Watch as Emirates Palace and Expo City mark holiday season with Christmas tree lightings

Families soaked in the festive atmosphere and posed for pictures with Santa Claus

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Emirates Palace and Expo City kicked-off the festive season on Friday night with their tree-lighting ceremonies.

At Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi's largest Christmas tree was decorated with frosting and baubles in gold, green, blue and bronze hues for the occasion. The event began with a visit from Santa Claus and his helpers, who welcomed families as they arrived to witness the lights being switched on.

A large crowd of revellers gathered for the occasion, and children applauded as the tree was lit in bright hues at 6pm. Later, musicians played Christmas songs and a visitors joined a group of carollers, singing Christmas classics.

Families also explored Emirates Palace’s festive Winter Village, which was punctuated with photo-opportunity sets. The hotel was decorated with festive scenes, depicting reindeer and trucks carrying Christmas trees. Meanwhile, elves served up festive treats, while Santa did the rounds, greeting children.

Friday night also marked the start of a host of activities, including Christmas Afternoon Tea, which is available at The Cake Shop for Dh245 until December 26. The shop is also offering Dh450 gift hampers, and Dh750 turkey hampers for a home-made Christmas dinner. For those who prefer to dine out and skip doing the dishes on Christmas Day, Emirates Palace will be serving brunch at the Palace Terrace, with prices starting at Dh550.

In Dubai, Expo City also lit up its own Christmas tree at the Al Wasl Plaza. Towering high, the tree was adorned with gold and silver baubles and decorative gift boxes. Santa made an appearance at the event, joined by Mrs Claus and a group of their helpers.

Visitors were in good cheer, as they took pictures and gingerbread men strolled past. Expo City’s Mobility District has been transformed into a winter wonderland until January 8, complete with chalet-style market stalls, pine trees, fun fairground games and a station where children can write letters to Santa.

Scroll through photos of Global Village's Christmas tree lighting below

Updated: December 10, 2022, 10:53 AM