RIYADH — As the festive season of Christmas approaches, the expatriate communities across Saudi Arabia are embracing the joy and warmth of the holiday, creating pockets of vibrant celebrations.

In the coastal city of Jeddah, the Christmas spirit is more intimate but equally heartfelt. Gatherings and personal decorations mark the season.

Expats create a slice of the festive cheer within their homes, often with modestly sized Christmas trees, lights, and traditional decorations.

“Our small gatherings are full of warmth and joy. It's about bringing a piece of our traditions into our homes here in Jeddah,” explains Maria, an expat from the Philippines.

The capital, Riyadh, is witnessing an increasing number of community gatherings within expat compounds.

These gatherings are marked by potluck dinners, where a spread of international dishes showcases the culinary diversity of the expat community.

“Christmas here is a potpourri of cultures. It’s fascinating to see how each dish tells a story of different backgrounds coming together,” commented John, an American resident.

In Al Khobar, the cultural tapestry becomes even more colorful. Children of various nationalities participate in Christmas plays and sing-alongs, creating a delightful display of unity in diversity.

Sarah, a British mother, notes, “Watching our children, all from different parts of the world, perform together, reminds us of the real essence of Christmas — peace and togetherness.”

Dhahran, too, joins in the festive spirit, with homes adorned in Christmas lights, wreaths, and ornaments. These decorations are not just aesthetic but reflective of the myriad cultures that coexist in the Kingdom.

A walk through these neighborhoods during Christmas feels like strolling through a global winter wonderland.

The Eastern Province hosts vibrant markets, drawing crowds to stalls overflowing with seasonal goods.

Ahmed, a Saudi national who visited the market, expressed, “It’s heartwarming to see such celebrations. It shows how our country is embracing cultural diversity.”

These celebrations across Saudi Arabia are not just about marking a holiday; they represent a growing cultural openness within Saudi society.

They signify the adaptability of the expatriate communities, who have found a way to keep their traditions alive while respecting the customs of their host country.

As Christmas lights twinkle in these communities, they illuminate more than just the festive season.

They shine a light on the inclusive spirit and the shared joy found in the rich tapestry of cultures that Saudi Arabia is increasingly home to.

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