Residents in the UAE are paying as much as Dh50,000 (over $13,500) to create a "winter wonderland"  experience on their private properties.
Ben Elliott-Smith, Managing Director at Desert Snow, a winter effects company in Dubai, told Gulf News that business has massively picked up this year in the lead up to Christmas.
“Last year was our first year of business [but] this year we are four times busier,” he said
On Tuesday, the day before Christmas, Desert Snow were completely booked with back to back jobs at private villas.
Elliot-Smith says many customers are after complete packages including decorations, frosted plants, and snowmen and, of course, the faux-snow on the lawn.
Packages start from around Dh5,000 but can cost as much as Dh50,000 depending on decorations and how many days the snow machines are rented.
Desert Snow uses biodegradable, environmentally-friendly products to create the winter snow effect. Elliot-Smith says the big difference between their product and the real thing is that Desert Snow is not cold and it does not melt in the heat. But otherwise, he says, it’s very much the same. It can be clumped together into a snowball, and footprints are left as you walk through.
Since October, Desert Snow has been completely booked out as Christmas in the UAE becomes increasingly popular among the expatriate communit y.
Elliot-Smith says the majority of Christmas customers are expatriates but that throughout the year Desert Snow services are in demand from all nationalities, including Emirati families, who want to create a winter experience for their children or for private parties.
Along with private villas, Desert Snow decorates shopping malls and theme parks.
The niche company set up the winter decorations at Ferrari World and at the World Trade Centra Mall in Abu Dhabi.