Christmas is almost here. And for those who are staying in the capital for the holiday, there's plenty of things to do and see. So while this holiday may look a bit different from those in years past, that doesn't mean it has to be any less festive.
From visiting a winter wonderland to enjoying the cooler weather by catching a film al fresco, here are 10 family-friendly things to do on December 25 in Abu Dhabi.
Winter Wonderland at Galleria Mall
Christmas shopping doesn't get more festive than at Abu Dhabi's The Galleria Al Maryah Island. The mall's Winter Wonderland has returned, with a host of events over the holiday season to make shopping special. Back this year are the mall's Christmas-themed sensory rooms, which will offer an immersive festive experience: think giant candy canes, the smells of fresh gingerbread and the sound of sleigh bells. Children can also send their last-minute letters to Santa at the North Pole post box.
Daily, throughout December, 10am-midnight; free; The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi; 02 493 7400, thegalleria.ae
Sleigh season at Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi
Join your favourite characters as they get into the festive spirit at Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Tom and Jerry will be performing a daily Jingle Bell Rockout alongside all the Looney Tunes for the whole family to sing along to.
Daily until Saturday, January 2, noon-8pm; from Dh295, family offers available; Warner Bros World, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; wbworldabudhabi.com
Catch a showing of 'Tangled' at Umm Al Emarat Park
Cinema in the Park will host two showings of the Disney film Tangled. It tells the story of a lost young princess with magical long blonde hair who wants to leave her secluded tower. Against her mother's wishes, she accepts the help of an intruder to take her out into the world which she has never seen before.
Friday, 5.30pm and 7.30pm; Dh10 (entry fee into the park); Umm Al Emarat, Abu Dhabi; ummalemaratpark.ae
A Nutcracker-themed afternoon tea
Rosewood Abu Dhabi’s Majlis Lobby Lounge will be holding a festive afternoon tea inspired by beloved Christmas tales. There will be sweet and savoury dishes such as Christmas macaroons and lobster avocado bagels, to be enjoyed alongside tea and coffee, and children can spend their time with activities including gingerbread-house decorating.
Friday, 3pm to 6pm; until January 15; prices start at Dh250; Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island, 02 813 5550; rosewoodhotels.com
BIG goes festive brunch
Brunch in Garage (BIG), which features five culinary hubs, will be hosting a candy shop Christmas brunch with gigantic lollipops and a Christmas tree filled with different sweets. There will also be a Santa who will wave to children from a racecar on the famed Formula One racetrack on Yas Island.
Friday, 1pm-4pm; prices start at Dh295 per adult, Dh150 per child aged 7 to 11; W Abu Dhabi, Yas Island; 02 656 0000, marriott.com
Christmas celebration at Como
Como at Al Forsan Sports Resort will be hosting a festive celebration that includes a four-course set menu. The casual Italian dining eatery will also have a Santa on hand to give away gifts to children, Christmas crackers and activities and a bouncy castle that the little ones can enjoy.
Friday, 12.30pm-4pm, Dh125 per adult, Dh65 per child aged 6 to12; Como, Al Forsan International Sports Resort, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi; 02 556 8555, alforsan.com
Fashion through the Years at Qasr Al Hosn
Learn more about the evolution of fashion trends in Abu Dhabi from the 1940s to 1980s thanks to a new exhibition at Qasr Al Hosn. Titled Fashion Through the Years, the show will explore the emirate’s history and stories of its people through clothing and accessories, as well as celebrate the heritage, craftsmanship and beauty of fashion. The show is on view until Tuesday, February 16.
Until Tuesday, February 16, 2pm-7pm; tickets cost Dh30; Qasr Al Hosn, Abu Dhabi; qasralhosn.ae
Christmas brunch at Horizon
The contemporary restaurant is offering live cooking stations and a buffet packed with festive favourites for Christmas Day. There will be a salad bar, a cheese station, a live pasta station, hot and cold mezze, and mains including beef medallions with green peppercorn sauce and grilled salmon with saffron sauce. There will also be a carving station with roast turkey with a sage and onion stuffing, and Angus beef rump to pack in the nostalgia. Dessert includes favourites such as panettone, marzipan stollen and a yule log cake. Meanwhile, little ones can get busy at the outdoor Burgatory children's cafe, where more festive treats await.
Friday, 1pm to 4pm; Dh199 per person; Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana; 02 657 0000; email@example.com
Kayak through Louvre Abu Dhabi
Take a trip to Louvre Abu Dhabi to catch the latest additions to its collection. See works by Monet, Van Gogh and Renoir, as well as other artefacts and artworks that have recently been added as the new season at the museum begins. There's also the option to kayak under the dome at 10am on Christmas Day. The activity is hosted through Sea Hawk and must booked 12 hours in advance. Click on this link to book. The 60-minute activity costs Dh126 for one adult and one child aged 6 to12.
Friday, 10am-6.30pm; Dh63; Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi; louvreabudhabi.ae
Traditional Christmas roast brunch at Sofra BLD
The restaurant in Shangri-La Hotel and Traders Hotel Abu Dhabi is celebrating the season with a buffet and live entertainment. On offer are dishes from a range of cuisines – from Asian favourites such as roasted Peking duck and vegetable dumplings to Arabic tajin and Indian murgh tikka biryani. There will also be traditional roasts, from turkey to beef Wellington.
Friday, 1pm-4pm; prices start at Dh279 for soft drinks; children aged 6-11 get a 50 per cent discount and children below 6 eat for free; Qaryat Al Beri - Abu Dhabi; 02 509 8555; firstname.lastname@example.org