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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ten Christmas Present Ideas for Qatar

Gifts on display at Souq Waqif
I've had to work hard to get this list down to ten - I originally came up with 21 and then decided that would be better for a website article than for a quick blog post!

1. Books:

Choose one of the Qatar books from our book section. Have a friend interested in nature/history? Buy a copy of discovering Qatar. If you live abroad you can buy it through us - helping us to improve the site and buy more articles! (Often by the writers and editors of the books we sell!) If you want a more global view of Qatar you could also buy the coffee table book Qatar, edited by David Chaddock.

2. Lamp

Personally I like the old heavy brass lamps avaible from the junk and antique shops - one sits pride of place on my mother's hearth back home. Traditional coffee sets also make a good present, as does Arabic coffee with its faint cinemon taste.

Wood art3. Jewellery.

Qatar's gold souq has a fantastic range of very pure gold jewellery. We especially like Cartouche - a gold oblong which has your name inscribed on it. In Qatar the gold shops will inscribe your name in Arabic on one side and in English on the other.

4. Traditional clothes.

Glide across the desert sand with a black veil mysteriously covering your face, or stand proud in a thobe of pure white - at Souq Waqif and elsewhere you can buy all the traditional Arabic clothing, making for great photo opportunities.

5. Wood art.

Qatar wood art is simply suberb. By combining wood shavings of different shades and textures, the artist manages to come up with a picture that is full of colour - but uses no ink. At around QAR10,000 in the Gharaffa shop, though, it doesn't come cheap.

Calligraphy6. Calligraphy.

You don't have to be a Muslim to appreciate the beauty of some of the best pieces of calligraphy. In fact, as you can see in the Islamic Museum, calligraphy was even used by some early Christian painters.

7. Dates.

Dates are a traditional Arab gift - and are also full of goodness (and sugar!) You don't have to stick with plain dates either, as there are all sorts of varieties and spin offs available - our favourite are dates with almond and chocolate. You can find whole shops dedicated to dates in Qatar, so you won't go short of choice.

8. Arabic Perfume

You'll also find no shortage of perfume here. The Arabic perfume, which can finding lining the walls top to bottom in souq shops, is rather stronger than Western perfume.

9. Traditional Cloth

Traditional bedouin weaving still takes place in Qatar today, and the weaving can both be seen or be bought in Souq Waqif.

Bedouin cloth on display

10. Water Pipe

Shisha smoking is popular in Qatar, and small or large sets of the pipes can be bought to take home. Just be aware of the health risks first!

Related posts:

Christmas in Qatar
Christmas Dinner
Presents from Japan

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