Merry ‘little’ Christmas: How to celebrate under Covid rules

As Scotland prepares for a Christmas like no other, here are some alternative ways to mark the festive season this year.

Merry ‘little’ Christmas: How to celebrate under Covid rules Getty Images

Scotland is preparing for a Christmas like no other, as the government desperately tries to juggle preserving public health and allowing families to gather for celebrations.

With so many of us used to visiting relatives, festive parties and busy Christmas dinner tables, things are bound to look rather different this year.

The First Minister has urged Scots to stay in their own homes despite a four-nations decision to relax coronavirus restrictions on Christmas Day.

Up to three households in Scotland were initially allowed to gather indoors between December 23 and 27.

However, as Nicola Sturgeon announced on Saturday, the five-day window is now being reduced to December 25 only.

A strict travel ban has also been put in place over the holidays, with cross-border travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK not permitted.

In light of the current situation, STV News looks at alternative ways families can have festive fun without fears of spreading the virus.

Try a socially-distanced Santa experience

Trips to see Santa Claus may prove trickier this year with many shops and centres currently closed.

Owners of Edenmill Farm in Blanefield, Stirling, have come up with a safe way to see Santa 2020 style, with a drive-thru experience.

Families can take a short trip in their cars through Christmas tree-lined paths, passing alpacas and other farm animals along the way, till they come to a cosy cabin, where they will be greeted by Santa and Mrs Claus.

Children can take photographs with the festive favourites using the family’s own devices and will be offered gift to take home.

However, for families who don’t reside in the Stirling area, do not worry – children can still catch-up with Santa from the comfort of their very own home.

Children can have a Zoom call with Santa.Getty Images

Little ones can enjoy a magical experience via a personalised and live exchange with the big man himself via Zoom.

Santa at Home offers experiences for up to six children in any one session with slots available from November 23 until December 24.

Catch a Christmas panto online

This year, many people are swapping stage for screen with Perth Theatre’s unique live interactive online pantomime via Zoom.

Children can still be a part of the action, they can boo the baddie, cheer the hero, banter with the dame and have the same sing-a-long panto fun but from the comfort of their sofa.

Barrie Hunter’s Oh yes we are! A Quest for Long Lost Light and Laughter is available to book every night up until Christmas Eve.

Meet the reindeer in the Highlands

The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd is Britain’s only free-ranging herd of reindeer found in the Cairngorm mountains in Scotland.

The tame and friendly animals are a joy to all who come and see them.

There are currently around 150 reindeer in the herd, mostly ranging on the Cairngorm Mountains with the remainder on the Glenlivet Estate.

The centre is open to visitors up until Christmas Day but those from other areas of Scotland with travel restrictions have been asked not to visit at present.

Follow St Nick’s journey with Google’s Santa Tracker

Coronavirus may have halted a lot of festive plans, but Google’s Santa Tracker is back to keep children company while they’re stuck at home.

The tech giant has given it a modification that makes it feel very 2020: a pair of purple face masks for Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The Santa Tracker experience includes virtual festive activities like games, videos, and 3D dancing video of the big man himself.

Host a virtual Christmas party

Just because families can’t get together in person doesn’t mean they can’t see each other this Christmas.

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Relatives can share a Zoom link and host their annual get-together online.

It can include family quizzes, happy hour, a spot of karaoke or even a virtual opening of Secret Santa gifts.

Chop down your own tree at Duff Farm

Getting your Christmas tree shouldn’t be a seasonal chore but Duff Farm offers a unique experience.

Staff allow families to cut down their own tree as the adults of the group are provided with a saw, gloves and a mat to kneel on.

Customers are asked to dig out their wellies before walking the muddy fields in the hunt for the perfect tree.

The farm, which is near the village of Buchlyvie on the edge of the Trossachs, is open daily from November 30 to December 24.

Those from other areas of Scotland with travel restrictions in place have been asked not to visit at present.

Make your own wreath at home

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Crafting can be therapeutic at the best of times, so why not make your own wreath at home?

A trip to a local garden centre or forest can help you find the items needed for your creation, although many of the items you may already have at home.

Scotland Wreaths hold virtual classes that teach you how to assemble your own just in time for the festive season.

Blow away the cobwebs with a winter walk

Winter is the perfect time to wrap up warm, throw on some wellies or hiking boots and go for a long walk with family and friends.

Whether you are stuck in a city this season or you are relaxing in the countryside, you can always find scenic routes for a crisp wintry stroll.

For those restricted to Edinburgh this Christmas a walk up Calton Hill can offer up stunning views of the city below.

Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms.Getty Images

The Granite Trail is worth exploring in Aberdeen and people living in Glasgow can follow the Mural Trail or take a trip along the Clyde Walkway.

However, those living outside Scotland’s cities may be lucky enough to stay near some of the country’s top winter walking routes.

These include Cardrona Forest in the Borders, Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms and Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve in the Highlands.

Give your face mask a festive twist

Young ones can put their creative skills to the test by giving their coronavirus face coverings a festive makeover.

Young ones can give their masks a festive twist.Getty Images

Using stickers, wool, felt or even a parent’s sewing skills, they can create a Christmas design ready to spread cheer on their next trip outdoors.

Put those lockdown baking skills to the test

Time in lockdown allowed a lot of people to gain new skills, the most common being learning how to bake.

So, how about putting those talents to the test by baking the ultimate gingerbread house?

The Happy Foodie‘s online recipe offers a simple step-to-step guide to create your perfect edible home.