We’re well and truly into the swing of the most wonderful time of the year and as usual, everyone is thrilled to bits about the constant drinking, eating and panic present buying. No one wishes they’d just booked that holiday to get away from it all like they’ve promised they will do for the last 5 years and absolutely no one is wishing that it was already 3rd January and we were all back at work with the festive madness a mere memory. Nope, we’re all absolutely delighted that Christmas is here once again. Here are my survival tips for a Christmas in Dubai.
- Working with different nationalities means that an ‘end of year’ party (as they’re sometimes called to avoid offending anyone) might not be what you expect an office Christmas party to be. In my last office the party was organised by the Lebanese members of the team which meant it began at 10pm, no one arrived until midnight. Or so I hear. No chance was I heading to a party starting at 10pm at my age. At another works’ Christmas bash a friend of a friend went to a brunch and ended up in a AC duct in a restaurant in Deira and had to be cut out by the police and Civil Defence. True story.
- If you want a real tree order it early so you have time to send 3 of them back before you get one that’s actually acceptable. Be prepared for the tree to die before 25th December
- Try and get a kindly relative, preferably a close one to come over for a Christmas visit, parents are usually good for this. That way, you can do all your Christmas shopping online, have it delivered to them and let them lug it all the way over here. This is win win for you, cheaper shopping and less hassle. It’s a nightmare for them but hey, they’re getting a free holiday, right?
- Order your Christmas food well in advance. All UAE expats are aware of the vagaries of the country’s supply process, one day they have something, the next they don’t. We’re all still nursing the memories of the great cordial shortage of 2012 when a bottle of orange or blackcurrant cordial was rarer than a Jumeirah Jane doing her own ironing. You can put up with it or work round it for the rest of the year but Christmas time demands certain foodstuffs and it won’t feel the same without them. Get to Spinneys or Waitrose early in December and get your order in. Alternatively if you’ve followed tip 4 add some more to the online ordering (Thanks for offering to bring the big roses tin over this year Mum)
- Plan a trip to Barracuda. You’ll blow your Christmas budget wide open if you try and buy all the booze from A&E or MMI. You need to stock up properly for this season and the only way to do that without being a millionaire is a trip to everyone’s favourite off licence in Ras Al Kaimah
- If you’re not cooking on the big day make sure you’ve got your Christmas brunch booked. Be aware it’ll just be like a normal brunch but with a bit of turkey thrown in. Also note that Christmas is a big money maker for the hotels so it’ll probably be packed and, depending on where you go, below par. The Turkey will almost certainly run out so hit that food station first.
- Enjoy the good weather. The one really great thing about Christmas in Dubai is the weather. You can have Chirstmas lunch outside and spend the whole day basking in the warm sunshine, smug in the knowledge that everyone back in your home country is freezing
Merry Christmas all!