The Santa special

With Christmas Day brunches in the UAE costing as much as 610AED (£100) an adult – and the top-end ones including acrobats and petting zoos on top of a visit from Santa – I’m always on the look out for some down-to-earth (read: cheap) entertainment for my children over the holidays.

After all, there’s only so many ‘How many days/hours/minutes till Santa comes?’ that a mum can take.

This year, I do believe I found the best bargain in the UAE: Santa at Dubai’s Oasis Centre.

He’s a nocturnal chap – when darkness falls, he plods over to the 10-metre-high, snow-covered Santa Castle in the middle of the mall to do meet-and-greets, until as late as 11.30pm on weekends and 10pm on weekdays. (Children from some cultures are often kept up late here – not mine, I’d add, I reach my limit at 8pm.)

For 35AED (£5.80), we enjoyed a visit with Santa (a lot of ho-ho-ing) and received a present, a photo, a free kids’ meal at Max Burger, cotton candy, a free ride in the play area and even an adult’s gift (a USB or headsets). Best 35AEd I’ve spent this Christmas.

There was no holding Son2 back – he leapt straight onto Santa’s lap, peered at his spectacles closely, decided he was legitimate and had a little chat about what he’d like Santa to bring (a red bike with a speedometre on it). Then, in a fit of generosity, Son2 announced he’d be flexible: “But if you can’t make it in red, any colour will do.”

Son1 is already somewhat suspicious of Santa and hung back – finally going forward to request an Xbox. I suspect that next year, the man in red will be well and truly rumbled.

So here’s to enjoying the magic while it lasts.

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WISHING EVERYONE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! Love, the Circles family x

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You might also like: Work-to-rule Santa; The real Santa; Last-minute shopping (with kids); Kids, meet Baby Jesus

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