Tired of wreath making classes and struggling to come up with Christmas gift ideas? Check out our list of exciting workshops to spice things up over the festive period
Christmas is coming once again, and with it are various workshops and classes to help get you into the festive mood, as well as thinking of some jolly good present ideas. Done the carol singing, been to the market, sat in Santa's lap and put up the countless holiday wreaths you've made over the years? Well, we've got you covered! Get your camera, mix some cocktails, travel to China in spirit or awaken your inner Jamie Oliver: here are our top picks to help you get creative this holiday season in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Stop motion animation workshops If your child is the next Nick Park, or if they're just bored with conventional Christmas activities, this one is definitely for you. Grab the wee ones and take part in a magical Christmas-themed stop motion animation workshop (Sat 21 Dec) for children ages 8–12. Not only is it creative, fun and innovative, but it'll also make for the perfect gift for the grandparents.
Edinburgh Comic Art Fest Not just for the geeks in your life, the Edinburgh Comic Art Fest (Sun 24 Nov) is a great place to meet authors and artists, as well as getting a backstage glimpse into how the fascinating comic industry works. But there are also free workshops for all ages throughout the day, so why not get artsy and sketch your own Super Santa Man with Rudolf as his sidekick? If Fat Thor can pull it off, so can Father Christmas.
Brush painting courses If your interests lies in painting, or if you've ever felt drawn to Chinese culture, then the Confucius Institute for Scotland's one-day (Sat 23 Nov) or four-week-long courses are made for you. Learn all about the art of Chinese brush painting using bamboo brushes and create pieces worthy of a seasonal gift. Whether you're a complete beginner or already know some bits and pieces, these workshops are suitable for all levels.
Bookbinding classes Every family and group of friends will have at least one true bookworm among them, and for whom you'll always know what to buy for Christmas: a good, satisfying book. But if you want to take it to the next level and add a personal touch to the package, join the Booktides Bindery's six-week-long binding course starting on Sun 24 Nov and surprise your loved one with their next favourite read.
Fermenting experience If you're comfortable in the kitchen and your friends and family are always expecting some festive treats from you, why not leave the jam and the gingerbread behind and turn to something more adventurous this year? On Sat 30 Nov, visit the Meow Studios and participate in a special fermenting and dining experience (who said you cannot treat yourself at the same time?) set in a spacious open space kitchen, which runs for six hours. Learn all about fermentation, explore the traditions, techniques, equipment and ingredients used in the process, and surprise your loved ones with something new, tasty and useful.
Nighttime and landscape photography classes Scotland is beautiful, day and night. There's no one who wouldn't appreciate a lovely landscape or a fabulous photo of the Edinburgh Castle: so why not create your own portfolio to give away this holiday season? Improve your skills on how to capture the starry sky or make the best out of the street lights with a series of insightful and fun night photography workshops. Don't worry if discovering the capital once the sun has set isn't your cup of tea: you can head out to Fife or East Lothian and explore the land- and seascapes there. The workshop on Sun 15 Dec teaches you how to photograph nature, water and the sunrise.
Gin, whisky and cocktail-making sessions Let's face it: Christmas may be all about love, but it's also very much about food and drink too. Whether you're planning on creating a unique and personal gift or if you'd just like to shake up the festive menu, you can rely on the following mixing and blending workshops. On Wed 27 Nov, Chivas Regal invites you to a special event with storytelling, tasting and some whisky blending. Create your very own flavoured dram and enjoy it later by the Christmas tree. Not a whisky fan? How about gin? Running on multiple dates, the Still River Gin School welcomes everyone who like to design and distil their own drinks. During the insightful three-hour long workshop, you can taste various gin samples and learn all about juniper and botanicals. And if these were still not enough, you can join Nearly Legless Mick's magical Christmas potion making class and invent a completely new cocktail suited to your preferences. Set in a transformed winter wonderland, this interactive experience will make you the star of every Christmas party this year.
Christmas calendar club Christmas calendars have reached their zenith: you can get them in every shape, size and material these days, filled with chocolate, tea, LEGO figures, whisky bottles or beauty products. But handmade gifts will never lose their charm! Join the Gallery of Modern Art's Saturday Art Club on Sat 7 Dec and create your own calendar to make someone's countdown to Christmas truly special.
Puppet-making workshops Puppets might sound like an obvious choice for kids as a gift, but hand-making them is a whole different thing. Create colourful animals, funny elves, beautiful angels or Santa himself: the sky's the limit. Head over to the Great Christmas Puppet Making Workshop (Sat 14 & Sun 15 Dec), where you can design and craft the most personal toy your kid will receive this season.
Lampshade workshops We all love IKEA, but when it comes to the holidays, it's always best to get crafty and make your own – even when it comes to household items. If there's fabric sitting at the bottom of your cupboard that you love but have never known what to do with it, No. 22's lampshade workshop (Wed 27 Nov) is for you. Enjoy a relaxing creative evening with tea, coffee and biscuits included.
Tote bag workshops In the age of recycling, reduced waste products and eco-friendly solutions, you cannot go wrong with a colourful and hand-painted tote bag. On Sun 24 Nov, visit the Riverside Museum's decorating workshop and experiment with fabrics while designing your own practical tote bag.
Learn about the history of Chivas Regal and the skills and craftsmanship it takes to make their signature blended whisky with a complimentary drink in hand. Then, get hands-on and create your own whisky, with a 200ml bottle blend to take home that night.
Lots of festive family fun for Christmas in this crafty workshop! What would you wish to make? An elf? A reindeer? A snowman? Maybe even Santa himself! With just a little imagination and lots of Christmas cheer, we will help you to design and create your own puppet for Christmas, just in time for Santa! All materials…
ECAF returns to Out of the Blue Drill Hall for the 3rd year (and 6th edition). This year we’ll be hosting a Comics Market with over 50 exhibiting comic creators, plus FREE to attend drop-in comic book workshops and activites for all ages.