Parents’ guide to Christmas in Doha

We spoke to a few Doha Mums to gather some helpful tips on how to make your Christmas perfect

Parents’ guide to Christmas in Doha
It’s true, the countdown to Christmas has begun! Each morning the children will be gleefully tearing open their advent calendars eagerly awaiting the big day. However, it can be a tricky time for mums and dads. It may be the first time the family will spend the festive season in new territory and it can be stressful thinking about gifts and food. Fear not!
Verity Watkins says:

That Christmassy feeling:
In the lead up to Christmas there are various festive things for families to do. In past years, we have done the Doha Mums Gingerbread house making at the Ritz, which was great fun. Especially watching the competitive dads! We have also bought the IKEA gingerbread house, if you want do a DIY version at home. We have also gone to the DESS Festive Fair which had a Santa’s grotto and lots of fun games, activities, plus a craft market.

On December 4, from 10am to 1pm, there is the West Bay Lagoon Festive Market. Here families can find all handmade stalls in the park between street 9 and 10.

Be prepared:
Decorations can be bought in Carrefour, Home Centre, Daiso and IKEA. They all vary in taste and quality! Lakeland have also got a great range of stocking filler games and toys, from Roald Dahl games, Superman mugs to bowls for dads. For the last two years we have used the IKEA Father Christmas advent calendar. This way we could put something in each box for each day - we put in a sweet, chocolate, jewels, hair clips, trash pack, Shopkin toys, bracelet and a bouncy ball.

The Tree:
IKEA have real and plastic trees, plus table decorations and lights. You can order a real Christmas tree in store. There is a huge variety of items all set out by the tills. I also bought a plain plastic wreath for the door and some decorations for my children to make it look festive. We have also got some great baubles and tree decorations from the Souk that have the desert and camels on them. We also got a Santa riding on a camel!

Cards and Wrapping:
This year, I have bought all my wrapping paper from IKEA. They have a great range with tags, ribbons and ropes.

I have bought a great set of lights for my side board in the shape of paper angels holding hands. Hallmark have got a display of festive items, a lot of them with Minnie Mouse and the “Peanuts - snoopy” crew on them!

The lunch:
In Lulu, I have found frozen Turkey breasts ready to oven bake in a bag! Great for a Boxing Day or New Year’s meal for us as we are heading to the Four Seasons Brunch this year on Christmas Day. Last year, they had great entertainment for the children. We have booked a table in the beach tent! The last two years we have spent at the Grand Hyatt hotel for Brunch, which have been great. Previous years we have ordered Turkey and trimmings from The Radisson Blu and The Ritz Carlton. The best value was the Radisson, the Ritz trimmings were pretty ordinary, so would just go for Turkey and make your own veg and roast potatoes. Marks and Spencer in Villagio Mall and Landmark Mall also do some good festive food - a favourite are the chocolate Brussel sprouts!


Angela Hickman says:

That Christmassy feeling:
I would recommend families to see the festive activities at the Four Seasons Hotel. They have great Christmas carols and a tree lighting. There is also carols at the Ritz and the Doha Players Carols will take place at the Singing Dunes.

Be prepared:
IKEA do a really great range of Christmas stuff! My favourite craft markets are; The Doha Mums one, the West Bay Lagoon market, the MIA Park and the Dess Winter Fair. The Mowbray (the showroom near IKEA or in Landmark near Benneton) do interesting gifts and items from around the region.

The Tree: 
The best places are IKEA, Home Centre and Carrefour. You will also find some fun Qatar-themed baubles at the Souq Wakif.

The lunch:
You can pre-order takeaway Christmas lunch from one of the big hotels. I love the Four Seasons. The lunch is great!


Nicola Alexander says:

That Christmassy feeling:
We really like going to the tree lighting at the Ritz. It’s lovely with all the carol singing and festive fun.

Be prepared:
IKEA is great for decorations, wrapping and also for kits to make your own gingerbread houses! (Check they are not broken when you buy them.) I’ll also be using Next online for Christmas jumpers! It’s quick and has free delivery. Another place I’ll be using this year is the US company Target for toys, as they now deliver to Qatar!

The lunch:
A nice lunch recommendation would be the takeaway turkey at the Radisson Blu. We have done this for the last two years and it’s delicious. We usually do our own starters and dessert, plus our own vegetables.


Anneliese Bennett says:

That Christmassy feeling:
I am lucky enough to be a member of the Doha Singers.  We are spreading a bit of Christmas cheer with The Doha Community Orchestra, Wind Symphony and Doha Youth Choir this month. Season of Joy 2015 will be performed on December 4 at 3pm and 7.30pm. Tickets are available at www.q-tickets.com. It will be a great concert and a fabulous way to get that ‘Christmassy feeling’.  Doha Singers is also presenting “Silver Bells” at the Grand Hyatt on December 11, for the hotels’ tree lighting at 5pm.

The Tree:
Carrefour have lots of Christmas decorations. They have a great selection of affordable Christmas tree, as well decorations. They also have lovely Santa plates - I left a few on the shelf for everyone else! As for gifts for loved ones, I have gradually been putting things away over the year, as we all know, if you see something, you buy it!  It won’t be there next time!

Cards and Wrapping:
IKEA are all stocked up with great wrapping paper and lovely festive bows! I always buy IKEA wrapping paper, as it’s strong and very good value for money.

The lunch:
Many hotels are serving Christmas Lunch, but make sure you book in advance as they sell out quickly.  If you prefer to celebrate at home with family and friends, and don’t feel like you need to cook the whole turkey, many hotels do Christmas Dinner take away options!  From experience, the turkey is amazing from the Radisson, however, we roasted extra vegetables.

Nicola Desylva says:

That Christmassy feeling:
Play Christmas music in the car on the school run. It gets everyone in the festive mood! •

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