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10 things to do across Scotland this weekend

The RSNO Christmas Concert

The RSNO Christmas Concert

Today to Sunday, Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, and Edinburgh

The RSNO's family-friendly festive concert features a winning selection of Christmas music, plus a screening of animated classic The Snowman matched to a live performance of Howard Blake's magical score. Conducted by Christopher Bell and narrated by River City's Libby McArthur, the concert hits Aberdeen's Music Hall tonight, Dundee's Caird Hall tomorrow, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (twice) on Saturday and Edinburgh's Usher Hall on Sunday. www.rsno.org.uk

Christmas at The Castle

Saturday to January 2, Edinburgh Castle

Costumed performers bringing Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol to life at Edinburgh Castle in A Dickens Christmas, free with entry and running daily from Saturday until Christmas Eve. If you miss that, Daft Days (Saturday 28 to Tuesday 31 December) offers a peek at renaissance Christmas celebrations, while No Christmas Here (January 1-2) takes the castle back to Cromwellian times, where the invading Parliamentarian Army has banned all festivities. www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk

Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, tomorrow to Saturday, January 11

Theatre promoter Raymond Gubbay's annual series of nostalgia-hued Christmas concerts, offering a customary mix of popular classical, big band and show tunes recitals. Tomorrow's Carols By Candlelight features carols and festive favourites with the Mozart Festival Orchestra, while further ahead are concerts showcasing wartime chart-toppers, Russian ballet, US musicals, well-kent Scottish classics, and Viennese waltzes. www.glasgowconcerthalls.com

Wee Hansel and Gretel

Tomorrow and Monday, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Catch Scottish Ballet's enchanting introduction to ballet for very little people at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow on Friday 20 and Monday 23 December. Suitable for ages three and up, the hour-long performance is specially adapted from the company's latest winter production for grown-up, and also comes to the Edinburgh Festival Theatre on January 10 and Aberdeen's Music Hall on January 17. Tickets are £10. www.scottishballet.co.uk

IRN BRU Carnival

Tomorrow until January 12, SECC, Glasgow

Europe's largest indoor funfair and a Glasgow festive fixture for 93 years, returning to the SECC tomorrow with more than 60 rides, stalls, games and attractions. Alongside traditional fare such as the dodgems, ghost train and waltzers there are a host of hair-raising speed and scare rides, including the new Extreme XL, a 50-foot-high ride that's been set up outside on the banks of the Clyde. Rides and most stalls take vouchers, with 10 included per £12 entry. www.irn-bru-carnival.com

Duel in the Pool

Friday and Saturday, Tollcross International Swim Centre, Glasgow

If you fancy giving all that Christmas stuff a bodyswerve, some of the best swimmers from Europe and the USA happen to be competing in Glasgow this weekend. An intercontinental team championship akin to golf's Ryder Cup, Duel in the Pool offers two days of action in the assigned venue for next year's Commonwealth Games. Among the Scots contingent will be Craig McNally, Robbie Renwick, Hannah Miley, and London 2012 silver medallist Michael Jamieson, while the US charge is led by multiple Olympic medallist Ryan Lochte. www.swimming.org/britishswimming/duelinthepool

Edinburgh's Hogmanay

December 30 to January 1, Edinburgh City Centre

Looking further ahead, there's a huge amount going on in Edinburgh over the New Year. Celebrations include a Carol Concert in St Giles Cathedral, the UK's largest open-air New Year ceilidh, and one of the world's biggest street parties - featuring live performances from Chvrches and Django Django. The night's showpiece concert and fireworks spectacular in Princess Street Gardens is headlined by veteran pop duo Pet Shop Boys. Freshen up the morning after at South Queensferry's bracing Looney Dook, then embark on a cultural journey through the Old Town with Scot:Lands, a free festival of live art, music and theatre at nine locations. www.edinburghshogmanay.org

Glasgow Hogmanayday

December 31, George Square, Glasgow

Where Edinburgh brings in the New Year by night, Glasgow gears up for the occasion by day with music and dancing in George Square from noon to 10pm - with a range of performers from around the Commonwealth setting the scene for one of the city's biggest-ever years. Closing the evening are Celtic rock band Bahookie, who preside over a huge ceilidh in the marquee. Incidentally, if you're not planning a trip east for The Bells, there's a big street party on Ashton Lane in the West End, and a New York City-style send-off to 2013 at Merchant Square. www.glasgowloveschristmas.com

Stonehaven Fireballs Ceremony and Open Air in the Square

December 31, Stonehaven

Some of the largest crowds elsewhere will be in Stonehaven, where thousands are expected to attend two events. The more traditional Fireball Ceremony involves up to 60 local residents swinging huge flaming balls on ropes through the Old Town's High Street to the harbour before hurling them into the sea. Entry is free, with proceedings underway from 11pm. Meanwhile, Glasgow stadium rockers Simple Minds headline an open-air gig in the town's Main Square - an initial 5000 tickets have sold out, but more have been released, and are still available for £50 from www.oaits.org

Hogmanay across Scotland

December 31, Stirling, Inverness, and Aberdeen

The other big parties are in Stirling, Aberdeen, and Inverness. As with Edinburgh, Scottish musical talent is also to the fore at Stirling Castle, with Deacon Blue headlining a bill that also includes Dougie Maclean and Bags of Rock. The free Red Hot Highland Fling concert takes place at Northern Meeting Park in Inverness, is hosted by comedian Craig Hill, and features Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Skerryvore, and Sunday Herald favourites Dorec-a-belle. Aberdeen's celebrations centre on a fireworks display launched from the roof of His Majesty's Theatre, and live music from local acts The Tijuana Sun and The Aristocats onstage in nearby Union Terrace.

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