Christmas short-cuts for housewives

At work, being a weekly news publication, we’re ‘on a deadline’ the whole time. It’s relentless but everyone pulls together and the magazine always gets done – even when the post-recession production team is two people, doing six different jobs, down, like it was last week.

But the Christmas deadline? That’s something else altogether. And it’s not like I’m trying to create a Martha Stewart-esqe holiday like those women I meet with their bright red Christmas manicures and fresh highlights who hung the last bauble on the tree at 2am and had everything wrapped days ago. With bows on.

I’m trying to keep it simple – the less is more approach – but even so I’m feeling the pressure because, having just finished work on Thursday and the kids now off school, I keep counting the days and there just aren’t enough to get everything done.

So this year, I’m discovering that ‘short-cuts’ are the working housewife’s best friend – let’s just call them time-saving devices that allow you to eke out the hours until Christmas.

Our fourth Christmas in Dubai, and still a novelty seeing trees surrounded by palms and blue sky

By now, the kids were meant to have seen Santa, but we failed at the weekend due to the queue at Wafi and when we trooped over to another mall, we were told the part-time, lazy oaf of a Santa there only works evenings.

We could take the traditionalist approach and see Santa in the snow at Ski Dubai, but I’m thinking it might be insanely busy – like the rest of Dubai, which has swelled in size with thousands of relatives and tourists in town, here to have Christmas on the beach.

I’ve also got a sneaking suspicion that if we did come across Santa in Dubai he might be on the skinny side and sporting a sun tan.

So I’ve warned the kids we may have to email their Christmas list – plus friends have told me about a website,, which is apparently brilliant – and free.

A more worrying hitch that came to light while attempting to do some baking with the kids is that only half the oven works – it can just about cope with fish fingers, but a turkey big enough to feed 10-plus people on Christmas Eve could take all day to cook.

We're coming over for Christmas. All of us

So I’m looking into take-out turkeys – because this is where Dubai comes into its own. Despite Christmas not being an official holiday here (DH will be at work, training, on the big day), you can pre-order a cooked turkey with trimmings from a number of hotels – some will even deliver, meaning your turkey arrives at your door like a pizza.

A few other short cuts I’ve discovered include the mince pies at Spinneys (delicious), the frozen sausage rolls in the hidden-away ‘forbidden’ pork section, e-mailable gift certificates from Amazon for my family back home and the fact that it’s ok to superglue the gingerbread house we attempted – as it’s too hard to eat anyway and using icing as glue, as the nonsense in the flat-packed kit suggested, resulted in a derelict shack.

The red nails are even a possibility now that I’ve clawed back a few hours. But not the holiday highlights – because my hairdresser makes enough money here giving women beautiful sun-kissed hair-dos that she can afford to leave early for a beach resort in Thailand.


Santa in the desert: The man himself arrived in a red Hummer at an event organised by the Dubai Irish Society

8 thoughts on “Christmas short-cuts for housewives

  1. Cherry Sulivan says:

    Marianne, please tell me that you just didn’t realize that only half the oven works? Please tell me that this is a recent phenomenon?? Right? (smile) Since C is in school all day, we have very free time ourselves to see Santa. Fortunately, we happened to visit our chiropractor the night before we were about to leave for Southern CA (my yearly Christmas visit) and guess who was there by the real fireplace? Santa. Dr Jeff kindly took pictures for me with his i-phone (me having the mobile which simply calls people but does nothing else) and emailed it to us:) Perhaps you can persuade someone to dress up as Santa and invite your little friends to a Christmas tea at your house where Santa just “appeared”.

    • A fairly recent phenomenon, lol! and compounded by the gas just running out – which involves calling a gas truck, normally called something like Al-Boom Gas! But all sorted now, luckily, and the turkey ordered. What a great way to run into Santa! Glad you got some photos (scrapbook fodder!). Have a wonderful time in Southern CA and a great Christmas 🙂

  2. Very good! I know exactly how you feel – we gave up on wafi after last year’s debacle – attempting a two hour wait with two small boys – one of whom was still at the nappy stage – Argh! Never again. It was torture. Merry Christmas love! I hope the turkey tastes fab 🙂 xxx

    • Hi dubaihousewife! Wishing you and your boys a very merry Christmas! I’m looking forward to your next blog! I keep checking back to see if I’ve missed anything! 🙂 Enjoy the break from work and your crack-of-dawn school run! xx

  3. I feel terribly guilty – I’m not working, have no little ones who believe in Santa anymore, and STILL am using all the short cuts! On a happier note….- just wanted to let you know I’ve left you a Liebster award over at my blog. Merry Christmas!

  4. I’ve come across your blog relatively recently and am really enjoying reading about your experiences in Dubai. I visited it many times in the mid 1980s (when I lived in Doha) – but it’s quite a bit different now! Merry Christmas!

    • Hi Elaine! Thank you for reading! I bet you’d hardly recognise Dubai now … So many changes – and so fast! I always enjoy looking at photos of what Dubai used to look like – when Sheikh Zayed Road was two-lanes not 10! Have a great Christmas! I’ll be popping over to your blog as soon as the festivities calm down…

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