A Merry Christmas gift from Al Bawaba! Santa Claus is coming to Arab town

Published December 25th, 2014 - 05:13 GMT

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*SPOILER ALERT* Do you guys remember when you first figured out Santa wasn't real?

Did it happen at a Christmas party when a man dressed as Santa Claus pulled off his faux-beard (to unveil a more grizzly and real version!) and you realized it was Mustafa from next door?

We can relate.

This year for Chrismas, Al Bawaba compiled the best Arab Santas we could find on the Internet for you. You're welcome.  Continue reading below »

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Who said Santa had a bunch of reindeer? Santa (or Santas more like it!) ride proud Arabian pedigree horses in the Middle East - it´s too hot for reindeer of course! Yalla, giddy up!!
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10Who said Santa had a bunch of reindeer? Santa (or Santas more like it!) ride proud Arabian pedigree horses in the Middle East - it´s too hot for reindeer of course! Yalla, giddy up!!

Enlarge
If he´s not on horseback, then Santa´s preferred mode of transport in the sands of Arabia may be the camel. This festively decked out ship of the desert delivers presents to Bedouin kids and never wastes time at watering holes. But an oasis a few more dunes along will quench that stoic Santa's thirst, cause Baba Claus has to go without his port!
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10If he´s not on horseback, then Santa´s preferred mode of transport in the sands of Arabia may be the camel. This festively decked out ship of the desert delivers presents to Bedouin kids and never wastes time at watering holes. But an oasis a few more dunes along will quench that stoic Santa's thirst, cause Baba Claus has to go without his port!

Enlarge
In Palestine you spread Christmas spirit by donning your Santa suit while charitably giving your Santa hat to your neighbour. It´s OK though because you can always wear your keffiyeh (Palestinian black and white checkered  signature head gear) to keep your head from getting frosty.
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10In Palestine you spread Christmas spirit by donning your Santa suit while charitably giving your Santa hat to your neighbour. It´s OK though because you can always wear your keffiyeh (Palestinian black and white checkered signature head gear) to keep your head from getting frosty.

Enlarge
Ho ho ho and lo! -- here´s another Santa on another camel. They may not be the fastest ride for delivering presents to all the world´s children in one night, but at least they go the distance! And they got the Arab part of the world covered, no sweat. Here, he is leaving base camp to embark on his night of good work.
Reduce

Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10Ho ho ho and lo! -- here´s another Santa on another camel. They may not be the fastest ride for delivering presents to all the world´s children in one night, but at least they go the distance! And they got the Arab part of the world covered, no sweat. Here, he is leaving base camp to embark on his night of good work.

Enlarge
When the camels and horses are´t available maybe an Arab Santa does go back to basics and finds himself the reindeer -- stuffed that is! At least the children get to ride with Santa in his sleigh, which can accommodate more people (and presents) than our Arabian counterpart beasts of burden could manage. It's all about that sleigh!
Reduce

Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10When the camels and horses are´t available maybe an Arab Santa does go back to basics and finds himself the reindeer -- stuffed that is! At least the children get to ride with Santa in his sleigh, which can accommodate more people (and presents) than our Arabian counterpart beasts of burden could manage. It's all about that sleigh!

Enlarge
Santa from the movies likes milk and cookies whenever he drops into each child´s house for Christmas. In the Middle East however, Santa prefers Arabic coffee and mansaf! Arabian hospitality ensures kids invite him for a full dinner, like a kabsa, with the family to give him enough sustenance to make it through his busiest night of the year.
Reduce

Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10Santa from the movies likes milk and cookies whenever he drops into each child´s house for Christmas. In the Middle East however, Santa prefers Arabic coffee and mansaf! Arabian hospitality ensures kids invite him for a full dinner, like a kabsa, with the family to give him enough sustenance to make it through his busiest night of the year.

Enlarge
In Palestine, it may be fun to sit down with Santa over some nice warm tea. In Arab societies this is the best way to get the goss! and find out who´s been good this year and who´s been 'mashkalji/ieh' (naughty). Not sure how much tea this frozen Santa will need to thaw out, or how responsive this stiff shop window model will be!
Reduce

Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10In Palestine, it may be fun to sit down with Santa over some nice warm tea. In Arab societies this is the best way to get the goss! and find out who´s been good this year and who´s been 'mashkalji/ieh' (naughty). Not sure how much tea this frozen Santa will need to thaw out, or how responsive this stiff shop window model will be!

Enlarge
When Father Christmas is just a stone throw away from you! Santa throwing a stone is not characteristic of the Papa Noel we all know and love. However, he may just be having a little down time, playing fetch with his reindeer - or horses, or camels! Or else he's a cynical Claus, girding his benevolent loins for the worst, David and Goliath-style.
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Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10When Father Christmas is just a stone throw away from you! Santa throwing a stone is not characteristic of the Papa Noel we all know and love. However, he may just be having a little down time, playing fetch with his reindeer - or horses, or camels! Or else he's a cynical Claus, girding his benevolent loins for the worst, David and Goliath-style.

Enlarge
Not a terrorist Baba Claus, surely? And yet, still another uncharacteristic Santa. Let´s hope it's a toy gun for some good little boys or girls. Don´t fret, the man is just pointing our rifle-toting Santa down the street to deliver presents to his little ones. A Father (Christmas) has the right to defend himself in these lands of good tidings.
Reduce

Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10Not a terrorist Baba Claus, surely? And yet, still another uncharacteristic Santa. Let´s hope it's a toy gun for some good little boys or girls. Don´t fret, the man is just pointing our rifle-toting Santa down the street to deliver presents to his little ones. A Father (Christmas) has the right to defend himself in these lands of good tidings.

Enlarge
Mrs. Claus still gets a look-in Levant side! Who says Santa is a man? In this day and age of equal opportunity, lady Santas can wear a beard and a hijab! It seems Santa crosses religions and gender in this Lebanese celebration to ring Christmas bells and laugh 'ho ho ho' down the street.
Reduce

Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Mrs. Claus still gets a look-in Levant side! Who says Santa is a man? In this day and age of equal opportunity, lady Santas can wear a beard and a hijab! It seems Santa crosses religions and gender in this Lebanese celebration to ring Christmas bells and laugh "ho ho ho" down the street.

Enlarge

1

Who said Santa had a bunch of reindeer? Santa (or Santas more like it!) ride proud Arabian pedigree horses in the Middle East - it´s too hot for reindeer of course! Yalla, giddy up!!

Image 1 of 10Who said Santa had a bunch of reindeer? Santa (or Santas more like it!) ride proud Arabian pedigree horses in the Middle East - it´s too hot for reindeer of course! Yalla, giddy up!!

2

If he´s not on horseback, then Santa´s preferred mode of transport in the sands of Arabia may be the camel. This festively decked out ship of the desert delivers presents to Bedouin kids and never wastes time at watering holes. But an oasis a few more dunes along will quench that stoic Santa's thirst, cause Baba Claus has to go without his port!

Image 2 of 10If he´s not on horseback, then Santa´s preferred mode of transport in the sands of Arabia may be the camel. This festively decked out ship of the desert delivers presents to Bedouin kids and never wastes time at watering holes. But an oasis a few more dunes along will quench that stoic Santa's thirst, cause Baba Claus has to go without his port!

3

In Palestine you spread Christmas spirit by donning your Santa suit while charitably giving your Santa hat to your neighbour. It´s OK though because you can always wear your keffiyeh (Palestinian black and white checkered  signature head gear) to keep your head from getting frosty.

Image 3 of 10In Palestine you spread Christmas spirit by donning your Santa suit while charitably giving your Santa hat to your neighbour. It´s OK though because you can always wear your keffiyeh (Palestinian black and white checkered signature head gear) to keep your head from getting frosty.

4

Ho ho ho and lo! -- here´s another Santa on another camel. They may not be the fastest ride for delivering presents to all the world´s children in one night, but at least they go the distance! And they got the Arab part of the world covered, no sweat. Here, he is leaving base camp to embark on his night of good work.

Image 4 of 10Ho ho ho and lo! -- here´s another Santa on another camel. They may not be the fastest ride for delivering presents to all the world´s children in one night, but at least they go the distance! And they got the Arab part of the world covered, no sweat. Here, he is leaving base camp to embark on his night of good work.

5

When the camels and horses are´t available maybe an Arab Santa does go back to basics and finds himself the reindeer -- stuffed that is! At least the children get to ride with Santa in his sleigh, which can accommodate more people (and presents) than our Arabian counterpart beasts of burden could manage. It's all about that sleigh!

Image 5 of 10When the camels and horses are´t available maybe an Arab Santa does go back to basics and finds himself the reindeer -- stuffed that is! At least the children get to ride with Santa in his sleigh, which can accommodate more people (and presents) than our Arabian counterpart beasts of burden could manage. It's all about that sleigh!

6

Santa from the movies likes milk and cookies whenever he drops into each child´s house for Christmas. In the Middle East however, Santa prefers Arabic coffee and mansaf! Arabian hospitality ensures kids invite him for a full dinner, like a kabsa, with the family to give him enough sustenance to make it through his busiest night of the year.

Image 6 of 10Santa from the movies likes milk and cookies whenever he drops into each child´s house for Christmas. In the Middle East however, Santa prefers Arabic coffee and mansaf! Arabian hospitality ensures kids invite him for a full dinner, like a kabsa, with the family to give him enough sustenance to make it through his busiest night of the year.

7

In Palestine, it may be fun to sit down with Santa over some nice warm tea. In Arab societies this is the best way to get the goss! and find out who´s been good this year and who´s been 'mashkalji/ieh' (naughty). Not sure how much tea this frozen Santa will need to thaw out, or how responsive this stiff shop window model will be!

Image 7 of 10In Palestine, it may be fun to sit down with Santa over some nice warm tea. In Arab societies this is the best way to get the goss! and find out who´s been good this year and who´s been 'mashkalji/ieh' (naughty). Not sure how much tea this frozen Santa will need to thaw out, or how responsive this stiff shop window model will be!

8

When Father Christmas is just a stone throw away from you! Santa throwing a stone is not characteristic of the Papa Noel we all know and love. However, he may just be having a little down time, playing fetch with his reindeer - or horses, or camels! Or else he's a cynical Claus, girding his benevolent loins for the worst, David and Goliath-style.

Image 8 of 10When Father Christmas is just a stone throw away from you! Santa throwing a stone is not characteristic of the Papa Noel we all know and love. However, he may just be having a little down time, playing fetch with his reindeer - or horses, or camels! Or else he's a cynical Claus, girding his benevolent loins for the worst, David and Goliath-style.

9

Not a terrorist Baba Claus, surely? And yet, still another uncharacteristic Santa. Let´s hope it's a toy gun for some good little boys or girls. Don´t fret, the man is just pointing our rifle-toting Santa down the street to deliver presents to his little ones. A Father (Christmas) has the right to defend himself in these lands of good tidings.

Image 9 of 10Not a terrorist Baba Claus, surely? And yet, still another uncharacteristic Santa. Let´s hope it's a toy gun for some good little boys or girls. Don´t fret, the man is just pointing our rifle-toting Santa down the street to deliver presents to his little ones. A Father (Christmas) has the right to defend himself in these lands of good tidings.

10

Mrs. Claus still gets a look-in Levant side! Who says Santa is a man? In this day and age of equal opportunity, lady Santas can wear a beard and a hijab! It seems Santa crosses religions and gender in this Lebanese celebration to ring Christmas bells and laugh 'ho ho ho' down the street.

Image 10 of 10Mrs. Claus still gets a look-in Levant side! Who says Santa is a man? In this day and age of equal opportunity, lady Santas can wear a beard and a hijab! It seems Santa crosses religions and gender in this Lebanese celebration to ring Christmas bells and laugh "ho ho ho" down the street.

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And it's just as well we did, before our good Santas of the Holy Lands got stopped in their snowy tracks by some humbugs in Israeli uniforn.  We have it on good authority that some Father Christmas's out and about got gassed and put out of Christmas peace and goodwill action. No smoke without fire? -- Indeed these hardened Santas were caught up in the politicking, protest and heat of the 'Middle East' brand of Christmas in the modern day.

Reports in on Christmas Eve, 2015, tell of Israelis tear gassing some Palestinian Santa Clauses!! A foreigner out of the comfort zone of Lapland mistaking Palestine for the homeland, perhaps? Not so foreign, but bona fide Palestinians in festive Father Christmas hoods and costumes were out in protest under the banner  'We want Christmas without occupation' when they were met with Israeil forces attacking their peaceful Bethlehem demonstration with tear gas.

Of course we expect there to be no politics on our non-partisan Father Christmas, who usually stays on the fence. Yet since Tis the Season to be Jolly, the last thing we expected our halls to be decked out with were ... canisters of tear gas, nor these to be fueling our Santas' ho-ho-ho-ho. But stripped of the politics of a Middle Eastern Christmas, we slip back to the basics....And the order of play is tracking our good merry-maker Sheikh Claus around Arab town!

Happy holidays! Welcome to Christmas, Arabia-style!

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