It's 24th of December and for my half Danish family this evening is the Christmas Eve, it is Christmas dinner and the time to open the presents. If it is to follow the Romanian tradition, today we would put up the Christmas tree and wait for the evening for the kids to go to sleep and put the presents under the tree. They would open them first thing in the morning on the 25th of December and then we would have the Christmas lunch that lasts till dinner.
Regardless any tradition, we enjoyed almost all the celebrations here in Dubai. We went to Bab Al Shams when the Christmas tree lights were turned on and met Santa Claus who had early presents for the kids. A bit of a crowd and too much excitement but the kids were happy with their little gifts. Our favorite is the Souk Festive Market at Madinat Jumeirah and we will go there tomorrow. If you haven't been yet, hurry up as it is only till the 27th.
This year, for a proper Santa meeting, we ditched all the usual spots and went to Santa Garden at Le Meridien Hotel (on the Airport Road). Quite a hidden spot, right? But the main reasons I chose that particular Santa were that the event has an online booking system and I had just to pick a slot and be there in time. When booking, you are asked a few questions about the kids like what their name are and age, what they want for Christmas and what your plans are if you travel or not. This way, Santa knows more about the kids in advance and makes it more real. My kids where mouth opened and even if they were kept saying "It's a fake Santa" when they came home told their dad "We saw the real Santa. He knew our names and what what we want". Their faces and genuine joy are priceless.
It is a fee of Aed 25 per child and Santa can even speak several other languages apart from English like French, German and Spanish. You'll get a link by email where to download the pictures from. To decorate a ginger bread tree is also Aed 25 and there are snack and dinner options. The kids have a small play area and there are also some Elves games to entertain the little ones. It's not something big but the experience is wonderful, with no queues and Santa knowing things about the kids well in advance.
Santa Garden (Hassle Free, I would add) was organized by The Juggle Box and I found them on Instagram but they also have a Facebook page. I wish I could spread the word earlier but keep them in mind for the next year. Merry Christmas!