Christmas is just around the corner, and for some Canadians living in the Emirates, that means celebrating with fresh trees cut back home - in the Maritime province of Nova Scotia, to be exact.
But if some businesses and organisations in the small province have their way, other products such as blueberries, seafood, hay pellets and even items made from seaweed will be making their way to the UAE.
"I push everything Nova Scotia," says Greg Sheaves, the manager of Atlantica World Wide Logistics, a company based in the province.
Mr Sheaves consults with exporters and importers globally and handles the shipping and logistics side of trade transactions. He helped to find a container large enough to fit more than 400 balsam fir trees, wreaths, garlands and stands as well as the shipping line that took one month to transport the products to the Oleander Flower Shop in Abu Dhabi.
During the journey, the trees were kept hydrated in the shipping container by evaporation from four 20-litre buckets of water with holes in their lids.
This was the first market "test" to gauge interest in fresh Christmas trees from Nova Scotia, and most of the trees were purchased by individuals and organisations before they even reached the Emirates. Some trees were available at prices between Dh50 (US$13.61) and Dh470.
"This initiative from Nova Scotia is an excellent example of trade opportunities between Canada and the UAE," says Kenneth Lewis, Canada's ambassador to the Emirates. He recently picked up his tree in the capital.
"It's wonderful to be able to smell a little bit of Canada in our UAE homes this holiday season," Mr Lewis says.
The process of getting the trees to the UAE started about 18 months ago, when EduNova Gulf Commercial Investments, which is Nova Scotia's trade office in Abu Dhabi, started talking to the Lunenburg Balsam Fir Co-op to find new markets for Lunenburg's Christmas trees. With about 24,000 Canadian residents, the UAE proved to be a good target, says Murray Crouse, the president of the co-op.
"The UAE economy is strong and growing," he says. "The early response has been very positive, and we have already found ways of improving the shipping process and cutting down the shipping time for next year."
The hope is that three or four containers of trees will be shipped next winter, says Simone Jucker, the executive director of EduNova Gulf. She says she has a balsam fir in her Abu Dhabi home.
Mr Sheaves at Atlantica World Wide Logistics is working on getting "more stuff" - including hay and seaweed products to be used as animal feed - to the UAE.
"Trees was the first project," he says.
Mr Sheaves is looking into ways to shorten the shipping journey and to reduce costs by squeezing more product into each container.
The one aspect of the process that will not change next year is the source of the goods in each container.
"Everything in it is a 100 per cent Canadian product," says Mr Sheaves. "I'm very fussy."