Christmas: A day of greetings and reunions in UAE
Dubai - Many enjoyed a holiday while it was just an ordinary day at work for some
Friends and families had mini-reunions; colleagues and flat-mates enjoyed the day at various parks, malls and restaurants in the city; some went to church to attend Christmas service; some preferred to stay at home to watch their favourite movies or TV series and there were expats who spent the day talking with their loved ones via split-screen video chat.
Many enjoyed a holiday while it was just an ordinary day at work for some. But all of them didn't let the day pass without greeting each other a 'Merry Christmas.'
Indian expat and PR executive Tina Mateen spent her first Christmas in Dubai on Sunday and she said she "had a great time."
"The city looks beautiful welcoming the festival and I've had a great time with new friends and my family here over a Christmas lunch and traditional sweets," she told Khaleej Times.
"I had Christmas lunch with my aunt and she made stuffed chicken and rice and vegetables in sweet gravy. And of course, I enjoyed my favourite holiday treat: plum cake," she added.
Meanwhile, long-time resident Mike Gracilla, an architect, chose the newly opened Dubai Parks & Resorts as his Christmas destination to celebrate with his wife and dad, who flew in from the Philippines. They were amazed at the latest entertainment hub in the city.
For Ryan, who came all the way with friends from Abu Dhabi, Dubai Miracle Garden and the Dubai Canal were their top choice. An early morning walk at the canal and finding solace in the midst of floral installations were their ideal Christmas treats.
As for Malaysian expat KC Cheah, he began the day calling family in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. "After that, I spent time with my pal in Dubai at his place. It was just a simple small celebration - we cooked and enjoyed Indian curry to remind ourselves of our favourite dishes back home," Cheah said.
Thanks to digital technology, Mariz was also able to talk and greet her family and boyfriend back home a joyous Christmas. This was the second time Mariz spent Christmas in Dubai.
"Of course I felt home-sick and it's also hard to keep a long-distance relationship with my boy friend," she told Khaleej Times. "Christmas is different back home. In the Philippines, we spent the day visiting relatives and it was a party whole day."
"But this was just a small sacrifice I'm making. Soon I will be with my family and boyfriend, and we will be enjoying a beachfront holiday in the Philippines," she added.