Ah, December! Crisp weather, hot cocoa and White Christmas.
Some love it, others can’t wait for the holidays to be over. Whether you are a gingerbread addict, or dread Christmas Carols, you can’t deny that this time of the year is magical.
And I’m not just talking about the snow, the lights, the music and the food, nor about the supposedly giving spirit we should all be filled with (we should live by it all year round, indeed, but that’s another story).
For each and every one of us who celebrate it, Christmas means something different: spending quality time with family, travelling with friends, curling up in a cosy blanket in front of a fire after a hefty meal, wrapping presents and stuffing Christmas stockings, enrolling for a charity organisation, cooking and baking, volunteering at a shelter, diffusing delicious orange-y and cinnamon-y smells all over the house.
Scotland is no exception, but in Edinburgh, Christmas plays a very important part in shaping the city’s personality. Being a naturally picturesque metropolis, it doesn’t need much to upgrade its image, but for 7 weeks, starting in November, Edinburgh suits up to give you the most delightful and cheerful Christmas experience.
From St Andrew’s Square, walking long George Street, to Charlotte Square, coming down to Princes Street Gardens and moving up to the Grassmarket and the Castle in the Old Town, there’s plenty for everybody!
Shows, rides and attractions, fireworks, markets, concerts, ice skating: you just have to pick one! Or try them all, I’m not stopping you!
Edinburgh is a cosmopolitan city, so it makes perfect sense that not everyone celebrates Christmas in the same way or celebrate it to begin with.
Here, at ELA we have students from all over the world and it’s so interesting to learn about different holiday traditions.
Here’s what they shared with us:
“We celebrate Christmas Eve, on 24 December, and we usually have turkey for dinner!”
“My country’s tradition is to celebrate the New Year, on 7 January: that’s when we exchange gifts and presents.”
“My friends and family are used to celebrate Christmas by going out for lunch or dinner. We like to party and have fun outdoors and in restaurants, rather than staying at home.”
-Thomas, Hong Kong
“We usually have a large meal for lunch on Christmas Day. We exchange presents and spend the day with our families. New Year’s Eve is celebrated with friends.”
If you are still not convinced about celebrating Christmas, hey, no pressure! Christmas comes but once a year, though, so go with the flow, have some Christmas pudding now that you have the chance!
Grab some potatoes or sprouts (if you are one of those people), and some pie, sit back, relax, and enjoy Home Alone (for the billionth time), or The Grinch, if that’s more like you!
Nevertheless, what really dwells in Edinburghers’ heart is New Year’s Eve or, as they call it, Hogmanay.
Edinburgh is not only the capital of Scotland but is also the top cultural and creative city of its size in Europe! It comes to no surprise, then, that the city teems with festivals of all sorts and diverse cultural projects every month of the year.
In December, though, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay attracts thousands of tourists every year.
Second only to August’s Fringe Festival, this heartfelt celebration comprises several customs, such as First-Footing, which involves friends or family members going to each other’s houses with a gift of whisky and sometimes a lump of coal.
In the long run, Christmas has reached all four corners of the world, even if it’s not religiously celebrated. Every Celebration has the power of bringing people together, family and friends, and Edinburgh’s Christmas is no exception in doing so.
This wonderful and joyous city is ready to welcome you to a once-in-a-life experience you won’t find anywhere else and that you will remember forever.