Christmas: Away From Home
As much as everybody whinges about Christmas, there really is little better than lying semi-comatose in front of the telly, over-stuffed, half-drunk and in possession of several more useless gadgets than the day before. Pulling this off is somewhat more difficult when you're stuck in a hostel, half-way around the world, but rest assured: The Midgie cares how you feel on Christmas Day. Here are our tips for a happy Yuletide, sans family.
Three times the fun
If you can't be with your actual family on Christmas eve, the Three Sisters will quite happily provide you with a new one. In conjunction with the Backpacker's Card, we're holding a special Christmas eve party so don't worry, it won't be lonely this Christmas
Three Sisters Christmas Eve party,139 Cowgate, Edinburgh, 0131 622 6801, Wed 24 Dec, 8pm til late
The Germans Are Coming
It's a Scottish tradition to hold, erm, German markets at Christmas. This is the place to pick up presents that are a little out of the ordinary, or just to have a seat and enjoy some Gluhwein (that's mulled wine to you and I) and watch the world go by. There really is no excuse to give novelty socks and bubble bath gifts sets again. Ever.
German Market, 27 Nov–4 Jan, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh.
Don't Go Solo
Why bother arranging your own Christmas
when the experts can do it for you? All these tour companies offer festive trips around Scotland. Visit:
Shatter Your Illusions
To the people that still believe in Santa: cover your eyes. If there's anything that will dash that particular dream, it's the sight of 10,000 hirsute Christmas icons jogging through Glasgow, as if they were Agent Smith in a seasonal episode of The Matrix. Let's face it, you need to lose that 20 stone you put on over Christmas. Why not do it in a funny outfit?
Glasgow Santa Dash, 14 Dec, George Square, Glasgow, 9am, £15 adult, £5 child, www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Residents/Parks_Outdoors/ Activities/santadash.htm
A Different Kind of Christmas Stocking
If you feel that all the wholesome family fun doesn't appeal when yours are miles away, get yourself down to Club Noir for some sleazy, sexy seasonal fun. Hosted by The Great Aldo – who's so great he never needs to bother explaining why – this is the Christmas edition of Scotland's premier burlesque club night.
Club Noir's Alternative Xmas, The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Thu 18 Dec, www.clubnoir.co.uk, 7.45pm–3am, £8.50 (£7.50).
Skating on thin ice
The headline is a phrase you probably hear quite a lot at Christmas, as you wind up your nearest and dearest to within inches of a nervous breakdown. In Scotland, however, we skate on thick ice, conveniently located in the centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Be warned: the ice is incredibly busy, so this is no place to attempt any flash pirouettes.
Christmas Markets: St. Enoch's Square, Glasgow, Fri 21 Nov–Sun 21 Dec. Traditional German Christmas Market, Edinburgh, Thu 27 Nov–Wed 24 Dec.