Putting up festive decor is half the fun of the holiday season and some UAE residents have gone above and beyond to get their homes in shipshape in time for Christmas.
From DIY hot chocolate stations and miniature ornamental collections to Santa Claus-themed tablescaping and imported trees, scroll through the gallery above for a look at some of the best-decorated homes.
This year is all the more special for many, as it signifies a reunion with family and friends, after a hiatus in 2020 owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Elaine Wolfenden, who has lived in the UAE for 23 years, says she has gone all out this year with the bedroom of her grandson, 6, as a surprise since he’s visiting for Christmas.
“I’ve tried to see it through a child’s eyes,” she says of the festive decorations that feature stuffed toys and twinkle lights, plus a Christmas tree by the television in the living area.
Jinna Cabel DeLa Roca, a stay-at-home mum of two, has created a miniature winter wonderland in her home in Abu Dhabi.
“I dream of spending a Christmas with real snow and pine trees with my family someday. I guess, it’s everybody’s dream considering we don’t have snow back home in the Philippines. For us, spending Christmas with family is what makes it more meaningful.
“The miniature collection is my own Christmas village. I’d love to get my children to spend Christmas in Lapland someday. For now, we will enjoy it here in our small home in Al Reem,” she says.
Decking up the house for loved ones seems to be a common theme. Janet Manning Waite, an interior designer, has created a “land of sweets” complete with a themed pastel Christmas tree, with her granddaughters in mind.
Other decorations in her Umm Suqeim home include a blue and white “dashing through the midnight snow”-themed tablescape, and a ginger and peppermint tree featuring a turquoise twist.
“I am passionate about Christmas decor, and spend hours researching and planning and shopping for each theme. I love how it all turned out this year,” she says.
She isn’t alone in meticulously planning seasonal decoration. Liesje Korff, who lives in Dubai’s Trade Centre 1 area, has been building her collection for about a decade now.
“I go for a romantic, delicate feminine theme – the same every year. Most of the decorations come from the UK.”
Korff is particularly fussy about her Christmas tree, she says. This year, she’s got a Nordmann Fir Prima, imported from the Netherlands, where she is from.
“They need to have the perfect shape, especially the crown, with several levels so I can hang silver chain baubles.”
On the topic of going all-out for Christmas, Lucy Gregory, whose house was featured in The National last year for its creative candy cane backyard and snowmaker, has done it again this Christmas. This year, the family have changed everything up, with a gold-themed backyard and candy cane entrance.
The mother of three says decorating the tree is a “highlight of the year.”
“I spend all year looking for and collecting items, not just in November and December. Christmas is never far from my mind.”