While Covid-19 restrictions have eased in some parts of the UAE, over the last few months there’s been a real sense of community, of banding together, with heightened feelings of togetherness as we all struggle through the lockdown. At Home Club ME, we’ve noticed a lovely silver lining of the lockdown — a new wave of thoughtfulness, caring and empathy that people have been expressing through the giving of gifts, from flowers to food hampers, craft kits to personalised tokens. Here, we explore this new Era of Giving, with this roundup of 10 of the best presents to give this summer.
Perfect Gifts For… Parents and Babies
The Gift Idea: With such a cute name, you know that products from Five Little Ducks are perfectly geared towards mums, dads and babies. The brand, which sells a range of items to aid sleeping, feeding, bath time plus school accessories, offers bespoke gift baskets that can be curated to celebrate any occasion, but make especially great gifts to celebrate the birth of a boy or girl. The gift hampers include teethers, soft toys, organic swaddles, muslin quilts, bath treats, story books and more, and can be bought in themes such as ‘Flamingo Fun’, ‘Surf Dude’ and ‘Organic Mama’, or come themed on topics such as gardening and sleeping. You can also personalise blankets, towels and the gift basket with the name of the baby, making the gift even more special.
The Company: Five Little Ducks was established in Dubai in 2018, with the help of Camilla Hassan, the managing director, and Evelina Sunstedt, the operations and creative manager.
Five Little Ducks came about to fill a need in the mummy market,” says Camilla. “We work towards giving the best to our customers by bringing in the top baby and kids products from around the world. Our strategy is always to be at the forefront of baby trends and innovations and to ensure that mums in the Middle East have the same choice and availability as the rest of the world. Our USP is creating bespoke personalised gifts for all occasions and budgets with an additional benefit of being able to personalise items such as blankets, towels, baskets, and many others. Our staff are well trained to offer you advice on products, curate baskets and assemble gears.
The Lockdown Effect: Five Little Ducks has seen an increased demand for gift baskets during the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to services such as readily available baskets, and also due to its bespoke services, where customers can put together a gift basket of their choice to suit their budget. Such gift baskets also benefit from quick delivery services to the recipient’s home or even to the hospital.
Perfect Gifts For… Crafty Kids
The Gift Idea: Keep children entertained at home with a creative craft box from Art Central, packed with arty materials for creative projects. The new ‘Stay at Home Craft Box’ for ages five and older has enough artistic materials for two to three siblings to share and enjoy, including acrylic paints, brushes, paper, canvas, construction papers, felt, pompoms, clays, and more.
The Company: Art Central was originally established by Talal Al Mukhalalati and his daughter Luma in July 2013 and they have two branches in Abu Dhabi. The store in Shams Boutik, Al Reem Island, is an art supplies store and gallery and also hosts art classes teaching painting, drawing, pottery, amongst other crafts. Creative director Luma says: “Since the early years of Art Central, we have always wanted to offer an art box for kids, and also for adults, so that they will get the chance to explore and practise their creativity at home. This project was put on hold for some time because Art Central has been engaged in a lot of activities month after month. Now, we feel that we can help to divert childrens’ attention away from screens and towards creating something artistic and beautiful while they are locked down in their homes during the pandemic.”
How to Buy: Buy the ‘Stay at Home Craft Box’ for AED280. Head to Shams Boutik, Al Reem Island or Art Studio in Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. Order the Stay at Home Craft Box online, phone or WhatsApp Art Central on +971 56 201 7970) between 10am to 9pm everyday, or order via email – [email protected].
The Lockdown Effect: Luma says:
“The lockdown had been a defining moment for me personally, to urgently pursue the Stay at Home Craft Box. As a mother of two young girls, age 5 and 8, I could see how children needed a big supply of craft material for all of their e-learning and art projects from school. It seemed difficult for a lot of mothers to source all of the items that were requested by schools, so we thought that our Craft Box could be very helpful, providing all the supplies needed.”
Perfect Gifts For… Homebodies
The Gift Idea: With everyone spending more time at home due to the pandemic, a stylish present that would look great in a living room, dining room or home office is a timely idea. Home accessories beautifully finished with calligraphy or a calligraphic design are fashionable and SG Letters has a range of beautiful products, such as stunning agate coasters, ornaments and place settings which can be personalised with gold calligraphy. Home Club ME loves SG Letters’ Skyline range of artwork in gold foiling, as it’s a stunning gift that should suit any home in the UAE. With a striking gold silhouette of iconic buildings from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and a personalised message underneath in lovely golden calligraphy, a gift of this kind is memorable and a true keepsake.
The Company: The ‘SG’ of the brand stands for the initials of the Malaysian expatriate founder, Stephenie Gregory. “I started off offering English calligraphy for things like wedding stationary, events and activations for brands,” comments Stephenie. “I soon realised that everyone loves a personalised product, so I decided to venture into that segment of the market. Many people associate gold with the luxurious lifestyle in Dubai, so we created the Dubai Skyline range in gold foiled prints with a touch of personalisation. Customers love the idea of gifting something memorable that speaks to the receiver through personalisation.”
The Lockdown Effect:
“Since we have not been able to gather to celebrate various occasions, many of us are looking for gifts to send over to friends and loved ones,” reflects Stephenie. “Also, unfortunately due to the pandemic, many expats are having to leave the country and the gold foiled Dubai Skylines artwork has become a popular farewell gift.”
Perfect Gifts For… Employees
The Gift Idea: Whether you want to thank your hard working employees who have helped you steer the ship while working from home, send a birthday gift box, or find a great present for a hard-to-buy-for husband or father, you’ll find a great selection of curated gift boxes from Thursday and Daughters. Beautifully presented in white boxes which are a keepsake themselves, you’ll find exquisite packages of organic bath bombs, artisanal coffee and scented candles for her, or unique grooming kits for him, beautifully wrapped gifts for cheese lovers, party goers and car enthusiasts, tailored boxes perfect for mindful mamas and bridal showers, plus many more thoughtful ideas.
The Company: Thursday and Daughters is an online retailer of curated gifts for general well-wishes, weddings and corporate events. Founded by Tala Anne Khamis in November 2019, Thursday and Daughters was launched with the aim to provide businesses with the opportunity to give thoughtful gifts of gratitude to clients and employees, and it has since expanded to provide tasteful gift ideas to customers for every kind of occasion. Tala says: “Men can find the gifting process to be quite a challenge and a habit they partake in last minute, so we assist in helping them to find the right gifts for women with quick delivery times, even offering same day or next day delivery. We also support women who are tired of the lack of interesting options that appeal to the male population.”
The Lockdown Effect: Tala says:
“We have seen an increase in orders during the Coronavirus pandemic as residents have rallied around the community to show their gratitude towards struggling friends and families, as well as an influx in birthday orders for people in quarantine. People have also taken a more active interest in self-care which has inspired us to launch our marketplace that will enable customers to purchase our products independently of our boxes.”
Perfect Gifts For… Flower Lovers
The Gift Idea: Flowers are no longer a cliché quick-fix present thanks to a unique and exclusive concept from Dubai-based floristry Flower Cocoon. Every Wednesday, founder Gintare Tamuleviciute reveals a curated new bouquet arrangement on her website and accepts orders for a limited time — until 11am the following day. The concept is called ‘Send Love Thursdays’, and the recipients will receive the beautiful bouquet between 12pm and 3pm that day. These bouquets are a great way to show you care every week, or make wonderful one-off gifts if you know someone who needs cheering up during quarantine, you want to thank someone for hard work during the week, or you simply want to send flowers to brighten someone’s weekend.
The Company: Flower Cocoon was launched in 2018 by Lithuanian expat Gintare Tamuleviciute, with a focus on flower displays for weddings and event décor. Gintare says: “I established Flower Cocoon because I was inspired by female entrepreneurs around the world who stepped out of their comfort zone to create something of their own — something they were really passionate about. For me, my passion is flowers!”
The Lockdown Effect:
“Facing the current situation of Covid-19, where weddings and events are being postponed until further notice, I decided that I wanted to launch an offer that would make many people happy right now, without even stepping outside of their house, so I launched ‘Send Love Thursdays’,”explains Gintare. “I am more than pleased with the new offer as I quickly noticed how much joy and good energy it brings to those who are receiving the Send Love arrangements, especially now that we are spending more time at home.”
Perfect Gifts For… A Personal Touch
The Gift Idea: Urban Quill offers customers a range of gift ideas that are a little more interesting than balloons and cakes, with quirky ideas that range from artisanal edibles, pretty pampering sets, cute baby fashions and much more. At Home Club ME, we love Urban Quill’s Build-a-Box option, where you can custom-curate a gift box with presents of your choice, choose the colour of the box and the greeting card, and add a personalised handwritten note, all beautifully wrapped and packaged. Ready-to-go gift sets are also available to celebrate graduations, show appreciate for teachers, to celebrate Father’s Day and other occasions.
The Company: Urban Quill was established by Indian national Dolly Shevakramani in 2018, with the concept of providing handwritten cards, which has since developed into offering a complete package of curated gifts and cards. “Urban Quill is inspired by my love for all things old-school,” says Dolly. “I love retro, there’s no beating that. I love giving and receiving ‘real’ tangible gifts rather than e-gifts, and real handwritten cards that become memories that you can look back on years later. The aim is to spread joy, happiness and rekindle or build new relationships through such gifts.”
How to Buy: Build-a-Box starts from AED60, comprising of the gift box and Urban Quill’s most popular present, Netflix socks. Expect standard boxes to cost between AED250-350. Order from the Urban Quill website, or Instagram and send your gift to a loved one in the UAE or abroad.
The Lockdown Effect:
“I think the current situation is unprecedented, and people are reaching out to connect with others more than ever through gifts, says Dolly.”
Perfect Gifts For… New Mums
The Gift Idea: During this time of lockdown and social and mobile restrictions, expectant mums and new mums need support more than ever before. For expectant mums you know, why not give the gift of an online prenatal support workshop, with advice for breastfeeding or newborn care from Babies and Beyond. For new mums, Babies and Beyond offer a number of home-based postnatal support options including sleep consultations via video call or through online consultations.
The Company: Lebanese national Rehana Abou El Hosn established Babies and Beyond in 2015 after struggling to find trustworthy postnatal support after having her own baby. “When I had my first baby, I struggled with everything including breastfeeding, sleepless nights and anxiety. I was so focused on the birth itself that I was never really prepared for what happened afterwards, and I felt completely lost. I saw that there was a gap in Dubai when it came to postnatal support that one could trust. It’s amazing how much stronger and more confident you feel as a mother when you have the right people there for you.”
How to Buy: Prenatal online workshops cost AED315; sleep consultations are AED315 for an one-hour video call, or AED630 for a two-hour online consultation. Contact Babies and Beyond’s booking team, led by its Chief Nursing Officer and Public Health Specialist Adeline Hardman via email [email protected], through the website or Instagram.
The Lockdown Effect:
“There has been a demand for extra community support especially for pregnant couples and new parents who are going through this experience for the first time,” says Rehana. “These are times of worldwide instability and uncertainty, and this is the last thing you need when pregnant with your first child.”
Perfect Gifts For… Special Occasions
The Gift Idea: We are a bit late to the table for this years fathers day, but bookmark this idea for July 21st 2021. Treat your dad or father of your child on Father’s Day, with a personalised gift such as chocolates with his name added with delicious piping, or a photo cake with the family smiling back. If he’s a tea or coffee lover, opt for a mug of his own with a picture of the family or a fun snap of him. Such personalised treats and presents, plus many more ideas, are available from GiftBag.ae, an online platform for gifts for all occasions, and can be delivered gift wrapped and with a special message.
The Company: Sandeep and Latika Chawla are the husband and wife team behind the online platform GiftBag.ae, which they launched in 2011 after noticing a gap in the market for a one-stop shop for celebrating life’s special occasions. “For us, nothing beats spreading smiles and happiness with the gifts we deliver, be it for birthdays, anniversaries, Eid, Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day,” say the duo. GiftBag.ae is particularly popular for its personalised gifts such as photo cakes, personalised balloons, personalised chocolates, as well as other items such as mugs, cushions and picture frames.
How to Buy: Personalised chocolates and cakes start from AED175. Order directly from GiftBag.ae. If you need help, take advantage of a gift consultation service on the website’s live chat feature or on Instagram or Facebook.
The Lockdown Effect: It’s not been doom and gloom for all of the UAE’s retailers, and GiftBag.ae has experienced an 150% increase in business since the Covid-19 pandemic started, with new customers keen to send gifts to loved ones and business associates.
“It’s clear that lockdown gave people plenty more time in front of their screens at home and perhaps the separation from others – whether family, friends or clients – created an urge to stay connected,” say Sandeep and Latika. “We have relished the challenge and are delighted to have played our part in bringing some happiness over a difficult time.”
Perfect Gifts For… Families
The Gift Idea: Create a thoughtful photo book of family memories to be treasured for years to come. Thanks to the technology behind Cherry Pix, you can create a photo book or have your favourite photo framed or printed onto canvas in minutes, direct from your smartphone or computer. Choose from a number of easy templates, and simply drag and drop your photos to make beautiful, stylish photo books, framed prints, canvases and other photo gifts online. Gifts such as these are truly thoughtful and heartfelt, and are a wonderful way to show how much you care and how much you treasure the special memories you and your family have created over the years.
The Company: Established in 2018 by Jolene Nash, a former photographer who feels passionately that families are missing out on key memories that should be part of their daily lives. CEO Jolene says: “Seeing my sons keep the photo books that I make for them under their pillow so they can sneak a peak every night really highlighted to me the true value of holding these memories in your hands, in print. Most of us have thousands of images stored on our phone or computer and I simply wanted to provide an easy to use, hassle-free way for parents to start a collection of real photo books and prints that they can cherish going forward, right here in the UAE. Our memories really do deserve a place in our lives, not just in our phones and on hard drives.”
How to Buy: Use the Cherry Pix website or download the app on Apple’s App Store or Google Play, then create your photo gift online and have it delivered to your door, anywhere in the UAE. Photo books start from AED85, framed prints from AED225, canvas photos from AED180, and photo prints from AED75.
The Lockdown Effect:
“I feel that we have all had more time to reflect on what is important in life and how we could value and express more gratitude for the things that really matter most,” says Jolene. “For me, there has also been the practical element of not having to go to a busy shopping centre and instead have the convenience of making one’s cherished photo books and gifts online, delivered to your door or straight to someone you care about.”
Perfect Gifts For… Healthy Eaters
The Gift Idea: For friends, family members, colleagues or employees who have a healthy mindset, raw honey is an ideal gift that is slightly different to the norm. Blossom Honey specialises in offering 100% raw Yemeni, Kyrgyzstani and UAE honey, available in a wide variety of gift sets and hampers to suit a range of budgets, all of which can be customised or personalised. You can create bespoke honeys and gift sets, which can also be creatively prepared into thoughtful wedding favours, birthday presents, corporate give-aways and gifts for notable dates like Father’s Day.
The Company: Owner and Managing Director Astrid Dando bought Blossom Honey from its original owner, who launched the company in Dubai in 2014. Astrid says: “My business partner and myself were customers of Blossom Honey and in 2018 when we heard that the previous owner was leaving the country and selling the company, we decided to buy it, with a view to taking advantage of the strong brand equity Blossom Honey had in the region. We saw a gap in the market to provide honey that is genuinely raw and to add value through our outstanding customer service and our exceptionally knowledgeable and proactive sales staff. Sadly, there are lots of inferior honey products around, which have been diluted with water or have sugar added, so we have to work hard to justify the Blossom Honey brand and values, and convince our customers of the authenticity of our honey.”
How to Buy: Preprepared gift packs and hampers range from AED55 up to AED1,694. Head to the Blossom Honey kiosk in Times Square Centre mall or Cityland Mall, both in Dubai; order online on the Blossom Honey website, on Instagram or Facebook, or via Whatsapp on +971 55 414 9814. You can also add Blossom Honey to your Kibsons order!
The Lockdown Effect:
“We have seen an increased demand for gifting during the pandemic”, says Astrid. “I think we are being kinder to ourselves and others during these challenging times. We have many customers who want to protect their health and wellbeing and boost their immunity, as well as that of their friends and family, by taking natural products”.
We hope you have been inspired to continue the Era of Giving that we’ve seen arise amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and buy one of these thoughtful gifts for a loved one. For more inspiration on how to cope at home under quarantine, check out our Covid-19 related features, with tips on journaling and how to feng shui your home.