Celebrating Christmas in Scotland

We love Christmas here in Scotland just as much as the next person, but we celebrate it like nowhere else! December is officially here and we’re really starting to get into the Christmas spirit now! Find out how we celebrate Christmas in Scotland below.

Christmas Markets

Just like most countries nowadays, Christmas markets have become a fundamental part of the festive season in Scotland. But of course, each country always their own unique take on them. While there are many Christmas markets open all over Scotland throughout the festive season, Edinburgh’s markets really trumps them all. The Christmas markets are nestled in the very heart of the capital, at Princes Street Gardens. You’ll find stalls selling everything from local produces to unique personalised gifts, and rides that are 60 metres high – the Star Flyer is definitely not one of the faint hearted. However, it’s the Johnny Walker Bothy Bar that adds that Scottish kick. Visiting Christmas markets is usually on everyone’s December agenda, whether it’s in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or small local towns.


Whisky – Scotland’s pride and joy that is enjoyed all year round, but even more so during the festivities. A dram or two is the perfect way to embrace the cold dark winter nights that are spent sat around the fire with loved ones, because whisky is of course for sharing! We don’t just drink it, we’ll put it in our food too, replacing brandy sauce for the Christmas pudding with whisky sauce.

Pubs on Christmas Eve

We couldn’t forget about a visit to the local on Christmas Eve to enjoy a mulled wine or a traditional meal in our Christmas jumpers. No matter where you are in Scotland, a cosy unspoilt Scottish local is never too far away.

Drive in Movie Theatres

If Christmas movies don’t get you into the Christmas spirt, what does? Over the past few years, drive-in movies theatres have become increasingly popular in Scotland, especially during the festive season. Loch Lomond Shores’ drive in movie theatre is particularly popular. Last year, it welcomed in a whopping 20,000 visitors! Cars park-up under the stars, against the backdrop of Ben Lomond to watch Christmas movie favourites like Elf, Home Alone and It’s a Wonderful Life, to name a few. But it wouldn’t be complete without the hot chocolates, marshmallows to toast and many more sweets treats that are available to indulge in whilst cosied up in the car. Some drive-in movies theatres are open right up until Christmas Eve – what a way to really get into the Christmas spirit.


What is Christmas in Scotland without the gift of shortbread? Shortbread has long been associated with Christmas, and we’re proud that it’s well known Scottish produce! The delicious buttery biscuit is a common Christmas gift that can be enjoyed with a whisky by the fire or left out for Santa on Christmas Eve. There are many well-know shortbread brands in Scotland, like Deans Shortbread, however we also enjoy baking our own treats, because it’s inexpensive and easy to do so. Shortbread truly is the taste of Christmas!

Boxing Day sales

Believe it or not, but there are some people in Scotland who do take it easy on Christmas Day to ensure they are up bright and early for the Boxing Day sales. Boxing Day Sales are always highly anticipated by Scottish shoppers who are usually stocking up for next year’s Christmas or simply treating themselves with gift vouchers. One year, more than 500 shoppers queued from 04:00 awaiting the opening of stores in Edinburgh!


When we say ‘carnivals’, we’re really only referring to one in particular – the Irn Bru Carnival, Scotland’s most loved carnival. It’s associated with the festive season because it always opens just a few days before Christmas and remains open until after the new year. It’s practically a Christmas tradition. The carnival is so popular, that this year marks its 100th anniversary! With over 65 fun attractions, including thrill rides, family rides, kids’ rides and games stalls, the Irn Bru Carnival is also Europe’s largest indoor carnival.

Would you like to experience Scotland at Christmas time? Get in touch with Best of Scotland Holidays to see what we could do for you! You can explore our destinations here, or if you’d like some inspiration, take a look at our experiences here. 

Related Blogs