NICOLA Sturgeon has urged Scots not to meet their wider families indoors over Christmas if they can avoid it, despite a loosening of restrictions. 

The First Minister suggested those who decide to meet up should go on a family walk to exchange presents, rather than sitting down for a Christmas dinner. 

Ms Sturgeon and Jason Leitch, Scotland's national clinical director, both revealed they will not be meeting their own parents indoors.

Scots will be allowed to form a "bubble" with two other households for five days over Christmas, alongside people in the rest of the UK. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus Scotland: Here are the Christmas rules for Scots

However Ms Sturgeon insisted this was an "outer limit" and said the "default advice" is not to do this and to stay within your own household.

Speaking during her coronavirus update, she said: "If you've been making painful sacrifices for eight months to keep those you love safe, then think about whether you want to take a risk with their safety at this eleventh hour in this horrible journey we're all going through."

Ms Sturgeon said some people might not have been prepared to follow the current rules and leave loved ones on their own over Christmas. 

She said the Scottish Government and others "came to a decision to try to set out some outer limits and some boundaries that we're asking people to work within". 

She said: "That does not mean that we are positively encouraging people to get together. 

"I want to stress today that just because we are allowing people to create a bubble, it does not mean that you have to do it."

She added: "We are relying on people across the country to make informed choices about whether or not to come together at all over the Christmas period."

Ms Sturgeon stressed the virus will not have gone away by Christmas. 

She said: "If you can get through this Christmas staying in your own home within your own household, please do so. 

"That would be the safest decision, and that I guess is the default advice that I am giving to people. 

"However if you feel you need to see somebody from another household, please limit that as much as possible."

The First Minister urged people to think about how they can do Christmas differently this year.

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She said: "For example, and I know this is something I'm thinking about in my own personal circumstances, instead of meeting indoors for Christmas, go for a family walk together, exchange presents on the way, see each other outside. 

"All of this sounds difficult and strange but we are living in difficult and strange times." 

She urged people to keep the windows open during indoor meetings and to follow rules around hygiene and physical distancing.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I am desperate to see my mum and dad and I would love to think that we could come together as a family at Christmas.

"But after all these months of sacrifice, I don't want to put my parents, who don't like me calling them elderly but are getting towards that end of the age spectrum, I don't want to put them at risk for the sake of one day - when if I wait just a few more weeks or two or three more months maybe they would be vaccinated and we could get together in a way that is safer."

Mr Leitch also said he would not be meeting with his parents indoors to have Christmas dinner.

However he said others will be facing different circumstances.

He stressed: "The best protection against this virus is your front door, even at Christmas."

Mr Leitch said Christmas dinners should look different to previous years.

He said: "I wouldn't have a big bowl of roast potatoes with one spoon in it that all six, seven, eight people share.

"That should probably be served somewhere else and then served on the plate."

However he said that kind of "minute guidance" is not going to be issued by the Government.