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10 things to do across Scotland this weekend

The Reindeer Reign at Holmwood

Holmwood House, Glasgow Saturday and Sunday

What with a rather big night to prepare for in a couple of weeks, it's fair to say Santa's got a lot on his plate at the moment. Luckily he's been able to squeeze in a visit to Glasgow's Holmwood House this weekend with a team of real live reindeer. There will also be craft fair and a selection of festive food and refreshments available to keep the cold at bay. Open from 10am to 4.30pm, tickets are £3-£4 or £12 for families.


Elf Training School

Saturday and Sunday, David Livingston Centre, Blantyre

Santa would be nothing without his trusty elves - and this year, he's so busy he's recruiting more. Boys and girls visiting Blantyre this weekend are invited to attend an 'elf and safety' lesson in Santa's schoolroom covering the history of the famous toy workshop, and the art of climbing chimneys with stacks of presents. There's also crafty gift-making, and a guarantee of much magical mirth and merriment. Book at 30 minute intervals from 11am to 4pm for £5. www.nts.org.uk/events

Keeping Christmas at Pollok House with Mrs Claus

Daily until December 24, Pollok House

For an alternative female perspective, why not visit Mrs Claus instead? She'll be accepting visitors by a cosy fire in Pollok House's Morning Room every day until Christmas Eve, with online booking for timed slots between 11am and 4pm available for £6. Afterwards, take a peek round the rest of the place, which has been spectacularly decorated, then peruse the food and gift shops, and sample festive goodies in the Edwardian Kitchen restaurant. Entry is £5.


Christmas At The Castle

Sunday, Stirling Castle

Another chance to step back in time with an afternoon of festive activities at Stirling Castle. There's plenty to see and do from 12.30pm, with live character comedy, a puppet show, and music from the Swinging Santas. Visitors can also discover how Christmas used to be celebrated, and get a taste for yuletide delicacies enjoyed at the Royal Court. Entry is £7.50-£14. There's also a concert of carols and Christmas favourites with the National Youth Choir of Scotland in the Great Hall at 7.30pm, with tickets £10-£15.


Red Bull Crashed Ice

Friday, Murrayfield Ice Arena, Edinburgh

An action-packed speed skating event undertaken by participants in full protective garb, coming to Murrayfield Ice Rink from noon on Friday. More than 100 hopefuls will be whittled down over the course of one bone-crunching afternoon of races taking contestants over, under, and around a series of obstacles at high speed. Competition is likely to be fierce - the best will qualify for International Crashed Ice Downhill finals taking place early next year in the US, Finland, Canada, and Russia. Entry is free.


Edinburgh's Christmas

Edinburgh City Centre

The capital's annual winter wonderland is proving more popular than ever this year, with a record 750,000 visitors in the first 10 days. All of the usual stuff returns to Princes Street Gardens - the skating rink, big wheel, and the Christmas markets - but attractions have now expanded to take in St Andrew Square. In the shadow of the Old Town and with enough artificial light to rival Blackpool, it's undoubtedly more magical at night, but it can be very busy, so you might want to go earlier - especially with younger children.

Decorate Edinburgh

Daily, around Edinburgh

This charity project moves Edinburgh's festive celebrations out beyond the city centre, and offers a great, informal way of discovering the capital. An army of Christmas trees have been placed at points around the city to form a trail, taking in Costorphine, Morningside, and Leith and numerous points between. Supplied by Scottish homeless charity The Bethany Trust, the trees have been decorated by community groups, local organisations, and artists, and they're all different. Pick up a map from any Edinburgh's Christmas information point and see if you can find them all.


James Morton's Stollen Christmas

Sunday, Oran Mor, Glasgow

A last chance to catch the Great British Bake Off star's Christmas baking masterclass, where he'll reveal the science and the secrets of bread-making with a promised festive twist. The Shetland native famously balanced appearances on the show with full-time medical studies, so he's certain to have plenty of time-saving tips to share for those in search of inspiration for the perfect home-baked Christmas. And if don't already do know your sourdough from your stollen, James will also be fielding baking queries. Tickets are £12.


Traditional Winter Market

Thursday to Sunday, Horsecross Plaza, Perth

It's also the last weekend of this outdoor market in Perth, which has been running as part of the city's biggest ever Winter Festival. Open daily from 9am to 7pm (and 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays), there are a host of stalls to browse selling crafts, clothing, and accessories, along with a wide range of food and drinks. Hot festive treats and mulled wine and cider are also to be found in a central seating area, plus live music and a fairytale grotto hosted by Horsecross, the organisation behind Perth's Theatre and Concert Hall.

Politics With Punch: Modern Satirical Cartoons

Daily, until March Aberdeen Art Gallery

If all that festive sweetness gets too much, this tartly toothsome showcase by some of the sharpest pens in political satire can be relied on to cut through. Comprising original drawings for newspaper cartoons by celebrated artists such as Ralph Steadman, David Low, Martin Rowson and Steve Bell, Aberdeen Art Gallery's acerbic exhibition charts the domestic and international political scene from the early part of the 20th century right up to the present day. Open daily (except Mondays), entry is free.


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