Best alternative gift ideas

Forget socks and soaps, here are some top Doha experiences to give this season Discuss this article

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It’s our favourite time of the year, mostly because we’re more prepared than ever to receive large and lovely bounties of goodies from our nearest and dearest – and maybe some office mates. Secret Santa is one way to make things fun, and here are some others – a bunch of cool, alternative gifts that your friends didn’t get to first. Call it our Christmas present to you...

Cookery classes

More than gifting your friend, you are gifting this to yourself. Imagine when they invite you over to thank you for the wonderful class, and cook up a delicious meal from the skills learned. However, it’s completely possible that things could take a turn for the worse here and you end up smiling and praising food that doesn’t get past your throat. At this point, it is important you remember the spirit of the festive season, and, more importantly, how happy your friend is with your gift.
The Culinary Academy (4484 8000), Nobu (4494 8600), The Torch Doha (4446 5600).

Bouncing

After a long wait, the opening of Bounce Qatar has not only given us the opportunity to, well, bounce, but to also finally set foot into Tawar Mall (yes, that place that looked ready but had just never opened for some reason). The bad news is there’s nothing else open in the mall besides Bounce, but the good news is that you’ll forget everything else as soon as you get in here because that’s how much fun it is. Just make sure you buy yourself a ticket to go with the one you’re bestowing upon a friend.
Bounce Qatar (4408 6500).

Unique fitness

Okay, besides the evil, sadistic pleasure you will get from watching your friends (or worse, family) fail miserably at their first attempted kangoo jumps, we can’t help but think of how much they will appreciate your sincere effort to do something different this year. Fitness is trending and what better way to jump on the bandwagon than by buying a fencing class for your buddy? If you want to add some humour, book them in for a Bollywood dance lesson.
Qatar Fencing Club (7751 3894).

Dune bashing
This one’s our favourite. The statistics of how many people have actually done the daring, desert, dune-bashing is shockingly low. So, there’s a good chance your chums haven’t either. Waste no more time and book them on a fun overnight safari at the Inland Sea. They might not fully appreciate the gift while making the tumultuous journey there, but once they settle into the soft sand and grab some tasty grills, they’ll love your gift almost as much as they do you.
Inbound Tours Qatar (7745 1196), 365 Adventures (7008 6008).

Diving lessons

It might be a bit too cold to get down into the deep blue, but who says a festive gift needs to be cashed in immediately? Come February, when your buddy is crowing about how lonely he feels on the 14th, let him use your precious diving lesson to bring in some anti-Valentine’s cheer. There are plenty more fish in the sea, after all. Boom, and indeed boom.
Poseidon Diving Centre (6608 4040), Q-Divers (5589 6675).

Diets to the door
Is your best friend eating out too much? Are they also unable to effectively metabolise all those excess calories? A membership to a diet programme that cooks and delivers your meals to your doorstep might be the best gift you can give them. A month’s freedom from cooking and washing and a lifetime of gratitude for your creativity and concern sounds like a very merry present to us.
Diet Delights (4016 3040), Amazon Diet Centre (4468 6289).

Super staycations
Our five-star friends have finally empathised with us and have made the crème de la crème of luxury accommodation more accessible to all, meaning your dream staycation is only a few hundred riyals away. But let’s not lose focus, this feature is about your buddy. The softest pillows and the cosiest comforters can cost as low as QR500 a night, for two people. Let your friend live in the lap of luxury this holiday season at any of these fancy locations. You never know, they might even invite you along for the ride.
Intercontinental Doha (4484 4444), The Ritz-Carlton, Doha (4484 8000), W Doha (4453 5000).

Great gadgets

Social media isn’t keeping us hooked to the internet anymore, it’s these websites that sell merchandise we absolutely don’t need, until we see it. Chikili.com is our answer to creative gifting this season. We mean, which friend won’t appreciate a levitating Bluetooth speaker, a Minions night lamp (with a money bank for all that loose change you find in your pockets after the Christmas party) or a sunglass wiper? You might also want to know they deliver locally, so just pick a gift, punch in your pal’s address and away you go...
www.chikili.com.

By Shereen D’Souza
Time Out Doha,

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