A Guide to What's On This Winter

What's on this winter

Though an unusual festive season is upon us, brighten your winter with this round up of things to do, see, listen to and buy from across Scotland.


Consider getting your final Christmas presents from shops at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Collective, Project Ability, Highland Print Studio and Fife Contemporary to support artists and craft makers.

Collective Matter x KMAdotcom features a collection of products that celebrate the shared energy and commitment to nurturing creativity found at KMAdotcom's artist studio.

You can also visit pop-up shops like the Tea Green Pop Up Design Store at the V&A in Dundee (until 31 January 2021), or the Peacock Pop Up Shop at the Worm in Aberdeen (until 19 December).

The gift of a book is a particularly great one. Check out the Scottish Book Trust Bookbug round up of 2020 children's books, and consider donating to their Christmas appeal - they are gifting books to vulnerable families who are depending on food banks and community hubs over the festive season. You can also head over to the Gaelic Books Council website to see the latest Gaelic offerings.

Try your hand at a new culinary adventure with Make Bake Cook Book. Featuring the artworks and recipes of 25 artists and collaborators based in Scotland with additional guest text contributions, this is not your run of the mill cookbook.

Own Art is a national initiative that makes buying contemporary art and craft affordable by providing interest-free loans for the purchase of original work. Find out how it works if you're curious about buying a piece.


There's an incredible array of performances available to watch online this year.

This has, of course, now been bolstered by the season of pantomime, and though social distancing may have changed the format somewhat, the show must go on!

Check out:

Macrobert Arts Centre are releasing a filmed version of The Magic of Christmas, and if your advent calendar just isn't interactive enough for your liking, then check back every day with Visible FictionsShowcase Scotland, Dundee REP, Aberdeen Performing Arts and the Lyceum for an amazing collection of Christmas tales, with something new appearing every day.

A stocking filler comes in the form of, well, A Wee Stocking Filler from A Play, A Pie, A Pint, a panto of a slightly more grown-up nature.

For some extra Christmas magic, stream the Night Before Christmas, a joint concert from the RSNO and Children's Classic Concerts. Join Dunedin Consort for their Children’s Messiah, specially crafted with little ears in mind and available for 30 days if you can't make it to the livestream on December 22.

You can also join Queen Jesus for a revolutionary queer ritual for these life-changing times.

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival are hosting a New Year’s Eve Gala. Filmed at Assembly Roxy, singer Ali Affleck has curated the evening especially for EJBF, and she will be joined by singers Georgia Cécile and Luca Manning to bring classics from The Great American Songbook straight to your home. Book your ticket.


Our latest playlist is a must-listen, featuring new releases from CHLOBOCOP, the Jellyman's Daughter, Spyres, Rachel Jack and many more. Listen to our December playlist on Spotify.

While you're there, make sure you listen to this year's Scottish Album of the Year, Re-Up by Nova Scotia the Truth.

If you're missing the usual roster of Christmas ceilidhs, order a copy of 21 Years of the Ceilidh Trail from Feis Rois. The Ceilidh Trail is a professional development opportunity for young musicians aged 16-25 who are considering a career in traditional music performance. 2020 marks the 21st anniversary the Ceilidh Trail and despite not being able to mark the occasion in the usual style with a summer of musical performances, Fèis Rois has released a double album featuring music from former Ceilidh Trail participants.

For podcast fans, check out Paragon's episode of RADIOPHRENIA. RADIOPHRENIA is a temporary art radio station, and Paragon, an organisation dedicated to inclusive and accessible music and dance workshops for adults and young people, contributed an adventurous, experimental sonic-collage as part of the programme. There is also the incredible Digging It, a new online Doric radio drama series from North East Arts Touring.

For keen walkers, why not accompany your daily strolls or ambitious hikes with In the open, The Common Guild's series of audio works that have been conceived during lockdown conditions and devised for listening to during daily walks and time outdoors.


Discover some exhibitions to visit this holiday, as well as some activities you can do at home! Please follow the guidance regarding which COVID-19 tier you are in and where you are allowed to visit.

This Winter, Lyth Arts Centre will produce a new drive-in festive experience for all the family to enjoy. Through a projection mapping installation, this exhibition will share Caithness’ amazing Winter and Christmas history. Projected onto the LAC Artists House, sit back in your vehicle and take a journey through Caithness Christmas’ gone by - on until Sunday 20 December.

DIY Art is Edinburgh Art Festival's new free series of activity packs specially designed by artists, inviting you to get creative at home. The instructional creativity kits give insight into an artist's practice, showing how you can use their processes and techniques to create your own unique artwork. More kits are set to be released over the coming weeks - keep an eye on the Edinburgh Art Festival DIY Art page for more details.

Children aged 7-9 can take part in Wee Christmas Sing, a completely free project from NYCOS. Every day at 11am until 23 December, they will reveal a new song and musical game that is all about Christmas or winter. Musicians of all ages can join Tinderbox's Christmas Symphony of a Thousand for a mass online sing and play-along to ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ by Mariah Carey!

2020 Visions asks what the future of our neighbourhoods will be and presents it as a series of scenes in nine sites around the Tron Theatre in Glasgow. Street level windows have been taken over with installations inspired by the stories and ideas of local people who have contributed to the project online and through social media by sharing their hopes and dreams for the future. Part promenade, part treasure hunt, part collective dream, 2020 Visions invites passers-by, city-dwellers, shoppers and neighbours alike to reflect and imagine a brighter future during the darkest week of the winter.

Eden Court's Christmas tree will taking pride of place on the front lawn of the building, with cutting-edge light projections bringing the building to life. If you're in the area, keep an eye out for it!

Luminate artists have created three festive activities for people in care homes to enjoy over the Christmas period. In their latest Luminate@Home film, visual artist Tracy Gorman, writer Lorna Hill, and choreographer Chris Stuart-Wilson guide participants through the activities - creating Christmas mosaics from card and paper, writing (or speaking) your own festive poem, and dancing without having to leave your chair.

We hope this festive period is a great one for all of the creative community. Happy holidays!

This article was published on 16 Dec 2020