Christmas celebrations kick off at Emirates Palace

The tree is the pièce de résistance of a Winter Wonderland-themed Palace atrium.
Visitors excitedly but patiently wait to see the Santa Class during a christmas tree lighting at Emirates Palace on Wednesday evening in Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova / The National
Visitors excitedly but patiently wait to see the Santa Class during a christmas tree lighting at Emirates Palace on Wednesday evening in Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova / The National

ABU DHABI // It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well, it certainly was for the hundreds of visitors who visited Emirates Palace on Wednesday for the switching on of lights at the hotel’s 42-foot Christmas tree.

The tree is the pièce de résistance of the winter wonderland-themed atrium at the hotel.

Gift items wrapped in colourful paper were placed beneath the tree, which was adorned with gold and red ornaments, golden pine cones and bunches of holly. A thousand lights glittered.

Christmas goodies and cookies were sold at a gingerbread house, and Santa Claus listened to children’s wishlists. A group of carollers added to the festive atmosphere by performing traditional songs.

Leon Baum, hotel manager, said: “The response from the people of Abu Dhabi has exceeded our expectations.”

He said it had taken a team of 20 staff 36 hours to decorate the tree.

“This is my first Christmas in Abu Dhabi and I am already feeling the excitement that we have back home,” said Mr Baum, from London, UK.

Japanese expat Hiromi Mishawa is celebrating her third Christmas in the UAE. She said she has never seen such a beautiful tree.

“I am glad to celebrate Christmas here in Abu Dhabi with my family and friends,” said Mrs Mishawa, who visited the hotel with a large group of family and friends.

Valeria Tirlea, a Romanian who has lived in the capital for 10 years, said although she was missing her family back home she was enjoying the festivities.

“I celebrate Christmas with my adopted family in Abu Dhabi. All these people around the tree here and in this country are my adopted family,” she said.

“Abu Dhabi Christmas gives you a terrific opportunity to celebrate this special occasion with people from different parts of the world, which we cannot get back home.”

Khushbo Ajmera, who has lived in the UAE for three years, heard about the hotel celebrations through a friend.

“Although we don’t belong to the same faith, we all love to celebrate Christmas here. It’s a celebration that transcends beyond boundaries,” said Miss Ajmera, from India. I am loving the joy around this tree and the happy faces over here. The lights of the tree are glittering everywhere.”

The Christmas tree will decorate the Emirates Palace until January 7.

akhaishgi@thenational.ae

Published: December 10, 2014 04:00 AM

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