From Canada to Satwa: Fresh Christmas trees bloom in Dubai market

Sellers said that the demand soared through the roof during UAE National Day weekend, and they sold over 90 trees daily; the number is at 50 a day now


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Streets of Satwa are lined up with real Christmas trees in the first week of December. Photos by Shihab
Streets of Satwa are lined up with real Christmas trees in the first week of December. Photos by Shihab

Published: Wed 6 Dec 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 6 Dec 2023, 9:58 PM

As the December air turns crisp and the days grow shorter, there's no better way to usher in the festive spirit than by decorating homes with Christmas trees. Streets of Satwa are bustling with Christmas shoppers negotiating with sellers for their fresh trees.

All the way from Canada, the trees line up this Dubai market, transforming it into a winter wonderland and filling the air with a fresh, pinene aroma.

Every year during the season, residents from all over the UAE head to Satwa for the perfect centrepiece for their home decorations. Whether it's a small corner tree or a towering floor-to-ceiling masterpiece, shoppers can be spoiled for choice to make their homes look merry and bright.

Carolina Borges, a Polish expat living in Al Jaddaf, was among the many who visited the Satwa market to shop for their tree. A physiotherapist by profession, Borges shared, "For the last few years, I have been coming to the market to get a fresh Christmas tree for my house. I have already picked out my tree for this year.

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Carolina Borges
Carolina Borges

"We also have a similar Fraser Fir tree in Poland, and this is so close to my heart. We decorate the trees with apples, oranges, and gingerbreads. The tree has a significant fragrance that leaves the whole house smelling amazing," shared Borges.

The vendors at the market have also imported Nordmann firs from Denmark, and many residents prefer this particular tree. Angela, a Filipino expat and resident of Deira, purchased a 10-footer for her hall.

"We have a spacious hall, and for Christmas, we want it to be the most attractive place as we are expecting many guests," explained Angela. She continued, "Decorating this sizable tree will be fun. We plan to hang cookies, chocolate, nuts, gifts, tinsels, ornaments, baubles, globes, and, finally, the lights."


Everyone wants a tree

Satwa vendors reported that the demand soared through the roof during the National Day weekend.

Ahmed, one of the sellers, said they have received a good response from shoppers. "It seems everyone wants a Christmas tree. During the National Day Weekend, we sold over 90 trees daily, and currently, the number is at 50 a day," said Ahmed.

Gulshan Abdul Gafoor, Manager at National Flowers, said these trees can be preserved at home for up to 45 days. He shared a trick and said, "Mix water with sugar or some beverages and pour it onto the base of the tree to extend its longevity."

He added that the trees from Denmark are broad and strong, with spaces between the branches, and can be decorated. "The trees from Canadian Fraser Fir are cony and have cluttered bushes, making it very beautiful," said Gulshan.

Once the trees are cut in the sourcing countries, they are wrapped in nets or ropes and stored in freezing containers during shipping. "After 30 days in the sea, it reaches UAE, and we stock it in our chilled warehouses. We bring about 50-60 of these trees to shop for sale daily," said Gulshan.

Sellers carefully unwrap the nets and untie the ropes around the trees, allowing buyers to inspect them. They gently tap the trees on the floor for dried needles to fall off. "After customers choose their preferred trees, we repackage them neatly in nets to deliver them to their homes," said Gulshan.


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