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What women really want for Christmas

Words by Kelly Crane

What women want

Believe me when I say nobody truly knows what women want. I mean, some days my own breakfast demands change in the full two minutes it takes me to brush my teeth. And frankly, shouldn’t that be the case anyway? Not like we’re all popped from the same mold or share identical opinions on what’s worth what – whether time, effort or money.

It's for this reason a “what women really want for Christmas” gift guide just a felt a little, well, outdated. Ok condescending, if you want my unedited truth. So instead, here’s a guide offering a few ideas — some perhaps a little “out there” — but a guide nonetheless, to anyone who might need a touch of inspiration, or those looking for a link to click, enter credit card details, tick off list. No judgement here. Feel free to agree, disagree, purchase or put in the bin. If we’re going to continue with the male/female stereotypes, which FYI I’m not condoning but appears prevalent in the global media machine today, some of your boyfriends/partners/husbands/sons/brothers will be shopping last minute.com and might need a leg up. Girls, we've got to adore how we get away with being 100 per cent all over it this season.

Full disclosure: Haven’t started shopping yet. Mum, you’ll be getting something from this list.

A show


Who doesn’t love a trip to the theatre? And who doesn’t love a gift that can’t be tracked to certain date of purchase? Tosca By The Russian State Opera is showing at Dubai Opera from December 27-29 and what a fabulous, here’s your well-planned gift, handover that could be. Honestly, best bit about theatre tickets? Nobody has any idea whether you snapped them up in the rush of release day or clicked “purchase” at midnight on December 24. Bonus.

Tosca is a beautiful production of Puccini’s greatest opera classic, featuring an impressive cast and accompanied by a delightful live Orchestra.

In short (and if the recipient of your gift asks), it’s a melodrama where love and politics collide, and murder takes place at the highest level. This haunting tragedy with its breath-taking arias will transport you to a romantic Rome full of drama, passion, love, and betrayal. A timeless Puccini masterpiece, Tosca is one of the most emotionally engaging and popular operas of all time, making it accessible to a much wider audience. If you’ve never been to the opera before, make Tosca your first.

If opera feels a little heavy and you’d rather keep things a tad racy, Chicago The Muscial is showing early next year (2022) and would also make a great gift. The longest-running American musical in Broadway history, Chicago is still the one musical with everything that makes Broadway shimmy-shake: a universal tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz, with one showstopping song after another and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. It opens at Dubai Opera from January 5-15 and tickets are still available. Chicago the musical is a story of murder, greed, corruption, exploitation and treachery. The international tour started a few weeks ago with Dubai securing the only dates outside of the UK. Based on real-life events of the roaring 1920s, jazz slayer Roxie Hart shoots her lover, and along with cell block rival, double-murderess Velma Kelly, they fight to keep from death row with the help of smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn.

Created by the musical theatre talents of John Kander, Fred Ebb and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse, Chicago’s sassy score includes the musical favourites “All That Jazz” and “Razzle Dazzle”. Proof of vaccination is not required for this performance.

Dubai Opera website

A getaway

The Nautilus.jpeg

Yes OK, so it comes with hefty price tag, but let’s be honest, not much will go down better than a little trip to a tropical paradise, no matter what the gender.

If you’re feeling the urge to splash out, or getaway — because let’s face it, best bit about this gift is you get to go too — The Nautilus Maldives is the epitome in luxurious bohemian style. The private island with just 26 villas is truly one of the most bespoke experiences one can have. Whether unabridged seclusion, adrenaline-fueled adventures or coastal dining to delight the taste buds of even the most demanding connoisseurs, The Nautilus provides the ultimate setting for an unscripted mini break.

You can eat when you’re hungry, have breakfast for dinner, quaff bubbles in bed. Time stops. There are no clocks, no fixed opening hours, and a dedicated and meticulously trained professional private butler is on hand to make it all happen.

Fancy breakfast in your private temperature-controlled freshwater infinity pool, a tête-à-tête dinner on a secluded sandbank, dazzling blue-white landscapes, culinary masterclasses and personalised couples’ spa treatments — it’s all possible at The Nautilus Maldives.

The Nautilus Maldives

A beauty set


When you've got your mum (stepmum), your sister (sister-in-law), aunty, best friend or work wife to buy for, it can feel somewhat overwhelming ahead of the festive season. That’s a lot of checklist ticking right there. Buying beauty products has come a long way since snapping up a garishly-coloured gift set, with equally-as-tacky bow on top. I’d put cash on the body lotion and shower gel sitting in a guest bathroom, only ever enjoying its day, when you’ve overlooked stocking up on your regular stuff. My advice, get yourself over to Project bYouty and have a gander. Granted, many things feel easier than deciding which hyaluronic acid to pick up, but sometimes a leap into the unknown is exactly what’s needed, even for us chicks.

Founder Amy Wilkinson-Lough has spent many months talking to founders and formulators from exceptional companies around the world in a bid to curate a unique collection of planet-conscious products, which are all available at the click of a button. Project bYouty not only grants local access to some of the best beauty and wellbeing products, but also intrigues, informs and inspires you to make conscious decisions - no matter how big or small. My advice? Head to the Gift Guide for Her section and pick pretty much anything. She’ll be stoked.

A zipline


Shopping for the adrenaline junkie? What better gift than a teeny piece of paper that’s actually a free-pass to throw yourself from the top of a mountain in the stunning peaks of Ras Al Khaimah? Yep, I’m with you. Jebel Jais – the highest mountain in the UAE— is home to the world’s longest zipline. Not sure I need to go on. It’s a bucket list item for many in the UAE and around the world, and would certainly be one you’d remember. Pair it with a night in one of RAK’s fabulous hotels — have to love The Waldorf Astoria RAK or Six Senses Zighy Bay if you really want to push out the proverbial boat.

The zipline will propel your gift recipient to speeds of up to 150 kph at a height of 1,680 metres above sea level, to a suspended landing platform in mid air, before heading on a second run to reach solid ground. What better way to remember Christmas 2021?

RAK zipline

An Amazon Alexa


I’ll be the first to admit that I dismissed the Amazon Alexa offhand. I thought the voice recognition wouldn’t be sophisticated enough to be useful, and when am I ever going to set up my ‘smart home’. Did I really need another excuse not to leave my couch and not turn off my own lights, switches or air conditioning? Not really. However all this changed after I realised you can check facts — useful during an argument over the maximum stadium capacity at Old Trafford. Who doesn’t want to be able to bring in a third party when you’re just about to storm out in utter frustration. Jokes aside Alexa is actually pretty handy but she’s probably not something I’d buy myself, but wouldn’t mind one. You can set (and snooze) an alarm by barely moving a muscle, play podcasts through Tune In, AnyPod or Spotify, including all of your painstakingly crafted playlists, get a daily news briefing, ask for local cinema listings and request a joke or puzzle when you need a quick pick-me-up. Plus, not being sexist, anyone can benefit from this, you can convert measurements from befuddling imperial into logical metric for recipes. Total win for me.

Alexa Echo at Sharaf DG

Olaplex Healthy Hair Essentials


Insanely popular hair heroes but few really know what they do or how they do it? Bit like real superheroes if you think about it. But there is a reason Olaplex is all over the place, and that reason is really good coloured hair. A set will help restore and strengthen damaged strands back to healthy ones and women LOVE the stuff, but not the price. If you've ever coloured your hair, you might be familiar with Olaplex (and if not, you should get acquainted). The breakthrough seven-step technology has quickly become the hair treatment that top salons and beauty insiders can't live without. Boys, it’s for slathering all over chemically-treated (coloured) hair. Don’t buy it if she has 100 per cent natural locks, she might look at you funny. It’s easy to pick up online but if you’d prefer to chat to someone in the know before buying, head to Pastels Salon.

An Instax Mini Instant Camera


Shake up her next girlie get together with this fun, fresh take on a beloved instant film camera. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is a sleek, fun, and stylish camera capable of producing instant credit card-sized prints. This model has been updated with an automatic exposure function that no longer requires manual adjustment for different lighting conditions, and the built-in flash benefits working in low-light conditions. Whether baby shower, birthday, wedding, hen do, brunch or festive party, she’ll be the hit of the holidays with this little baby. And what fun to not document everything to the world on Instagram, and keep things intimate instead. Just imagine?

Instax camera at Noon.com

An OTT experience


What would the festive season be without opulence, extravagance, and indulgence? This is Dubai after all. If you’ve got a spare AED 10m to spend on the one you love, this could really bag you a few brownie points if nestled in a stocking on December 25. Looking for the crème de la crème of experiences and sought-after luxury brand collaborations, this New Year’s Eve, the ME hotel is offering a jaw-dropping 10 million big ones NYE package. Yep, you read that right. Hand over the cheque and wait for an array of luxury sports cars, jewellery and watches to fall at your feet. I want to say “you couldn’t write it”, but I just did.

Considered one of the most expensive hotel packages in the world, this celebration is described by the hotel (because I couldn’t bring myself to pass the words off as my own) as “a new horizon for ultra-luxury”. There’s a Lamborghini for him and her, provided by the hotels official NYE sponsor, Alain Class Motors, an exceptional luxury yacht experience on New Year’s Day, an “exquisite” watch for him — don’t think Swatch — and a spectacular diamond necklace for her, from the Eden collection, by Italian luxury house Damiani. The extravagance continues with a three-night stay in Suite ME and a VIP NYE celebration for up to eight guests, with circus performances and the obligatory fireworks, obviously. As ever, #onlyindubai

Melia website

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