Even in the far flung corners of the Middle East, with the temperature still nudging 33, there is no escaping the fact that Christmas is just around the corner. Of course, in Doha or Dubai you will not experience quite the same retail frenzy in November and December as you would in London or Manchester, but with e-commerce being a bigger part of the overall retail experience every year, it no longer makes much difference where on the planet you are located.
Like the high street, the online world has good, bad and indifferent retailers, so it always makes sense to go with a seller you know, or that comes recommended. Every online seller worth considering takes customer feedback seriously, and by checking out what other buyers have to say, you can get a good feel of where to shop. These Next reviews are a perfect example, and demonstrate how this well known high street store is developing an ever growing online presence. Not only that, but as the internet becomes the go-to for many shoppers, many retailers are also offering a variety of online voucher codes with money off deals. Bargain!
So much for where to buy – the next question is what? Every year, there are “must have” gifts that sell out before December and are forgotten in the back of a cupboard before January. But there are also some classics that always go down well, and will keep your little ones amused till Easter.
When it comes to the very little ones, follow the KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid! Toddlers don’t want something convoluted that takes hours to put together and understand. In fact, what they really love is to build things. And knock them down. And build them again. A set of building blocks will fire their imagination and keep them entertained for hours.
Every kid should have a bike – fact. You never forget your first set of wheels, even if it has stabilisers on it. Kids get a feeling of adventure and independence, while learning to ride is a rite of passage for both the children and the parents. Don’t forget to include the necessary safety gear, and most important of all, the biggest, loudest, bell you can find.
In the digital age, there are distractions from the internet, game consoles, TV on demand and all manner of other electronic wonders. But through it all, books are as popular as ever. Offerings from authors like Julia Donaldson have enough clever in-jokes to amuse parents as well as kids, but don’t be afraid to share the books you enjoyed when you were young, too.
Drawing and colouring materials
A huge pad and a selection of pens, pencils and paint is as simple as it comes, but is a gift that you can guarantee will be used till it is all gone. Those huge colouring books you will remember from your own childhood are still widely available and cost next to nothing, making them ideal stocking fillers.
Christmas is a time to do things together, and what better way than with a family board game. There are plenty of modern twists on old classics – for example, there is even a Dubai version of Monopoly that came out earlier this year! A lovely twist for the place where the baby was born, not that I’ll ever play monopoly with the husband ever again….