Few things in life can compare to the magical thrill of watching Christmas tree lights switch on. Dubai goes all out during the festive season decking the halls of malls, the streets and plush hotel lobbies with mammoth Christmas trees that are a joy to behold. So, we’ve put together a rundown of every Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Dubai!
There’s a 52-foot-tall tree waiting for you to rock around it! Besides heavily ornamented trees, most tree-lighting events also come with carolling sessions, a photo-op with Santa, treats for the tots, and fake snow, if you’re lucky, making this a perfect family day out full of festive cheer.
1. Studio One Hotel, November 30
Why wait until December when you defrost your Christmas playlist (oh hey, Mariah Carey) in November? Studio One’s doing just that by beating everyone else to the punch with a Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in the hotel courtyard. The GEMS Metropol Choir will harmonise under the winter sun from 4:30pm to 7pm, seranding guests with holiday classics. At 7pm sharp, watch the switch flip and an impressive Xmas tree sparkle into existence.
From 4:30pm to 7:30pm; visit the website or call 800-STUDIO (788346)
2. Habtoor Grand Resort, December 1
JBR’s Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection is spreading festive joy to the world earlier than most with a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 1. While the towering, ornamented conifer is the star of the show, Father Christmas – Santa – himself will show up with his entourage of merry elves. Entry is free but a 48-hour advance booking is required.
Tree lighting at 6pm; Santa will appear at 6:15pm. Call/WhatsApp 050 780 6342 or email email@example.com
3. Taj JLT, December 5
A giant Christmas tree will be lit up in this JLT hotel’s lobby area at 6:30pm on December 5. Adding to the Yuletide cheer will be the glasses of complimentary mulled wine and eggnog served on arrival alongside an array of festive snacks such as minced pies and cookies. While you make a beeline for those scrummy goodies, the kids (and kids at heart) can line up for some holiday pictures with Santa Claus. In the background, a choir of girls will belt out holiday tunes to get you jingle bell rockin’.
From 6:30pm; call 04 5741 111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Sheraton Mall of the Emirates, December 6
Sleighing it with another early-bird Christmas Tree Lighting is the Sheraton Mall of the Emirates hotel. The Xmas tree’s special glow-up will feature ornaments and decorations by beauty brand Elizabeth Arden. Will baubles also be blushes? You’ll have to find out. Setting aglow hearts, meanwhile, will be a crew of melodious carol singers. Complimentary pass-arounds and mulled drinks will be handed out to guests who attend the ceremony in the hotel lobby.
From 6pm-7pm, free entry; call 04 377 2356
5. Rixos Palm Dubai, December 6
This five-star hotel’s main lobby is kicking off the 4-hour celebrations with live piano, cello and violin performances, welcome cocktails for guests, Christmas carolling that you can join in on and an appearance by old jelly belly, Santa Claus, who’ll be handing out gifts to the kids present there. The main attraction – the stunningly beautiful Christmas tree lighting – will happen at 6:30pm. The event is free to hotel guests who have a reservation at any of the in-house restaurants.
From 6:30pm to 10:30pm; call 04 457 5555 for more info
6. Melia Desert Palm, December 6
This equestrian-themed hotel in Al Awir is hitching itself to reindeers this festive season with an array of holiday events. Top of that list is their Christmas tree lighting ceremony on December 6 happening at the Shisha Lounge. A cup of complimentary mulled wine (alcoholic and non-alcoholic options), spicy ginger cookies, minced pies and more will be passed around to guests during the tree-lighting festivities.
From 7pm-8pm; 04 323 8888
7. Paramount Hotel Midtown, December 7
Expect plenty of tinsel and tinseltown-style glamour at the Paramount Hotel Midtown’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 7. A dusting of snow and Hollywood magic turns the hotel lobby on the 14th floor into a winter wonderland complete with festive canapes, piping hot chocolate mulled wine and other holiday drinks. Advance booking is a must.
From 7pm; call 058 8265729 or email email@example.com
8. Westin Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, December 7
The Conservatory, the international restaurant inside the Westin Mina Seyahi has a special Tree Lighting Ceremony scheduled for December 7.
From 6pm-9pm; call 04 511 7373 for reservations
9. Raffles Dubai, December 8
Raffles’ yearly Yuletide celebrations will sparkle into life with the lighting of a 20-foot Christmas tree on December 8. While Santa Claus and a sack full of gifts will warm the hearts of the little ones, spiced treats and mulled wine will warm up the adults. The hotel will also be throwing open the doors of its giant gingerbread house, so make sure you go hungry and ready to shop for handcrafted gifts! As an added treat, this year, the hotel also has a Christmas Choir which will add some music to the merriness. Entry is free.
From 6pm to 7pm; call 04 324 8888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
10. QE2, Port Rashid, December 8
You might not see three ships sailing this Christmas, but you can surely get aboard one of the most historic ships to have sailed the world! The cruise ship-turned-floating hotel QE2 is going full steam ahead for Christmas in 2023 starting off with a Christmas tree lighting event on December 8. Head to ship’s alfresco lounge The Pavilion where the lights on the tree will be switched on at 5:30pm by one lucky child picked via a raffle draw.
With an ocean sunset painting the horizon orange in the background, this is going to be a dream tree-lighting experience with an appearance by Santa Claus. Revellers can warm up with a glass of mulled wine or hot mint chocolate and a festive Marks & Spencer goodie bag for each family.
Free for kids below 5 years; AED 50 per adult. Visit their website for bookings
11. Centara Mirage Beach Resort, December 8
Keep your Santa hats and flip flops at the ready as this beach resort has a rollicking Christmas tree lighting event planned. The resort’s Vistas Lobby Cafe will be home to a sparkling Christmas tree whose lights will be turned up on December 8 at 5pm. Remind the kids to bring their letters to Santa outlining their wishlist of gifts as the jolly old man himself will be visiting the venue.
Adults can enjoy a free glass of mulled wine while kids can relish hot chocolate during the lighting ceremony while noshing on smoked salmon with cream cheese. A talented choir performing traditional carols. Later, scope out the Gingerbread House displayed in the lobby and stock up on an array of festive goodies such as stollen, pies and pudding.
From 5pm; call 04 522 9999 or email email@example.com
12. Swissotel Al Ghurair, December 8
This Deira hotel’s lobby is blinging it up for Christmas with a 20-foo-tall Christmas Tree in the lobby. The lights go on on December 8 to the tunes of Christmas carols in the background and canapes and festive drinks. The tree lighting ceremony is free to attend for guests participating in the hotel’s gingerbread house-making workshop and their LINDT Festive afternoon tea.
From 6pm; call 04 293 3270,or visit the website
13. Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, December 8
The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at this longstanding hotel in Deira throws in all the ho-ho holiday vibes – live carolling, twinkling lights and free entry to boot on December 8.
From 5:30pm; call 04 399 3333
14. FORM Hotel, December 8
The boutique design hotel in Al Jaddaf is hosting a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 8 at 6pm in the hotel’s lobby area. Christmas carols by a talented choir will fill the air as Santa Claus shows up to hand out gifts to kids and take photos with guests.
From 6pm; call 04 317 9000 for bookings
15. Park Hyatt, Dubai Creek Resort, December 8
Luxury brand Montblanc has teamed up with this scenic resort in Deira to create a very unique Christmas Tree that will be revealed on December 8, flooding the creekside with a wave of holiday spirit. The 5.5 metre-tall tree will come to life at the hotel’s Lobby Lounge terrace at 6:30pm. Simultaneously, the resort complex’s piazza will also dazzle with festive lights, the dulcet tones of Christmas carollers and an array of festive treats such as roasted chestnuts being handed out.
From 6:30pm; call 04 602 1234
16. Burj Al Arab, December 8
In-house guests at one of Dubai’s most extravagant hotels get to watch the lights of an equally extravagant and opulent Christmas tree go up on December 8. At 6pm, the lights will go on as Christmas melodies play in the background. Onlookers will also be entertained by a special ballet performance by students from Turning Pointe ballet school.
17. Palazzo Versace, December 9
The fabulous Mosaico Lobby Lounge will add a touch of Italian Renaissance to Christmas celebrations with its tree-lighting ceremony on December 9. And it won’t be a silent night for sure as the melodies of carolers will fill the air along with the scent of cinnamony Christmas canapes including a foie gras station, turkey carving station, panettone, roasted chestnuts, caramelised almonds and mulled wine. Santa will show up and lead visiting kids and adults through a countdown to the Christmas tree lights being switched on at 7pm. A minimum of AED 150 per person.
From 6pm-8pm; call 04 556 8805 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
18. Jumeirah Golf Estates, December 10
Christmas can’t get greener than on the rolling greens of the Jumeirah Golf Estates. On December 10, the resort’s Earth Terrace venue overlooking the golf course’s 18th hole is hosting a Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration. Wear your prettiest ugly sweater as this outdoor venue will truly feel wintry. Live carol singers, a visit by Santa and his elves as well as activities for kids await. Packages start at AED 120 per person for soft drinks and canapes. AED 80 for children aged four to 12 years.
From 5pm-8pm; call 04 375 8059 or email at email@example.com
19. Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, December 10
You’ll hear the bells ding dong merrily on high at the Waldorf Astoria on Palm Jumeirah this December 10. The resorts will host the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony on the day with live carol singers harmonising in the background while scrumptious crimbo canapes and seasonal cocktails will be handed out to onlookers. This palm resort’s beachy vibes will turn frosty when Saint Nick makes visits with gifts and photo ops.
From 5:30pm to 7pm; call 04 818 2222
20. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, December 14
Ring in the festive season with this Palm Jumeirah resort’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the hotel lobby. You can soak up the Yuletide vibes by noshing on baked goodies, warm mulled wine and a concert by a live choir. Entry is free for all.
From 6pm; call 04 275 4444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
21. Winter City at Expo City, December 15
Who’s the grandest Christmas tree of them all? The answer is the whooping 52-foot-tall Christmas tree in Al Wasl Plaza. Recycled from last year, this tree’s as sustainable as it gets. Prepare to crane your necks to see all the way to the top of the dazzling tree on December 15, when the lights go up. We’re getting dizzying just thinking about how the tree-topper would have been placed on this stonker of a tree.
From 6pm-6:15pm; visit the Expo City website