Date: 15 Jan 2019

While Christmas may not be openly celebrated in Jeddah, visitors to the city can take advantage of range of festive events exclusively available over the period.

So, if you’re in city over the period, here are some amazing activities to enjoy.

Going Shopping

While the Christmas is not observed in Jeddah, there are many shops and stores that are more than happy to celebrate the period due to the number of ex-pats that live in the area.  Many malls sell decorations and gifts that you can bring back to friends and family. It is worth remembering while you are travelling, many storekeepers will offer Christmas gifts for relatives back home as a way of celebrating fellowship; including Jeddah themed ornaments bundled up in green and red paper. It is often worth accepting these in the spirit they are given and passing them on to acquaintances, asking them to ‘pay-it-forward’ when it comes to the celebration of Ramadan or Eid.

Visiting Friends in Compounds

While celebrating Christmas does not celebrated happen openly in Saudi Arabia, many ex=pats live in compounds who may private and respectfully celebrate the season. Checking in with acquaintances live or work in the area is a great way to enjoy a uniquely Saudi look at the period. And even you or your friends do not celebrate the holidays, it’s always great to catch up with old friends.  

Walking Jeddah’s Promenade

The pathway facing the Red Sea is always a fantastic spot to visit at night, with the illuminated seafront proving perfect for a stroll to reflect on the day’s events - whether you take in the famous floating mosque, or the area’s public art at the corniche. Or if you just want to take a seat and enjoy the sun-set. Just be sure to be aware of the changing winter weather conditions and that you pack your clothes appropriately.

Enjoying Fine Dining

Despite the lack of Christmas celebrations, the holiday period sees Jeddah’s restaurants and bakeries get in on the action. Expect to be sold themed cakes seasoned with gorgeous Saudi dates, or unique twists on festive classics. And many restaurants will add seasonal spices to their foods and bring a distinctly Saudi take to the Christmas period.

Celebrating the New Year

As New Years is celebrated as part of Eid, visiting pilgrims can plan their own quiet and reflective celebrations over the period. Booking into a restaurant, taking a tour, or visiting one of Jeddah’s many sites of significance can be a great way to respectfully take in the new year with your fellow Pilgrims and reflect on your Umrah journey to date.