It is difficult to deny that the dark, cold days of winter can be a bit trying.

Which is all the more reason to seek out activities full of light, warmth and the best mood lifter of all – food. Winter Festivals are a perfect antidote to the seasonal doldrums.

Aberdonians love winter, and it shows with their five week Christmas Village, which continues to expand each year and which runs throughout the entire month of December in the city centre. Highlights of this festive event include the open-air ice rink, retail and food stalls, spine-chilling fairground rides and, of course, Santa’s Grotto. New for 2019 is a 9-hole Christmas Crazy Golf Course and returning after a successful 2018 introduction is the Christmas in the Quad Market, where you will find unique gift ideas and delectable treats every Thursday through Sunday until Christmas.

If you find yourself in the Scottish capital during December, the bright lights, festive music and taste bud-tingling aromas from Edinburgh’s Christmas Market are sure to lure you to East Princes Street Gardens.  Get a bird’s-eye view of the festivities from atop the Big Wheel, discover the Elves’ Workshop hidden within a challenging Christmas tree maze or sit on the lap of the big man himself. If you seek something unique for that difficult someone on your Christmas list, you will want to peruse the Scottish Market on George Street or the European Market in the Mound Precinct.

Not to be outdone, Glasgow also provides plenty of reasons to celebrate this winter. Traditional Christmas Markets take place in St. Enoch Square and George Square, offering sumptuous street food, artisan wares and a tipple or two in the beautifully crafted traditional German bars. And why not prepare for the inevitable holiday overindulgence by participating in the Santa Dash – a 5k charity run that transforms the city centre into a sea of red suits and fake beards.

On a slightly smaller scale, Inverness hosts its Winter Wonderland in Whin Park from 13-15 December. A real festival of light, this event takes one of the darkest weekends of the year and transforms it into a twinkling sea of radiance and colour with a constantly changing light show. 

Of course, winter doesn’t end because Christmas is over, so look out for Hogmanay festivals in all major cities if you want to shake off some post-holiday cobwebs and ring in the new year in style. Whatever you do, just don’t let winter defeat you.

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