The Festive Scene in Aberdeen(shire)

Shops that put their Christmas goods on display before Halloween passes are my ultimate pet peeve at this time of year so it's a little ironic that I've decided to write a Christmas blog post before the end of October ..but bear with me here.

Whatever way you look at it, Christmas is rapidly descending upon us. Schools and churches are beginning to look out their nativity costumes; shop shelves are full of advent calendars; the weather has turned decidedly frosty and the organised among us might even have written their cards or purchased a present or two.

While the busy-ness and the consumerism of this season doesn't always appeal to me, I do love all the festivities and the sense of community that springs up over the next two months or so. Having lived near Glasgow for a few years, with all its Christmas Festival and ice-rink-clad goodness, the festivities can sometimes seem a bit sparse up here in the North East of the country.  

However, that image isn't necessarily true. And so I thought I'd share some of the things I've found across Aberdeen City and Shire that might help you immerse yourself fully in the spirit of the season!

Hit Up the Markets:
First and foremost, let's address the issue of gifts. Nothing stresses me out more than a day spent fighting with the crowds over the same old wares on the high street.. so why not seek out an alternative this year and pay a visit to one of Aberdeen & the surrounding area's many many markets? From international food to vintage clothes and unique craft pieces, there's bound to be something for everyone:

(Lots of these are happening this weekend, hence the 'early' blog post!)

Lights and Parades:
Few things confirm the arrival of Christmas quite like the lights of the first neighbourhood Christmas tree. Every town and city seems to have its own unique way of making a fuss over its Christmas lights and many of them won't be announced for another few weeks, but confirmed so far are:

For an altogether different kind of light that's very much on our mind at this time of year, why not pop along to a local bonfire or fireworks display?
  • The Theatre Modo parade mentioned above also includes a fireworks display sponsored by Shell. 
  • Banff are also getting in on the act early with their bonfire and fireworks display at Duff House playing fields from 6:30pm on the 2nd of November.
  • As are Stonehaven with theirs taking place at the Minnerwell Mark on November 3rd from 6pm.
  • Come bonfire night (on the 5th of November, remember) there will be displays all across the North East. The biggest (and, let's face it, best) display will be at Aberdeen beach at 7:30pm, but some of the biggest bonfires will be hiding in the most surprising of little villages so do your research. 
  • And if you aren't fed up of fire by the end of November, then why not bring in the New Year with the Stonehaven fireball ceremony?
See A Pantomime:
No festive season would be complete without the laughter and cringing of a pantomime..
Alternatively, why not check out a smaller, local production?
Christmas carol concert

Or A Carol Concert Instead:
If a pantomime's not your scene, then perhaps a carol concert is more up your street?

For an altogether different - and more sophisticated - kind of performance, and if you're still not tired of all the festivities come January, there's always the Scottish Ballet's Hansel and Gretel which is being performed at His Majesty's Theatre from January 15th-18th.

Whew! There's certainly plenty to keep us busy this festive season and this is by no means an exhaustive list.

Get out and explore your local area and see what it has to offer you this winter - you might, like me, find yourself surprised quite pleasantly!


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