Christmas in Scotland

If you are spending Christmas in Scotland this year you may or may not be aware of our old Christmas traditions! Here are a few facts and traditions for a Scottish Christmas!

Christmas was banned in Scotland for 400 years!

• Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas in the UK in 1647 and it was upheld for 15 years because of religious beliefs
• After Cromwell, Britain brought back Christmas everywhere in the UK bar Scotland
• The Ban lasted 400 years and was only dissolved in 1958
• Christmas was still celebrated in Scotland but in secret as it was against the law
• This is why Hogmanay is so popular within Scotland!

Some of the older traditions are still upheld, however I’m not sure I would recommend putting trinkets in food…

• Cracking an egg into a cup and seeing the shape that it created would determine the profession of the person who cracked it, when the egg is placed into a cake and the cake cracks during baking it means that the same person will have a year of bad luck.
• Burning a twig of rowan tree at Christmas was a way to clear bad feelings towards friends, family and neighbours.
• The Yule bread was baked every Christmas, it is made without a raising agent and baked for each member of the family. The person who found a trinket in their loaf would have good luck all year round.
• Placing candles in the window to welcome a stranger meant you were honouring the visit of the Holy Family.

In 1958 we got Christmas back!

• Scotland reintroduced Christmas again and adopted the traditions that the rest of the UK followed.
• Boxing day then became an annual tradition on Scotland as late as 1974

Scotland are in the full swing of Christmas at the moment celebrating old and new Christmas traditions


Opening advent calendars
o Starting from December 1st, every day you open a door of the calendar which usually has a treat inside.

o Christmas trees are usually decorated in lights, baubles, and tinsel with your choice of either a star or fairy on top
o Around towns and city centres you will see the streets adorned with lots of festive Christmas lights
o Statues of Santa and Christmas ornaments will be pulled out from lofts every year and displayed inside and outside of houses


o Santa Claus is the legendary figure for Christmas
o Children will often leave cakes and biscuits along with a drink for Santa on Christmas eve and some carrots for his reindeer
o Children will write Christmas lists which are then burned in the fireplace so the letters can be delivered to Santa


o Stockings are hung at the end of the bed or beside the fireplace and are filled with small gifts on Christmas Eve.

A Scottish Christmas dinner

• Traditionally the meal would start with Scotch broth, followed by a meal of turkey, skirlie (stuffing), neeps (turnips), tatties (potatoes), pigs in blankets, gravy and sprouts. This is usually followed up by a dessert of either yule log, mince pies, Christmas pudding or a clootie dumpling! (fruit pudding steamed in a cloth) If your partial to a tipple, you might even have a whiskey to finish!

• The table is decorated with napkins and Christmas hats and Christmas crackers too!

How do you guys celebrate Christmas?

Katie x

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