Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A very expat Christmas

Christmas is a funny time when you're an expat. It's same, same but different.

Dubai is super quiet at the moment, it feels like half of the city has returned to their home countries (or somewhere exotic) for Christmas. For us, we wouldn't think about returning home this time of year - the expense of travelling this time of year, the fact that we wait all year for some cool weather and we want to save leave time for the hottest months means Christmas in Dubai.

Before I'd had a Christmas in Dubai, I thought it would be something we celebrated behind closed doors, being an Islamic country and all. Nothing could be further from the truth. The malls are decorated with lavish Christmas trees and baubles, there a Christmas tunes piped throughout and the radio stations have endless festive carols playing. I saw of wonderful sight at the mall earlier this week, about 50 women in hijabs waiting to get their photos taken with the elaborate Christmas decorations. I wish I could bring a few of those Aussies over here who complain on Facebook and Twitter about Muslims wanting to abolish our "Christian way of life".

Christmas Day is not a public holiday here, it's just a normal day of the week. So the upside of celebrating Christmas here means no pre-Christmas shopping mayhem. The supermarkets are calm and if I forget anything I can just go to the shop on the day itself. Most hotels and restaurants here also make takeaway turkey dinners, which means you can get a huge, perfectly cooked turkey with all the trimmings for not much more than it would cost to make it ourselves (which is what we are doing).

Another upside for us is being able to stay at home and have a quiet lunch without having to travel all around the countryside, which can be extra stressful when you have young kids who are always exhausted from the excitement and usually just want to stay at home and play with their new toys. Although not seeing family and friends is a downside.

I do miss the laid-back feeling this time of year in Australia - a trip to the beach, the smell of gardenias, long lazy days.

I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! I hope you have a safe and magical day.


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