Twelfth Night

Epiphany is not itself the twelfth day of Christmas, rather the twelve days of Christmas are the days between Christmas Eve and Epiphany.” Unknown

The tree is down (thank goodness as the cat was driving us all round the twist with her persistence), decorations packed away (casualties of the cat swept up and binned, grrrrrr), second son has flown back to the UK to start the new uni term so its official, Twelfth Night/Epiphany has been and gone and the festive season is over for another year.

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A rather large tree took centre stage in Yas Mall along with Santa’s GrottoIMG_8524The Galleria Mall had a festive market, outdoor tree and fake snow and I met the man in red there too

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Christmas in the desert is an unusual affair but one that has much improved over my six festive seasons here. I’m sure if you are Australian (or originate from other hot climates) for instance, Christmas in the sun is the norm but for us Brits, December is cold, dark and manic, fighting through heaps of shoppers for that last gift or grappling for the last bag of sprouts in the supermarket.

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Jones The Grocer had lots of festive goodies IMG_8549

Not to be left out Costa had a colourful tree with an unusual hashtag decoration and a good mince-pie too

Let me just clarify, I do not miss fighting over vegetables, circling packed car parks looking for that one elusive space or freezing my bits off with my list as I try and get those much wanted gifts but I do kinda miss the festivities. I’m glad I had a little taste of snow in Finland and the whole London festive shebang before I returned to the quiet shops and free accessible mall parking.

IMG_8525Do you wanna build a snowman (out of fake snow)? The Emirates Palace did and their tree was pretty impressive too

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In the final two-week run up to the big day, I did try and get around to see some of this years festive efforts at some of the malls and hotels to get myself in the mood, even getting to meet the man in red himself! Abu Dhabi has definitely further embraced Christmas this year and there was an abundance of trees, festive markets, fake snow and snowmen, even some make-shift ice-skating rinks appeared in some of the malls (very small but you have to appreciate the effort) and I even saw an alpine style stall selling hot chocolate ;-). Sadly I missed the annual Carols in the Desert and the Swiss Christmas market this year as I was away.

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Happy Christmas Eve faces

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Heres the tree climbing, decoration stealing animal

After all Christmas is really about family and we were lucky enough to all be together to celebrate again this year. Christmas stockings and champagne started the day followed by more presents before we went to the St. Regis Resort at Saadiyat Island for Christmas Day brunch. Having tried several of the other establishments in the past this was a new festive one on us and the location on the beach is absolutely stunning.

IMG_8463One of the St. Regis trees and festive offerings

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Dining outside surrounded by palm trees with a Christmas cocktail or two with amazing views across the beach, you realise Christmas in the sun is actually pretty awesome. However, I have to say the food (queues and all) at the St. Regis was a disappointment (a bit of a shock as usually it’s excellent) as was the service, I think it was a case of over booking and understaffing. I was most definitely underwhelmed by the choice and availability of food that was in the most part cold and no Christmas pud! 

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Not a too shabby view for Christmas brunch DSC00981

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Reindeer? Who needs reindeer when you can arrive on a camel

Father Christmas even arrived on a camel which caused quite a frenzy I can tell you (think the last bag of sprouts scenario) as a mass of people (some even ran!) armed with phones, cameras, go-pros and selfie sticks wanted that Christmas Day snap for social media! Guilty ma lord, but I walked sedately (due to heels) and waited in line 😉

DSC00973          More ‘Happy’ Christmas faces

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Off to beach……….DSC00990

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Christmas sunset on Saadiyat Island

We spent the afternoon and evening with good friends, eating drinking and cuddling a tiny new baby which was lovely and a perfect end to a good day! I have to say that I think my favourite Christmas is still in a ski resort with lots of snow which we did for a few years before we moved here, I think I might mention to Santa that we should do that this year, is it too early to ask…………

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The Eastern Mangroves Promenade is a great spot for alfresco dining

Boxing Day was a quiet affair and with no leftovers (I was craving that day after Christmas day feast) we opted for another alfresco lunch at Carluccio’s at the Eastern Mangroves Promenade. Sitting in the sun enjoying a delicious Italian meal and watching people on the donut boats kind of made up for the lack of pickles, treats and board games but that slice of M & S Christmas cake when I got home helped too!

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Cheers 2014! Hello 2015

We saw in the New Year in true Irish style at the McGettigans pub here in Abu Dhabi with a few beverages, good friends, more beverages, a live band and did I mention there were a few beverages? I can only assume it was an excellent night as I didn’t arise until 5pm the next day feeling pretty damn awful! I think that may be a record even for me and takes duvet day to a whole new level! What a way to start 2015! New Year, New you and all that jazz!

Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014/2015. All rights reserved.