Christmas is coming early for many UAE residents, who say they are keen to bring some festive cheer to help brighten an "awful year".
Some decorated their homes as early as the beginning of October, or even earlier, three full months before the big day.
And one company that specialises in creating centrepieces, wreaths, garlands and ready-made trees has been inundated with orders since early August.
Janet Waite, an interior designer who runs Seasons By Design, which specialises in seasonal decorations, said she normally starts getting busy with Christmas sales in mid to late September.
“It started in late August,” she said. “And I have been about 50 per cent busier this year from early on. I have lost count of how many feet of garland I have sold for people’s stairs – 58 feet for this customer, and 70 feet for this customer.
“Because a lot of people are staying here for Christmas for the first time ever. And so they want to make the house really nice.”
Christmas lover Lucy Chow would normally resist the urge to decorate her home until late November, when real trees start arriving from Canada for sale in the UAE.
She will still wait for the tree, but plans to start decking out her home on Sunday. And she has a lot to put out.
Once she is done, every door will have a wreath and every room will feature some element of Christmas.
“There are table centrepieces everywhere. And I will be burning the Christmas candles every day.”
“This is the earliest by far that I have done it,” said the Dubai resident from Canada.
“First of all, there is the fact we have all been in our homes throughout the Covid-19 period makes us really value the environment of our home and what’s going on inside.
“So if we can make it really festive early then why wouldn’t we do that? The Christmas decorations are there anyway, so let’s put them out and make it joyous and festive early.”
Ms Chow, and many others, will not be flying home to visit relatives this year, which made her want to make it more festive in Dubai.
Rita Bains, who lives in Abu Dhabi but is from the UK, feels the same. She said she has always loved Christmas and usually starts decorating her home in November.
But this year she started a month earlier.
“Yes, my tree has gone up in October, but is there a rule? No, there are no rules this year. It makes us happy and makes the children happy,” she said.
“Anybody who does come to the house, it puts a smile on their face.”
And they are not alone. Dozens of members of the Christmas Madness UAE Facebook page said they have also put their trees up early.
“Our tree will go up early November this year, after Halloween is out of the way,” wrote one.
“Christmas decorations make me happy and we are going through a lot of stress – my husband lost his job, so coming home to Christmas cheer makes it a little easier.”
Tom Neighbour, 34, from the UK, also lost his job as an interior designer this year. He has since set up his own company. He put his tree up in mid-October, partly because he spent more time at home.
“Considering what my job is, I look at everything in a more critical way and I am constantly looking at the same space, so I want to change it all the time,” he said.
He was also, like many others, in a hurry to get this year over with. And Christmas is symbolic as it is associated with the end of the year.
“It would be nice if everything finished at the end of the year,” he said.
“We know it won’t but it’s almost like a subconscious thing that because Christmas is the end of the year everything will get better in the new year.”