There’s lots to do this festive season around Qatar if you are sticking around for the holidays. Take a look at our picks for the most family-friendly Christmas and New Years activities around Doha.
Tree Lighting Ceremonies
InterContinental Doha-The City will host a festive tree lighting ceremony to welcome the festive season on 19 December (6–8pm). Eggnog and festive treats will be available as you listen to a choir sing traditional festive carols. Free and no bookings required. Call +974 4015-8888 for more information.
On 20 December (6–7:30pm) family and friends are invited to The St. Regis Doha to celebrate the beginning of the festive season with their Christmas tree lighting ceremony. A choir from a local school in Doha will sing traditional holiday songs in the hotel’s lobby. Entrance is free. Call +974 4446-0000 for more information.
Christians may wish to go to the tree lighting and church service at Doha’s Catholic church, Our Lady of the Rosary, Qatar on 15 December (4–5pm). The event includes carol singing and will be followed by a festive party where food will be available to purchase. This event is for Christians only and photography is not allowed. Please contact the parish office on +974 4416-5700 for further information including location details.
Where to meet Santa
At the top of most children’s wish lists (as well as plenty of gifts under the tree) will be a visit to meet Santa. The man in red has a busy festive season here in Doha, and there are several events where you can meet him.
For a festive adventure why not take a trip to the “Secret Santa Village in the Desert” on 22 December organised by 365adventures. Everyone is encouraged to bring a “Secret Santa” gift, and Santa will distribute the gifts at the camp at the Inland Sea. Gather with friends or family to sing carols around the Christmas tree before enjoying a BBQ dinner with Arabic meats and Mediterranean appetisers. Soft drinks, hot drinks, water and snacks are also included. Meet at Hardee’s on Old Airport Street to catch a ride out to the camp, or if your group includes six or more people, you can arrange to be picked up at home. The caravans depart at 2pm and return at 10pm. You can bring your car seats or hire them from the company (limited number available). First stop is Sealine Beach where camel rides are an optional extra (QR 20 per person) then on to the Inland Sea via the dunes. Bring sweaters and shawls to keep you warm as it can get chilly in the desert once the sun goes down. Adults and children 11 and above cost QR 275 per person (for online payments) and QR 285 per person (for cash payments); Children from 3–10 years old are QR 185 and children younger than three are QR 100. Contact Abdulrahman Sajid at 365adventures on +974 3132-1398 to discuss any dietary requirements or for further information (365adventures.me). To make cash payments, call +974 7008-6008 or +974 3339-3323, or order tickets online at anyatickets.com
If you want an event in Doha, there is a Gingerbread Fun Day at The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa on 9 December (2–5pm). Tickets are limited and can be purchased at qtickets.com. There are plenty of hands-on activities including games and live shows for the children.
Activities include gingerbread-man decorating, a photo booth, a balloon drop and a special guest from the north pole. Snacks and drinks buffet included in the ticket cost (QR 100 for adults and QR 125 for children). For more information call +974 4492-1555.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha will be hosting a Family Festive Party on 22 December (5–8pm) including special holiday music, a delicious buffet, cookie decorating and baking, and a visit from the man in red. Every child will receive a gift. Family tickets are QR 440 (two adults and two children below 12). Adults and children 12 and older are QR 150 each. Children ages 5–11 are QR 100 each. Children below five are QR 70 and babies under six months old get in for free. All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian ticket holder. Call +974 4428-1555 for more information. Tickets can be purchased online at qtickets.com.
Afternoon tea with Santa at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Doha is a special occasion. Children can have their picture taken with Santa and decorate gingerbread houses and cookies with the help of the resort’s bakers. Parents will enjoy the afternoon tea buffet with delicate finger sandwiches, gingerbread, bridge rolls, meringues, mince pies, gateaux and more. This event takes place on the Sawa Terrace daily from 19 to 24 December. There are two sittings from 1–3 pm and from 5–7pm. The cost is QR 195 per adult and QR 95 per child (6–12 years). Children under six are free. Please call +974 4035-5011 for more information and reservations.
Afternoon Tea with Santa also takes place on 23 December (12:30–3pm) at Kempinski Residences & Suites, Doha, with gingerbread and cookie decorating for children and an afternoon tea buffet for parents. The cost is QR 120 per adult and QR 60 per child (6–12 years). Children under 6 are free. Call +974 4405-3325/3226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and reservations.
Finally, on Christmas Day itself (25 December), Santa will make an appearance at many of the brunches in the city. See section Christmas and New Year’s brunches, lunches, dinners and takeaways below for further details.
Kids Christmas Activities
Gingerbread house making is a popular festive activity, and there are several locations in Doha hosting events.
From 9 to 16 December (4–6pm), Quick Bites, Marriott Marquis City Center Doha is hosting a cookie decorating and crafts workshop. Suitable for ages 5–10 years, the QR 95 cost is inclusive of snacks and refreshments for kids. Call 4419-6134 or email email@example.com to register.
The Ritz-Carlton, Doha is hosting a Gingerbread House and Candy Mocktail Workshop from 16 to 21 December (daily at 10am). The family can make “candy mocktails” as well as gingerbread houses together. Cost is QR 200 per family and includes light refreshments. Call +974 4484-8000 for further information and reservations.
Al Jalsa Lobby Lounge at Sharq Village and Spa is also offering a gingerbread house making class on 20–23 December from 10am to noon led by the hotel’s pastry chef. QR 180 per child includes everything needed to decorate the perfect house. You must book your seat in advance by calling +974 4425-6666 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 20 December (2-5pm), The Bridge, InterContinental Doha-The City is offering a Gingerbread House Decorating class. The family can make a gingerbread house together complete with icing and sweet treats. Cost is QR 125 per family, and you can have your photo taken by the giant gingerbread house in the hotel’s lobby from 19 December. Call +974 4015-8888 for further information and reservations.
The Gingerbread House Factory at Sheraton Grand Doha will be open from 22 to 23 December (3–5pm). Master bakers from the hotel will be on hand to assist children with their masterpieces. Advance payment of QR 150, which includes snacks and beverages, is required per child. If you’re visiting between 20 December and 8 January, visit the Gingerbread Village at the hotel entrance too. Call +974 4485-3401 for more information and to book.
The final Christmas fairs for the season will take place this weekend. Doha English Speaking School will hold its Winter Fair on Friday, 8 December (12–4pm). There will be lots of fun and activities for all the family including bouncy castles, face painting, games and prizes, arts and crafts, a vendor street market and various food stalls. For more information email email@example.com.
On 9 December, Doha Rugby Club holds its annual Christmas fair (9am–1pm). There will be market stalls selling Christmas items, jewellery, clothes and more. Tots Corner nursery will also be there providing a safe and fun place for the little ones to hang out, and there will be a bouncy castle and wave machine for older children. Get there early as there is also a mini-tournament for players ages 5–18 years old (club members only) so there will be plenty of rugby matches to cheer on. Entry is free through the white gates (no street name). Doha Rugby Club is next to Doha College just off Al Bustan Street.
The Doha Players are producing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Ultimate Panto at the Qatar National Convention Centre. At the time of writing, tickets were only available for the performance on Friday, 8 December at7pm. The other timings were already sold out. You can check availability and purchase tickets at qtickets.com for QR 100 per person. The Doha Players Facebook page may have further updated information.
The Doha Youth & Junior Choir and the Qatar Concert Choir will perform a Winter Nights Concert on 12 and 13 December at Millennium Hotel Doha. The concert will feature winter melodies and opera choruses from composers including Elgar, Mozart and Verdi. Tickets are available for QR 75 (includes a pre-concert snack). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to book as there will be no tickets for sale at the door.
InterContinental Doha The City is offering a Festive Afternoon Tea Buffet with savouries and sweets on 24 December (2:30–5:30pm) for QR 105 per person. Please call +974 4015-8888 or email email@example.com for reservations.
The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa will serve international treats including Italian panettone, British Christmas pudding and Austrian yule log in the Luxe Lounge (or to take away) on 24 December (7pm–11:30pm) for QR 140 per person. Please call +974 3359-8514 for bookings.
Children are sure to love the Teddy Bear Afternoon Tea from December 21 to 24 with traditional Christmas music at Sharq Village and Spa for QR 185 per adult, QR 90 per child aged 6–12 years including a sweet buffet and a warm cup of cocoa. For bookings and more information call +974 4425-6666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas Eve Dinner
The Square restaurant at InterContinental Doha-The City is organising a traditional Christmas Eve Dinner (6–11pm). There will be a lavish holiday buffet offering traditional favourites such as roast beef, turkey with all the trimmings, and more festive favourites from around the world. There are also special activities provided for children.
Per person packages start from QR 265 including soft beverages. Kids younger than six years dine for free, and there is 50% off for children aged 6–12 years. For more information or to make a booking, call +974 4015-8888 or email email@example.com.
Celebrate in style with Al Liwan Restaurant at Sharq Village and Spa from 6:30–11pm. This festive buffet will feature international specialities alongside seasonal favourites. QR 375 includes house beverages, QR 250 includes soft beverages. Children ages 6–12 receive a 50% discount and children five and younger dine free. Call +974 4425-6666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to book your reservation.
Christmas Day Brunches
Santa will pop into the Santa Monica Breakfast Club’s Brunch at Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas (12:30–3:30pm). A dedicated children’s area with face-painting and a children’s buffet will be set up. Festive music and party tunes will also be played by a DJ and house band. Packages are QR 299 with soft drinks or QR 499 with special beverages. For children aged 6–12 years the price is QR 149.50 and children younger than six dine for free. For more information or to book, call +974 4448-1195 or +974 3029-3748.
Santa will be greeting children arriving at Christmas Day brunch at Seasons Restaurant at Mövenpick Hotel Doha (noon–11pm). Little ones will also receive small gifts from under the Christmas tree and will enjoy the winter fairy tale theme. The kids’ kingdom play area will be decorated for the holiday season with exciting surprises for all to enjoy. The cost is QR 275 per person including delicious Glühwein and unlimited wine, soft drinks and water. Children up to six years old dine for free, while children from 7–12 years get a 50% discount. Call +974 4429-1111 or email email@example.com for more information and reservations.
Children going to the Christmas Day lunch at Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha should keep their eyes peeled for a visitor in red and white. Santa will make a special appearance at the Christmas feast in the Hyde Park restaurant between 12 and 3pm. The cost is QR 290 inclusive of beverages and QR 220 without. Children aged 6–12 years will receive a 60% discount and children under six dine for free. For more information and reservations, please call +974 4428-1555.
Christmas Brunch in Sawa, Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Doha, includes a traditional festive brunch buffet and special activities for children from 12:30–4pm. There will be a surprise visit from Santa as well as a bouncy castle, face painting and entertainment from a live band. Packages are QR 595 including special beverages, QR 495 including soft beverages, QR 150 for children six and older. Children younger than six are free. Please call +974 4035-5011 for more information and reservations.
InterContinental Doha Hotel & Residences will host a “Sparkly Christmas Brunch” at Coral from 12:30 to 4pm. This family-friendly restaurant will provide special gifts for the little ones and a festive performance by Dynamix and a Christmas choir. Packages are QR 420 per person including festive beverages or QR 295 per person including soft beverages. Children 6–12 years old are QR 135. Please call +974 4484-4919 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Meanwhile, InterContinental Doha-The City offers children’s activities to keep the little ones in the holiday spirit at their brunch in the Al Jawhara Ballroom from 12:30 to 3:30pm. Expect traditional favourites including turkey with all the trimmings, plus a few surprises. Packages start from QR 315 including soft beverages. Kids younger than six years dine for free, and there is 50% off for children aged 6–12 years. For more information or to make a booking, call 4015-8888 or email email@example.com.
At The St. Regis Doha the focus is on tradition, and the biggest brunch in Doha will be served at Vine and Opal By Gordon Ramsay restaurants at 12:30 to 4pm. In addition to the buffet, this family-friendly brunch includes a children’s corner and live entertainment by the hotel’s resident band. Packages are QR 555 per person inclusive of soft beverages, QR 655 per person inclusive of enhanced beverages, QR 277 for children three to 11 years old including soft beverages. Children up to three years old are free. For more details and reservations, please call +974 4446-0000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brunch at the Shangri La Hotel, Doha throughout December includes a Kids’ Gingerbread Masterclass (1–1:30pm). Hot chocolate with marshmallow snowmen is also available in the Lobby Lounge. This year’s Winter Festival at the Shangri-La includes a special ugly sweater promotion. Guests who wear the ugliest sweater to any of the Fuego, Santorini or Sridan restaurants, from 1–31 December, will get 50% discount on their (individual not entire table) bill. For more information or reservations email email@example.com or call +974 4429 5295. Don’t forget to wear that Christmas jumper!
The Ritz-Carlton, Doha will host a festive brunch at the Lagoon Restaurant (12:30–4pm). This traditional brunch will include sweet treats, decorations, children’s activities and live entertainment. Packages start from QR 329 per person, children 5–12 years old are QR 110 and children under five years dine for free. Please call +974 4484-8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and reservations.
Al Liwan Restaurant at Sharq Village and Spa will transform into a festive wonderland on Christmas Day and feature live entertainment. QR 425 includes house beverages, QR 325 includes soft beverages. Children ages 6–12 dine for QR 160 and children five and younger dine free. Call +974 4425-6666 or email email@example.com for more information and to book your reservation.
New Year’s Day Brunch
If you don’t have a babysitter for New Year’s Eve, why not go for brunch on 1 January to welcome in the new year with the family? The brunch at Sawa at Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Doha includes live entertainment and fun activities for the little ones (12:30–4pm). Packages are QR 450 per person including special beverages, QR 350 per person including soft beverages and QR 150 per child six years and above. Children under six are free. Please call +974 4035-5011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Takeaway turkeys and holiday meals
Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Doha offers traditional turkey in a box to take away. Cost is QR 785 for a 7–8kg turkey (serves five to six people) including all the trimmings. Please call +974 4035-5011 from 19 December to 7 January to order 48 hours in advance. Full pre-payment is required.
At Kempinski Residences & Suites, Doha turkey in a box (serves five to six people) is also available from 20 November to 8 January for QR 995. Call +974 4405-3325 for further information.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha is serving “Turkey to Go”. You can purchase a whole roasted turkey (serves seven to eight people) for QR 600 or QR 680 with all the trimmings. Preorders can be made by calling +974 4482-1652 or 4428-1555 from 9am to 8pm, seven days a week. Orders must be made 24 hours before collection. Available from 1-31 December.
Another takeaway turkey option is Sheraton Grand Doha. Roasted turkeys (serving six people) and all the trimmings are available for QR 600. Call +974 4485-0000 or email F&Breservations.email@example.com to order 72 hours in advance. Payment must be made at least 24 hours before pick-up. Available from 15 December to 7 January (8am–midnight).
The St. Regis Doha is also offering festive turkey to go from 10 November to 7 January. Traditional roast turkey (serving 8-10) and all the trimmings costs QR 990 and are available to collect 24 hours a day. For more details and bookings, please call +974 4446-0000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Large families may wish to order their turkey (with all the trimmings included) from InterContinental Doha. You can order a huge 8–10kg turkey that serves up to 15 people for QR 850 or a smaller 5-6kg bird that serves up to nine people for QR 550. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance by calling +974 4484-4919 or by emailing email@example.com .
If you want an alternative to turkey, call The Ritz-Carlton, Doha on +974 4484-8000 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are offering prime rib to go for QR 980, or you can opt for the traditional turkey for QR 840 from 22 to 25 December. Appetisers, soup and all the trimmings are included. Christmas yule log and pumpkin pie are also available for an extra cost.
The Sky Lounge at the Oryx Rotana Doha is offering roasted turkey with all the trimmings for QR 690 (serves seven people); roast beef for QR 400 (serves up to seven people) and chocolate or vanilla Christmas yule logs for QR 170 per kg (six servings per kilo). Please call +974 4402-3333 for further information or to order (48 hours in advance). A 20% deposit is required on order. Available from 15 November to 31 December.
Pick an Arabic or Western spiced Turkey-To-Go with all the trimmings and sides from Al Jalsa Lobby Lounge at Sharq Village and Spa. This festive takeaway offer is available for QR 750 per turkey (serves up to eight) until 10 January. Place your order 24 hours in advance by calling +974 4425-6666 or emailing email@example.com.
Finally, if you’re looking for American home cooking go to Ric’s Kountry Kitchen. Their catering menu includes roast rib-eye for QR 269/kg and deep-fried chicken for QR 65, as well as deep-fried turkey (6kg) for QR 450. Side dishes include American favourites such as corn bread stuffing, spicy corn and green bean casserole as well as the traditional trimmings. To place an order, call +974 4443-7846 before 18 December. A special festive set menu is also available at the restaurant for dine-in customers for QR 110 (three courses and soft drinks included) although there are no specific dishes for children.
Festive Sweet Treats
For those with a sweet tooth, there are several hotels selling festive cakes, sweets and puddings.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha is offering cookies, traditional European cakes, stollen breads, mince pies and chocolate Santas from the Palm Garden Festive Wonderland Counter from 6 December (9am-10pm). Call +974 4428-1555 for more information.
Gingerbread and Christmas cookies are available for dine in or take away at the Sky Lounge at Oryx Rotana Doha. Please call +974 4401-3333 for more information or reservations.
Sheraton Grand Doha has Christmas cakes, cupcakes, gingerbread houses and yule log and homemade stollen cakes available for purchase from 22 December to 7 January from the Pastry Shop (10am–10pm). For more information, please call +974 4485-3401.
Panettone from Italy, festive puddings from Britain and yule log from Austria are available to pick up from the Luxe Lounge at The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa throughout December. For inquiries, please call +974 3359-8514.
At InterContinental Doha you can pick up a festive hamper with truffles, panettone, pandoro and ginger cookies from the Tea Lounge for QR 800. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance by calling +974 4484-4919 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are hosting a big family celebration at home and want an alternative to traditional turkey why not call Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha (+974 4428-1636). Their renowned catering service can provide menus tailored to your specifications, served by experienced waiters.
Alternatively Garveys European Club, just off Salwa Road, also have a dedicated catering service with an extensive menu and will even deliver roast turkey dinners with all the trimmings for QR 55 per serving. Call +974 5568-2779 to order (minimum four servings for home delivery including complimentary mince pies).
Christian churches in Doha will be holding numerous services over the Christmas period including on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Most churches are located in Doha’s religious complex, on the outskirts of the city near the Industrial Area. Please leave plenty of time for parking when attending services, which can be busy.
The Anglican Center is home to many different Christian denominations, including the Anglican Church of the Epiphany. Please visit the Church website epiphany-qatar.org for more details and location information, or call the Secretary or Father Paul Davies, the Senior Priest, at the Church office on +974 4416-5728.
Details of exact timings of services are not yet available for the Catholic Church, Our Lady of the Rosary, Qatar so please contact the parish office on +974 4416-5700 for further information.