Sip Sahlab, Dance Dabke: Elevate Your Christmas Celebration With An Arab Twist

Did you know that in some countries, the beloved Christmas holiday is celebrated in the most unexpected ways? In Japan, there is a tradition where families eat Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas day while in the city of San Fernando in the Philippines, 11 villages compete in a giant lantern festival. For a fun twist, we thought of hopping on that unconventional bandwagon by celebrating Christmas Arab style. We found ways of getting to celebrate the Western holiday in a way that is truly Arab, check out what we came up with.

Warm Up With A Festive Arab Drink

With Christmas always coinciding with the chilly winter months, hot festive drinks have become a staple of the holiday. Eggnog and the warm holiday punch known as Wassail (mulled ale) are two popular crowd favorites but knowing how we are doing things with a twist, we are instead going to recommend a unique hot Arab drink that could also be perfect for the festive season. For the ultimate cozy weather experience, the silky smooth creamy pudding-like drink known as sahlab is a go-to.


The special drink is made from a packaged powder called sahleb and is usually eaten with a topping of mixed nuts and cinnamon. It is a really fun drink as because of its smooth pudding-like texture you don’t just get to drink it, you also have the option to eat it with a spoon.

Celebrate With An Arab Dance Party

We Arabs love a big family gathering with all the aunties, uncles, first cousins, second cousins and the list goes on. That is why Christmas can be the perfect opportunity to bring everyone together to celebrate. Now with it being an Arabized Christmas party, we’ve created a playlist perfect for the occasion. First things first, you cannot have an Arab Christmas dance party without the classic beloved “Laylet Eid” (Christmas) sang by the one and only Fayrouz. Once you play it, you will find the whole family singing and dancing along to it.

To truly change things up this Christmas, you can also go full Arab and shake those hips with some unconventional songs that bring a hilarious twist to Christmas classics including the addictive Arab version of “Last Christmas.”

Start An Arab Christmas Movie Marathon

For many people, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without tuning into beloved and timeless films connected to the holiday. We are talking about everything from “Home Alone” to “It’s A Wonderful Life” known as the kind of Christmas films that just hit differently. Changing things up this year, you can also tune into some vintage Egyptian films that exude that very same warm and cozy vibe. Our first pick has to be the 1975 classic “Al Hafeed” (Grandson). Starring the legendary Abdel Moneim Madbouly as the father of seven kids, this film is perfect for Christmas because it is all about the highs and lows of juggling a big family and the beautiful moments of love and support that can be experienced.

In the same vein, you can also watch “Hob Ahla Min Hob” (Most Appreciated Love) starring Mahmoud Yassin and Naglaa Fathi. If you are a fan of “The Sound Of Music”, this is the perfect film for you as it is the only Arabic adaptation of the Julie Andrew classic, filled with the very same harmonic, merry and musical mood of the original film.

Challenge Your Family To Arab Board Games

Knowing that Christmas is all about spending quality time with the family, a great go-to activity that can be perfect during the holidays at home is a special round of board games. Instead of classics like Monopoly, get ready for something different with a special roster of Arab card games. To spice things up with your family why not test them and see if they truly know you with 2oolameme’s very own “Te3rafni wala?” (Do you know me or?). The game is all about picking one person in the family and guessing what they’ll do in light-hearted and tricky life situations.

You can also go for a fun Egyptian twist on a classic Pictionary and the Telephone Game through “Fan Gogh.” The game starts with a secret word then each player takes a turn to draw and then guess, and the final output ends up completely hilarious and far off from the original secret word.

Feast With An Arab-Fueled Dish Party

Nothing screams Christmas more than a full-fledged feast with a massive Turkey taking center stage. This year, we want do things differently and get a little unconventional so instead of a classic Christmas Eve dinner, it’s time to call in all your aunties and besties for a delicious Arab-fueled dish party. We are thinking to go all out by bringing a special dish representing each Arab country from across the region. From Egypt, you’ll want the Christmas holiday favorite of fattah made of that perfect combo of rice, bread, boiled lamb or beef meat, and topped off with a garlic and vinegar dressing. 

To represent Lebanon, go for a classic kibbeh bil sayniyyeh (meat and bulger pie) that is a crowd favorite and almost always makes it on the Christmas table in Lebanon. For a taste of Jordan, you need to have mansaf, a dish of rice, lamb, and a dry yogurt made into a sauce called jameed. It is not only one of the most beloved dishes in Jordan, but it is also considered the national dish of the country. It’s a really fun and playful concept as each guest can a get dish from each country and get a taste of the Arab world on the special occasion.

Decorate Your Home With An Arab Touch

Twinkling lights, sparkling ornaments and garlands all scream Christmas as the festive holiday is about going all out on decorations. Bringing the same Christmas spirit to your own home but with a very unique and Arab touch, there are some out-of-the-box ways to decorate your living space that exude the lively and colorful qualities of Arab culture. To glow up your home with bright colors, you can go for Moroccan style glass small star lanterns that you can hang anywhere in your house. In Morocco, lamps are intrinsic in Maghreb culture as all the way in the past, Berber tribes were known to be skilled in metalwork and handcraft intricate lamps with unique designs.

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Knowing that the Christmas celebration will probably involve the dinner table, a great option to spruce up your dining area is an Arab-inspired table runner. Try to go for luxurious fabrics like silk or velvet embroidered in gold or silver. Decorating your home with that Arab touch will definitely make you stand out this Christmas.

With all these unique ideas, lovers of Christmas will get to experience the festive occasion in a new way and memorable way that will bring a new taste to the beloved occasion.

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