Think outside the gift box: Christmas presents to surprise jaded loved ones

If you’ve been to a mall this week, you’ll have noticed the increased traffic with Christmas shoppers dashing around

Eve Dugdale
Published: Updated:
Enable Read mode
100% Font Size

If you’ve been to a mall this week, you’ll have noticed the increased traffic with Christmas shoppers dashing around trying to find something special.

It’s a familiar scene for many of us in the Middle East and if shopping was a sport, we’d be gold medal winners.


While it’s easy to spend money in the land of sprawling malls, all too often we fall into the trap of splashing tons on an all too generic gift.

So we’re here to provide you with a few alternatives you may not have heard of…

The gift of health

In the Middle East and North Africa there is a marked obesity problem. Indeed, only last year it was estimated that 37 million people in the region are living with diabetes. And while chocolates make easy gifts, do you really want to increase the chance of friends and relatives being diagnosed with diabetes?

Instead, give them the gift of fitness and good health!

Fitness First gyms in Saudi Arabia have an end of season sale running until the end of the year with $200 off membership. Expats in Riyadh could also treat their special friends to a course of cleansing juices from Juicy Motto.

And if you’re in the UAE, Detox Delight is offering a five for three offer on all their packages throughout January. Whether it’s healthy soups, juices or fresh fruit delivered to the door, how better to start your day than with a fresh delivery from a special friend? Visit to order and enter ONLYTHEBEST at checkout for the discount.


Take to the skies

If your husband has always dreamed of being a pilot but it’s unlikely he’ll ever ditch the day job and retrain, allow him to try his hand at navigating something a little safer.

The Parrot Bebop 2 is a compact, lightweight all-in-one drone. It embeds the latest generation of sensors and technologies, and offers up to 25 minutes of flying time. Perfect for the wannabe pilots, it comes with an FPV headplay so they can be fully immersed in the flight thanks to Bebop2 frontal camera.

Usually priced at $816, the drone and cockpit glasses are available for $615 until January 8 while the standalone drone is priced at $408 instead of $544.

They’re available at Dubai Duty Free, Virgin, Sharaf DG, iStyle and Plugins stores in the UAE.


Take the lead in the giving stakes

“A dog is for life not just for Christmas” is a phrase that’s been used for decades. Known across the world, sadly many Middle Eastern animal groups across the region still have an influx of abandoned pets just after Christmas.

That’s why UAE-based animal rescuer Kate Bell urges people not to give animals as presents. She says: “In the weeks after Christmas, on the Bin Kitty Collective Facebook group, we see many posts from people asking to re-home their puppies or kittens who were given as Christmas gifts but then people discover they have allergies or their children won’t look after the pet.”

While Kate advises those considering getting a pet to think hard about the decision and go to an animal rescue group rather than a pet shop if they decide they do want one, there are other ways you can make a friend smile rather than handing them a ball of fluff on Christmas Day.

From finding an animal group that accept donations in their name – many can’t accept cash but allow people to pay vets bills for abandoned animals - projects such as The Stray Dogs Center in Umm al Quwain take in donations of medicine and food for the pups in their care. If you’re hunting for a present for the man who has everything, surely giving a neglected animal a better chance in life can’t be beaten!


One for the cool dudes

Forget brand names, show pride with these funky caps from Solista that are available in Virgin Megastores across Saudi Arabia.

Classic trucker style, they’re excellent for covering post-festive celebratory bed hair as well and are priced at $53.


Cuddle up for winter

The colder weather is now upon us - we’ve even had snow in some parts of Saudi - so order a loved one something to help them stay cosy.

An alternative to the standard blanket or throw, these gorgeous mermaid blankets are included in this month’s Chic Living Kit.

Available for an amazing $33 (plus standard shipping fees to certain countries) the blankets come in a box with a skincare sample and some other surprise goodies!



Reach new heights in cleanliness

Scented bubble bath or fancy soaps are often the failsafe gift for female relatives but they get a bit boring after awhile.

So why don’t you treat that special someone to some soap with a towering difference?

Made with 100 per cent natural raw ingredients, the Burj Khalifa Shower Tower ‘soapenir’ will make an awesome addition to the bathroom of any relative, male or female.

Available in Al Jaber Gallery in Dubai Mall or Mall of Emirates, Dubai or online at







Top Content Trending