28 December, 2010

Christmas in Scotland

This is my second Christmas in Scotland, but the first one since being married! Two years ago, Scott proposed to me in the wee hours of Christmas morning!

When all the Burns boys lived at home, Santa would fill their Christmas stockings and leave them on the end or at the foot of their bed. As soon as they would wake up and discover them, they would race through to their mum's room and dump them out on her bed and show her what they got! Now that they're grown up, Santa leaved the stockings under the tree with the rest of the gifts.

Every year, Gran Macdonald (Scott's mum's mum) spends the night so she's there for the early morning Christmas start. Christmas morning, Scott's mum Linda woke us up at about 8:30am. The little old neighbour lady Chris (who has been adopted as a granny) is brought over shortly after everyone wakes up. Stockings are opened first and usually include a couple of daft gifts. When Scott and I were first engaged for my first Christmas in Scotland, Santa, a.k.a.Linda, put a black and pink thong with pom-pom ties and "Santa Baby" written across the front in my stocking. And of course, she suggested I try them on, since my family try on clothing they receive. Eeek! That's Scott's family for you! Gifts are opened after that, then everyone hangs around and gets ready for the day and then heads over around 2pm for a 4 course meal at Scott's mum's brother, Uncle Ian's House.

Surprisingly, this year's meal went off without much of a hitch. Way to go Uncle Ian! In the past, he has caught fire to the kitchen via the turkey, burned various other food, put a wicker basket in the oven to heat up the bread and caught that on fire, there has been an all out food fight, and the first year I spent Christmas here, he had so mistimed the baking that there was over an hour and half between the 2nd course and the main course...we were sooo hungry! Christmas dinner in Scotland is much like Thanksgiving dinner in America and usually includes turkey and sometimes ham or lamb.

 Christmas Dinner

There is one tradition in Scotland which I love that I've not seen before in the States. Christmas Crackers! A Christmas Cracker lies on everyone's plate prior to the meal as a decoration and just before Christmas dinner begins, everyone picks up their Cracker and holds it out to one of the people next to them. Each person pulls and it pops! Out pops a little trinket prize, a joke, and a paper hat. Everyone shares their joke, swap prizes if they want and puts on their paper crown hat!
 Christmas Cracker

After the meal is complete, most of the family continues drinking and often end up setting up for karaoke. It's doesn't matter if you're any good or not, because Uncle Ian will sing with you or over the top of you most of the time! This year I skyped my family and watched them open presents. They met Uncle Ian and Aunt Elinor for the first time that night (via skype) dressed up in crazy costumes. Now my family is certain that most Scots are a bit crazy!

 That's been my Christmas in Scotland with the Macdonald family! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  1. wow ... sounds like alot of fun and traditions, glad you are able to see both sides of families at the same time even though you are far away from yours. take care

  2. I lived in Grangemouth (pretty at night... but during the day is about as scenic as it sounds, which to me always sounded like a grungy mouth disease -LOL-!!) for 5 1/2 years (1998- 2003) and am looking forward to following your blog.

    I brought himself (my hubby) back with me, and we will celebrate our 13th anniversary this year (which is incredible to me... gobsmacking, even!) :D.

    If I could live 6 months here and 6 months there I would... and now that I've been back for 5+ years I have a hard time remembering all the reasons I had to come home...

    If you ever need to whinge, or just ask a question from a former Expat (and you haven't found the expat boards, which have their good and bad sides, but helped me a lot when I was there), please just get in touch.

    I'm so nostalgic as I write this... :-)

    Carrie (used to be in Scotland) now in Arizona

  3. Hey Carrie,

    Welcome to my blog! Nice to have an American on here who understands how things are in Scotland! So, I'm guessing you moved home for the sunshine? ;) Arizona is quite a change from Scotland. What do you miss most?

  4. I ALWAYS have Christmas Crackers for the holidays but really blew it this year. Truthfully, everyone always thought it was weird so I thought I would show them how boring it is WITHOUT them! I may be the only one who missed them! Trying to put a little of my English heritage in the midst of all the Italian going on around here! :)