It’s that time of the year again, and what better way to dive into the festive spirit than to come home and simply smell the true essence of Christmas – which is what authentic Christmas trees are said to provide.
Authentic Christmas tress are quickly selling out across the UAE during this time of the year, and the demand for authentic trees have spiked within the last five years, say shop owners and suppliers. Online sales also are picking up with supplies from various countries coming in.
Gemma White, who helps run her husband’s company, Christmas Trees Dubai, told Khaleej Times that the popularity of authentic trees have certainly grown this year.
“The popularity has surged, because you can’t really beat a real Christmas tree for a true festive feeling at home,” she said.
“You come downstairs in the morning, or you go into your living room in the morning, and the whole place simply smells of Christmas tree, which adds to that festive feeling,” said the expat from the UK, who has been living in the UAE for more than 12 years.
She said people who moved to UAE from colder countries tend to lean more towards purchasing authentic trees, rather than artificial ones.
“It gives them a bit of sense of home,” she added.
White pointed out that although artificial trees are still loved by many, it is the authentic trees that seem to have ticked this year’s box in particular.
“I think people are leaning towards authenticity more, I’m not criticising fake trees, but I think for that ‘all round Christmas vibe,’ which they do so wonderfully well here in the UAE, I think real trees just adds to it.”
She said her top buyers often come from European countries, India, as well as Russia. “Our customers are very varied, they are not all European, we have a lot of Indian and Russian customers too.”
White said the company, which has been running for five years, has sold thousands of trees this year alone. “We have partners we work with, so we are selling thousands of trees and we send them out to all of the emirates.”
“This is our fifth year and it has grown extensively.”
She said her family love celebrating Christmas time in the UAE, adding that the nation, which has more than 200 nationalities calling it home, loves to welcome and embrace all cultures, backgrounds and religions.
“I’ve been living in the UAE for 12 years now and I think it’s amazing what they do here.”
“It’s not just Christmas – my children in school even celebrate Diwali and Ramadan. I love how the country celebrates all cultures.”
She said one doesn’t have to go far to see the immense effort, which have been put into place.
“You only have to go to the malls and hotels to see how the UAE embraces the festive season, like how they do for all the other big celebrations, and I think it’s just wonderful.”
“I don’t know any other country that embrace all the cultures like that they have here.”
“I think it is incredible, and that’s why we love Christmas in the UAE,” added White.
The trees can be purchased online at ChristmasTreesDubai.com and prices start from Dh550 onwards, for a six-even foot authentic Christmas tree.
Rose Danielso, Customer service representative at Spinneys, said authentic trees are also quickly selling out across their stores.
She said she has noticed most of the customers buying authentic trees have come from the UK.
“We have all kinds of customers buying the authentic trees, but most of them are from the UK.”
She said at least five real trees are sold per day in each of the stores, and there are 13 across Abu Dhabi alone.
The authentic trees, which have arrived all the way from Canada and Denmark, are selling from Dh175, for a cozy three-four foot tree, right up to Dh650, for a massive eight-nine foot tree.
“People love having authentic trees at home, because they love the smell of the tree and it adds to that Christmassy vibe,” added Danielso, who has been working in the company for the past three years.
A special turkey treat
Christmas is a celebration of togetherness and thanksgiving. As part of the tradition, the celebration is marked with a joyous feast. And in the western world, the star of the traditional Christmas dinner is a roasted turkey.
This special treat is also very much available in Dubai. “With many expats in Dubai who are used to celebrating Christmas in their countries back home, they always bring a piece from the festive celebrations as well to Dubai,” Terje Abrams, public relations manager at Fairmont Dubai, tells Khaleej Times.
“Having a Christmas turkey available in stores or hotels and doing gift-giving between friends or colleagues is certainly a key to festive celebrations in this part of the world,” she adds.
A roasted turkey is served with all the trimmings, including brussel sprouts, buttered carrots, roasted parsnips, roasted potatoes and traditional stuffing, accompanied with turkey and cranberry sauce.
Preparing the perfect turkey treat is quite demanding. So, hotels in Dubai – from Downtown Dubai to Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Barsha Heights and along Sheikh Zayed Road – are taking away the stress of preparing the meal yourself. They are also offering a sort of mix and match to go with your turkey like the one offered at Armani/Deli, where chefs have prepared other European favourites such as classic antipasti, seafood platters, homemade pasta dishes, fresh salmon and sea bass, prime Angus tenderloin, and leg of lamb served with winter vegetables.
Christmas in the desert
Those who would like to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life may opt to spend a Christmas holiday in the UAE desert.
The weather is cool but instead of snow, maybe you can soak in the ‘cold’ sand; and instead of seeing reindeers, you can watch and even ride in one of the ships of the desert – the camels. The little ones may even experience a surprise visit from Santa riding a camel and distributing presents and gifts.
One of the perfect getaways would be a secluded hideaway leisure resort perched on the edge of Rub Al Khali Desert in Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarter.
Communing with nature is the idea behind the vacation getaway. “Focus is on make a dazzling celebration for the whole family,” says Khaled Sharabassy, general manager of Tilal Liwa Hotel. “We have prepared a holiday calendar filled with enriching gatherings and great experiences in the true spirit of Arabia,” he adds.And of course, the holiday is not complete without the festive spread. And while you tuck in your favourite food, make sure you enjoy soulful tunes of carol singers to warm your hearts.