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Celebrate the Ultimate Scottish Christmas this 25th December

Written by: Doug
Published: 17th December 2015, last updated: 27th October 2020

Did you know that Scottish Christmas was essentially banned throughout the country for nearly 400 years? In 1640, the Act of the Parliament of Scotland made the celebration of ‘Yule vacations’ illegal. This ban lasted approximately 400 years until Christmas Day was officially made a public holiday in 1958. Boxing Day, however, was not officially recognised as a public holiday until 1974.

Nowadays, the Scottish Christmas is much like the rest of the world; gifts, decorated trees, turkey and carol singing are all commonly seen in Scotland over the festive period. Christmas itself was until recent times a purely Religious festival and New Year was and still is the main holiday for Scots.

If you’re looking to celebrate the ultimate Scottish Christmas here are a few ideas to inspire your festivities.

Haggis Stuffed Turkey

haggis stuffed turkey

Haggis is extremely traditional of Scotland and has been eaten by Scots since the 15th century. It is is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pheart, liver, and lungs, minced together with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, and mixed with stock, and cooked encased in the animal’s stomach. I promise you it’s far tastier than that description sounds!!

You probably already knew what it is, but did you know that haggis is a fantastic alternative to traditional stuffing for your Christmas turkey? It adds that touch of Scottish Christmas to your meal and helps to keep the turkey delicious and moist.

If you are looking for a recipe to give this Scottish Christmas recipe a try yourself, CLICK HERE.

Clootie dumpling

Scottish Christmas

The clootie dumpling is a wonderful traditional Scottish pudding closely associated with Christmas and Hogmanay.

For those who don’t already know, it is simply a spiced pudding studded with dried fruits that is wrapped in a cloth and simmered in water for a lengthy period. Outcomes a giant steamed dumpling ready to be sliced and served with custard.

Clootie dumpling follows the same tradition of hiding lucky charms inside a Christmas pudding.

There is no tradition for setting this equivalent of a Scottish Christmas pudding alight with brandy- perhaps because the Scot’s are more likely to keep the good alcoholic stuff firmly in their glass!

Other Traditional Scottish Christmas Foods

Scottish Christmas dinner isn’t wildly different from across the rest of the UK and America, Turkey is generally still the main attraction, but there are a number of elements you can add to your feast to add a bit of a Scots twist, for example:

  • Why not start the meal with a warming bowl of Scotch Broth? This is a hearty and warming concoction of vegetables including turnips, leeks, carrots and dried peas with pearl barley in lamb or mutton stock.
  • Or perhaps Cock-a-leekie to start? If you haven’t already opted for the traditional broth then this soup made with chicken and leek with pearl barley or rice, is a delicious must!
  • Salmon! Did you know that Scotland is home to some of the best salmon in the whole world? Smoked salmon reigns supreme in Scottish homes at Christmas time, but you’ll also find whole roast salmon, salmon pie and other delicious offerings.
  • How about ending on a Scottish cheeseboard? Some of the best UK cheese hail from Scotland, including but not limited to; creamy Caboc, the oldest cheese in Scotland and covered in toasted oatmeal, Lanark Blue, made with sheep’s milk, Isle of Mull Cheddar, or the soft Bonchester cheese. And they should all be served with Bannock oat cakes!

Decorate your table with Christmas Tartan

There are a number of traditional Scottish tartans that work well at Christmas time. The Stewart Royal tartan is the most obvious choice for Christmas as it is red and green. Other tartans that work well at Christmas include the MacPherson Clan Modern and Black Watch Modern tartans.

scottish christmas

Image credit: ScotlandShop

Bring a little Scottish cheer to your Christmas dinner table with one of ScotlandShop’s tartan table runners.

Scottish Christmas Beers

scottish christmas

You can’t call it a traditional Scottish Christmas without a Scottish ale (or 5). There are some fantastic Scottish breweries creating delicious Scottish Christmas-themed beer.

Nollaig (7%) by Williams Brothers

Nollaig is a limited release which comes out every year over the festive period. Get it before it’s gone otherwise you’ll be waiting until next year. Williams Brothers are located in Alloa in the Central Lowlands of Scotland.

The Ultimate Scottish Christmas Gift

highland titles welcome sign

Why not get a loved one the ultimate Scottish Christmas gift this year? Give the everlasting gift of Scottish land by purchasing a plot of Scottish land from Highland Titles. Better yet, the giftee can then style themselves as a Lord, Lady or Laird of Glencoe. What could be more Scottish and festive?

Check out our Blog post for more gift ideas

Create a home-made Scottish Wreath

Scottish wreath

Why buy an artificial wreath when you can make one yourself? A traditional Scottish Christmas wreath should include the following, if available: thistles, holly, Scots pine and hawthorn berries. Use twigs and green foliage from your back garden or local park to bring the wreath together.

Here’s a handy guide on how to make a Christmas wreath for your front door.

A White Christmas?

Scottish Christmas

Whilst virtually nowhere in the world can guarantee snowfall on Christmas day, the the Scots are in with a much better chance of seeing a white Christmas than most. Weather statistics show that Scotland has more than 50% probability of snow on Christmas Day. Plus, the places in UK most likely to see snow on the big day are North and North Eastern Scotland, in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire or the Highlands. But even in the UK’s northern climes there’s no guarantee of the white stuff on Christmas Day.

Keep the Fire Burning

Scottish Christmas

It’s probably no surprise to discover that many Scottish Christmas traditions involve fire, given that white Christmas or not, there’s still guaranteed to be a nip in the air up north this December.

The Yule Log:

The Yule log tradition dates back to Viking times in the 8th century. Families would save a hardwood log to burn on the shortest day of the year and light it with a piece of the previous year’s log. Those sitting round the fire while the Yule log burnt would enjoy prosperity and protection for the coming year.

The Cailleach:

To keep evil spirits away, the Scottish used the Cailleach, the ‘Old Woman Winter’ totem. A piece of wood carved to represent the Cailleach would be tossed on the fire on Christmas Eve as a symbol of the destruction of winter. Another way of keeping unwelcome visitors at bay is to keep the fire burning all night on Christmas Eve.

As well as these specific traditions, fire is also used in Scottish homes to welcome people too, with many keeping a candle burning in their window during the Christmas period, said to welcome strangers.


You should now have everything you need to celebrate the ultimate Scottish Christmas. How are you planning to deck the halls this Christmas? Will our Lords and Ladies add a touch of Scotland to their festivities? Share your ideas with the Highland Titles community.

About the author

Written by: Doug

Comments on this post

  • Lady Patricia Hockley
    15/01/16 - 10:42

    See above “The ultimate Christmas gift”, it says the giftee can title themselves Lord, Lady or LAID of Glencoe. You may wish to correct this spelling mistake!!!

  • Lady Gloria McLoud
    28/10/16 - 06:14

    Love these ideas! May have to borrow a couple of them!

  • Barb Angus
    06/11/16 - 01:02

    Thanks for this. I enjoyed the read and the information

  • Patsy Stewart
    09/11/16 - 04:43

    Where can we find the ale in the US?

  • Heather Livingston
    11/11/16 - 18:37

    You forgot the traditional clootie dumpling. Ours were filled with coins.

  • G Jones
    15/11/16 - 19:41

    Laid in Glencoe? What’s not to love?

  • Pat
    21/11/16 - 20:55

    Last Patricia puts plaid ribbons on xmas tree.

  • Mary Rittmann
    22/11/16 - 11:25

    Would love to know how to make a cootie dumpling. Mom passed away before could get the recipe
    Lived it at Christmas.

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