Christmas fever is well and truly upon us. 

Coronavirus restrictions might mean festive celebrations are not as we may have hoped – but nonetheless there is still some holiday cheer across the country, especially with the Scottish Government-mandated ‘bubbles’ allowing some gatherings. 

But did you know Christmas was once banned in Scotland? 

Yes, really.

No gifts, no Christmas trees, and no Santa Claus coming down the chimney. 

It all came abut during the Protestant reformation in 1640, during which time a law was passed that made celebrating ‘Yule vacations’ illegal. 

According to the National Trust for Scotland, the kirk “frowned upon anything related to Roman Catholicism”, therefore sparking the ban. 

Prior to that time, Christmas in Scotland had been a religious feasting day. 

Wendy Malkin at Historic Environment Scotland said: “the ban on Christmas was officially repealed in 1712, but the church continued to frown upon the festive celebrations. 

“Punishments for celebrating Yule were harsh, and there was no public holiday for the Scottish people on Christmas Day.” 

And in fact, it wasn’t until even after the Second World War in 1958 that December 25 finally became a public holiday in Scotland. 

What was celebrated instead? 

Having no real celebration on December 25 shifted more of a focus onto another holiday widely enjoyed in Scotland – Hogmanay. 

We all know how Scotland loves bringing in the New Year with Auld Lang Syne – with people north of the Border enjoying an additional Bank Holiday on January 2 to reflect the significance of the event. 

Ms Malkin added: “the banishment of Christmas meant that the Scots would focus their celebration around New Year’s Eve (Hogmanay) and the two days that followed, making Hogmanay the large and exciting festival we know it as today.”