Santa and ‘Scroggie’ launch Christmas in Edinburgh’s Old Town

Christmas lights switch-on, free family show, mince pies, mulled wine, late -night opening and a Christmas singalong

The Greater Grassmarket Business Improvement District (BID) launches Christmas in the Grassmarket on Thursday 1st December from 7pm with their Christmas lights switch-on display. The event will feature free family-friendly events and carol singing, plus free mince pies and mulled wine. Shops in the area will also be open late for visitors to pick up some unique Christmas gifts.

From 7pm, historical Grassmarket characters such as Half-Hangit Maggie and Ebenezer ‘Scroggie’ – the inspiration for Charles Dickins’ Scrooge character – will join Santa in meeting children and visitors to the event. From 7.15pm, carol singers will perform and visitors will be invited to join in with their Christmas singalong.

From 7.30pm, there will be a free preview show of ‘The History Tour Christmas Special’ by the performance group Theatre Techno Reactivated History Tours. This family-friendly show will feature Half-Hangit Maggie and Scroggie, and will tell the tale of Charles Dickins’ visit to the Grassmarket where, after confusing ‘Meal Man’ with ‘Mean Man’ on Scroggie’s gravestone, he created the character Scrooge from ‘A Christmas Carol’. Santa will then switch on the Greater Grassmarket’s Christmas lights and offer free mulled wine and mince pies to visitors.

A pop-up play based on the Scroggie story will be featured as party of the month-long series of activities and events taking place in the Grassmarket throughout December.

Norrie Stewart, Grassmarket BID Project Manager, says: “The Grassmarket area is such an atmospheric place at Christmas time with so much to offer visitors. With the backdrop of the castle, quaint gift shops and cosy bars and eateries there’s nowhere more welcoming in the city. We’re really excited to launch our festive programme and offer visitors and especially families something really unique in the city for Christmas activities. From shopping and dining to events and decorations we’ve got it covered in the Greater Grassmarket!

Not many people know that Charles Dickins based his Scrooge character on someone who lived in the Grassmarket. So, where better to get in to the Christmas spirit than at the very spot that provided the inspiration for one of the most iconic Christmas characters – but as you’ll find out, it’s not quite the story you’ll expect?”