Edinburgh's Christmas 2015 programme revealed
Christmas markets open on Fri 20 Nov; festive highlights include Circa, Susan Boyle and Puddles
Word on the street is it's the most wonderful time of the year: a time to turn your blood into Glühwein, for the excessive consumption of Bratwurst and for Michael Buble's festive album to be played so often it is deeply ingrained into your subconscious for weeks. Yes, Edinburgh's Christmas is coming, folks.
This year's festivities, which take place from Fri 20 Nov to Mon 4 Jan, are set to be part of 'the biggest and brightest Christmas festival ever seen in Scotland and the rest of the UK', with the event expanding across the city.
Old Town is a big part of that expansion – it's getting doused in a little Christmas spirit with the launch of the Virgin Money Street of Light on St Andrew's Day. This architectural installation is made up of 60,000+ lights, stretching along the Royal Mile. Street of Light will be free but ticketed, and will welcome up to 250,000 visitors over the season. It's going to be brighter and more sparkly than Lady Gaga's wardrobe, and it's all in the name of yuletide.
If you have ever dreamed a dream of Susan Boyle turning on the Christmas lights, you're in luck: the Britain's Got Talent finalist is taking part in the City's Light Night celebrations on Sun 22 Nov. She will appear alongside 1,300 local performers before pressing a button and making the Capital all twinkly for a month or so.
Headlining the performance strand this year is Circa, with their show Beyond, plus Fringe favourite Camille O'Sullivan, 2015's five-star hit Puddles, Festival regulars Austentatious, Abandoman and cabaret big hitters Frisky & Mannish. Returning once again this year is Stick Man, the adaptation of Julia Donaldson's bestselling book which went down well with kids and their grown-ups alike last year.
Speaking of returning favourites, the ellipse-shaped ice rink will be back in St Andrew's Square, the Big Wheel and the Star Flyer are coming back for more mid-air fun, and of course, the European market is back, so you can fill your boots with sheepskin accessories, posh-flavoured coffee and other such things that are roughly 70% more appealing in December.
It's not all about Christmas though. St Andrew's Day celebrations are once again taking place in St Andrew Square on 29 November, and will feature free performances from Liz Lochhead, Dean Owens and The Whisky Hearts, The Banana Sessions and Blazin' Fiddles.
It's definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Edinburgh's Christmas, Fri 20 Nov–Mon 4 Jan, Various Venues, Edinburgh