USING a red felt-tip pen to circle any essential Christmas viewing in the TV listings has become a time-honoured tradition. But how else to mark the season? Here, we share some festive ideas to enjoy the best of Scotland through screen, page and song.

Doctor Who

Many a Doctor Who adventure has had strong Scottish ties. Not least with three Scots-born doctors – Sylvester McCoy, David Tennant and Peter Capaldi – and memorable characters, including Karen Gillan as Amy Pond and Michelle Gomez playing Missy.

A 2014 episode, titled Last Christmas, featured Maureen Beattie – the actor daughter of the late comedian and entertainer Johnny Beattie – as a North Pole scientist alongside Capaldi. This year's festive instalment, Revolution of the Daleks, will see John Barrowman reprise his role as Captain Jack Harkness.

The Princess Switch: Switched Again

In the original Netflix movie, The Princess Switch, Vanessa Hudgens plays Stacy, a Chicago baker who visits the fictional European country of Belgravia where she meets Lady Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenaro (also Hudgens), who is her double and they switch places.

The newly released sequel, The Princess Switch: Switched Again, follows a similar premise but with a sneaky third lookalike in the mix (that's three Vanessa Hudgens for the price of one).

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The glittering Christmas movie was filmed in Scotland earlier this year against a backdrop of Glasgow Cathedral, Hopetoun House near South Queensferry, Edinburgh Gateway train station, the capital's Parliament Square and Mimi's Bakehouse in Leith.

HeraldScotland: Vanessa Hudgens in The Princess Switch: Switched Again. Picture: NetflixVanessa Hudgens in The Princess Switch: Switched Again. Picture: Netflix

A Castle For Christmas

Another Netflix movie to use Scottish scenery and architecture is A Castle For Christmas. Starring Brooke Shields of Blue Lagoon and Suddenly Susan fame, the story is about an American author who travels to Scotland and decides to buy a castle.

Cary Elwes, known for his roles in The Princess Bride and Ella Enchanted, plays a duke and the castle owner who is reluctant to sell up. It is directed by Mary Lambert, who made the original supernatural horror film Pet Sematary and teen thriller The In Crowd.

Filming locations included Dalmeny House and Estate, near Edinburgh, and Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village at Loch Goil in Argyll. Shooting took place this autumn and no release date has been announced as yet.

Downton Abbey

The Crawley family swapped Downton Abbey for Duneagle Castle in the 2012 Christmas special of the BBC historical period drama. The fictional estate of the Marquess and Marchioness of Flintshire was filmed on location at Inveraray Castle – the real-life ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll.

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The episode featured lochside picnics, shooting excursions and a spectacular Ghillies Ball, although tensions soon rose between the Crawleys and their hosts. Written by Julian Fellowes, among the cast were Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and Dame Maggie Smith.

The Irn-Bru Snowman advert

An homage to classic Christmas film, The Snowman, it depicts a pyjama-clad boy and his eponymous friend soaring above dream-like scenes of Scottish landscapes in a much-beloved Irn-Bru advert which debuted in 2006.

It all goes pear-shaped when the youngster refuses to share his Irn-Bru and is dropped from a great height to land in George Square in Glasgow as his former pal flies away, clutching a stolen can of amber nectar.

A sequel was made in 2018 about the boy's efforts to get his Irn-Bru back. He jumps in a propeller plane and gives chase over landmarks, including the SSE Hydro, the Kelpies, Forth Bridges, V&A Dundee and the Edinburgh skyline.

HeraldScotland: The 2018 sequel to Irn-Bru's The Snowman advertThe 2018 sequel to Irn-Bru's The Snowman advert

In a delicious twist, just as it appears the Irn-Bru will finally be snatched back, Santa swoops down on a sleigh and pinches it – leaving both the boy and the snowman fuming. Both adverts are set to the tune of Walking In The Air using amusing, amended lyrics.

The Snowman began life as a 1978 picture book by Raymond Briggs and was later adapted as a Channel 4 film, first shown on Boxing Day in 1982.

The Misadventures of John Nicholson: A Christmas Story by Robert Louis Stevenson

This short story by Robert Louis Stevenson, published in 1887, follows the mishap and mayhem that befalls an Edinburgh man – the title character John Nicholson – as he keeps dubious company, loses his father's money, gets arrested and ends up estranged from his family and sweetheart.

He flees to San Francisco. A decade later, on Christmas Eve, Nicholson returns to Edinburgh in a bid to set things right, only to wake up next to a bloody corpse and find himself in the frame for a murder.

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There is also a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of embezzlement from the US bank where he was working. A captivating tale of hope, misunderstanding and redemption.

Christmas Fugue by Muriel Spark

Written by Dame Muriel Spark in 2000, Christmas Fugue is about a young woman finds herself alone and restless in Australia as the festive season approaches.

HeraldScotland: Novelist Muriel Spark. Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesNovelist Muriel Spark. Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

She decides to return home to the UK and boards a plane on Christmas Day, where a romantic encounter leads to an unsettling epiphany. A spooky short story to curl up with in front of a roaring fire.

The 12 Days O' Yule by Susan Rennie

Author and lexicographer Susan Rennie is a former editor of the Dictionary of the Scots Language. She shares that expertise in The 12 Days O' Yule, a Scots version of the 12 Days of Christmas, with colourful depictions of skaters skooshin, lassies birlin, sheep a-shooglin and five gowden rings.

The original 12 Days of Christmas is well-known for being rather bird-heavy in its lyrics and this children's book, published in 2015, includes a raft of evocative Scots words for winged creatures, such as tappit hens, hoolets hootin, bonnie doos and a reid robin in a rowan tree.

Santa's A Scotsman by The Scottish Quest All Stars

With Scotland having given the world so many things – television, the telephone, the steam engine, penicillin and more – it is little surprise that someone would one day lay claim to Santa being one of us.

"I'll get that song to Number 1 if it kills me," vowed Radio 2 stalwart Ken Bruce when the track was released in 2006. There was success of sorts when the Christmas single reportedly knocked Leona Lewis from the No. 1 spot in the download charts – albeit only fleetingly.

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In 2007, Jeff Zycinski, the then head of radio for BBC Scotland, banned the song – which includes the line "Too many pies, not enough exercise, of course he's one of us!" – for inducing "negative stereotypes about Scottish people".

The ban was lifted after 48 hours when Zycinski accepted that the "lyrics which refer to Scots as pie-munchers with a weight problem were intended as a bit of fun".

Do They Know It's Christmas?

Former Ultravox singer Midge Ure, who hails from Cambuslang, famously co-wrote the charity single with Band Aid organiser Bob Geldof, frontman for the Boomtown Rats, in response to news reports about the 1983-1985 famine in Ethiopia.

The duo pulled together a supergroup of A-list music names – Paul Young, George Michael, Boy George, Simon Le Bon and Bono, as well as Bananarama and Spandau Ballet – to record the song which topped the Christmas charts in 1984 and stayed there for five weeks.

Do They Know It's Christmas? has been since been re-recorded in 1989, 2004 and 2014.