COP28 in UAE: After climate action, Expo City Dubai turns into Christmas village

To start the holiday cheer, a giant 52-foot Christmas tree, recycled from last year, will be lit up tomorrow

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Angel Tesorero

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 12:55 PM

Last updated: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 4:50 PM

Now that COP28 is over, Expo City Dubai will turn into a magical Winter City – with Santa Claus ensuring sustainability and climate awareness at the core of the merry celebration.

To start the holiday cheer, everyone is invited to witness the lighting of a giant 52-foot Christmas tree on Friday, December 15, at 6pm at the iconic Al Wasl Dome that will be turned into a Christmas village.

According to Expo City, the tree is recycled from last year, and it will be at the heart of the celebrations. “Al Wasl Dome is decked out with repurposed decorations and energy-efficient lighting and throughout the village, visitors can take on climate challenges, collect stamps and join the elves in eco-friendly workshops.”

There's also an eco-toy factory where children can make their own toys from recycled materials and learn more about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)

Eco-friendly festive experiences

Keeping up with the legacy of COP28, there are plenty of eco-friendly festive experiences that will increase climate awareness and promote green living, including Santa’s sustainable house, Mrs Claus’ bakery, an eco-friendly toy factory and Frosty’s farmhouse.

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Save the North Pole

Ogranisers said one activity young visitors can join Santa is on his quest to help save the North Pole and its precious wildlife from the rapid and dramatic impacts related to global climate change.

There will be clues, climate challenges and children can join the elves in eco-friendly workshops. Santa’s house is open for guests “to discover the ingenious ways he prioritises sustainability in his own abode – including repurposed decorations and energy-efficient lighting.”

Mrs Claus, meanwhile, will regale them with stories of how to save our polar habitats and share tips that encourage young bakers to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

‘Naughty’ or ‘Nice’

Another fun activity for visitors is to write their names on Santa’s “naughty” or “nice” list – “but not before learning they’re more likely to secure a place in his good graces if they embrace greener lifestyles,” Expo City Dubai organisers added.

Santa will also be opening the doors to his toy factory, a place where children immerse themselves in the world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) while promoting sustainability.

Kids can make their own toys from recycled materials and become eco-stewards of the planet.

All Insta-worthy

Every corner of the Christmas village is definitely Insta-worthy. There is chalet-style Christmas market, and many snow-sprinkled trees, fun carnival games, and photo opportunities with the reindeer sleigh and popular robot, Opti.

Meanwhile, Carols by Candlelight will run from December 20 to 24 December – with a range of food and beverage packages ad nightly projection shows.

Winter timings

Winter City is open from 3pm until 11pm, with entry priced from Dh20 for adults and free for ages 12 and under, and Carols by Candlelight ticketholders. Additional charges are applicable for some activities and workshops. For more information, visit Expo City Dubai website.

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