Heritage and Culture

When Scotland Welcomes Christmas

By Sophie

We've had Halloween and Bonfire Night, but now it's time to dust off the stockings, choose that tree and get ourselves prepared for the largest celebration of the year

As a nation, Scotland loves nothing more than a good knees-up. What better excuse for a month (or two) long knees-up than for Christmas? In Scotland we definitely like to begin the celebrations early and this year it's no different. Come mid-October, every town and city's Christmas lights are unpacked from hibernation and strung up throughout Scotland. As a local to Edinburgh, and knowing this happens every year, it's a wonder that you still don't notice the annual decoration. As if by magic, you go to sleep one night and in the morning, they appear. Lying dormant for around a month, locals go about their daily business, forgetting they are there, until one day they are switched on in a flurry of dazzling sparkles.

This year, Perth is the first lucky location to see their lights turned on, followed by Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. On the 20th November, crowds will gather in the cold, dark streets, with anticipation on their faces and a hot chocolate in their hands. Excited cheers will erupt as the display of lights mark the beginning of the Christmas celebrations. Edinburgh and Dundee are soon to follow four days later, with shows and appearances from Santa and theater stars adding to the celebrations.

The switching on of the Christmas lights is not something to be missed in Scotland. We take our celebrating seriously and enjoy the sense of community and shared joy this famous event brings. From Christmas lights to ice-rinks and food stalls, the towns and cities of Scotland turn themselves into unique Winter Wonderlands, and there truly is no better place to be to kick off the celebrations.

If you want to know the exact dates and times of when the Christmas lights are being switched on, read on.

Perth - 20 November
Perth will be the first location in Scotland to turn its Christmas lights on at 2pm.
Glasgow - 20 November
Glasgow city will be close to follow Perth and will be switching their lights on at 4.30pm.
Aberdeen and Inverness - 20 November
Close to follow are Aberdeen and Inverness who's lights will be switched on at 5.30pm.
Edinburgh - 24 November
A little later to the party, Edinburgh will turn it's lights on at 5.30pm. The celebrations don't start there though, with the opening of the German Market, the giant wheel and ice-rink starting from 10am.
Dundee - 25 November
Lastly, but by no means least, Dundee will turn it's lights on at 6pm.

If you are planning on being in Scotland for the Christmas light turn on then we hope you have a wonderful time! What better way to see in the celebrations than with a Scottish touch!