring stalls selling fashion accessories, art prints, jewellery, home decor, toys, and more. There will also be a festive firework display above Gateway Park South every evening at 9pm. Visit wintercarnival.ae.

Heart and sole of culture

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Sole DXB, the region’s largest festival celebrating all things urban culture is on today and tomorrow at d3 (Dubai Design District). This eighth edition will see everything from street art, music, fashion and sport celebrated – gear up for performances by the iconic New York hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, British hip hop group Foreign Beggars, Grammy-nominated Jamaican songwriter Protoje and more artists. There’ll be a curation of the rarest sneakers, an exhibition of Jamaican artist Peter Dean Rickard’s works, basketball games, panel discussions and more. From 12pm-10pm; day passes from Dh245 at virginmegastore.me.