Christmas in Scotland
Over the years, my husband and I have been invited to and attended many Christmas parties, but the one we went to last year was by far the best. The invitation had a beautiful picture of mist clad mountains and above were the words, “Christmas in Scotland”. At first we thought it was an early Christmas card, but inside was a handwritten formal request from the Earl of Clariegh to come to Glen Clariegh Castle for a Christmas celebration. My husband examined the return address while I read on. Below, in plainer type were the actual location, time and date of the party, as well as a request for us to come in 18th century Scottish costume. My husband finally recognised the address as the home of a couple we knew. The idea sounded original and fun and we decided we would go.
On the evening of the party I thought my husband looked rather dashing in his Scottish costume as I stole a glance at him while we stood on the porch of our friend's house waiting to be let in. Outside, their house looked no different than it did at any Christmas time, so I was hoping we weren't in for a disappointment. At that moment a woman dressed as a servant opened the door and showed us in. She took us into the living room and I was amazed by the transformation into a medieval scene.
All the other furniture had been removed from the room. A huge fireplace, not unlike the kind you would expect to find in an historic Scottish castle, stood against the far wall. It was not lit and did not have a chimney, so I guessed it must have been a prop from a film set. Next to the façade was a beautiful real pine Christmas tree decorated with a garland of artificial holly, red, green and gold plaid ribbon bows, and ornaments in the shape of hunting horns, drums, bagpipes and realistic miniature pheasants, stags and cardinals. A large table divided the room down the middle. It was covered with a plaid table linen cloth matching the bows on the tree.
Our friends emerged dressed as the Scottish Earl of Clariegh and lady of the castle. The servant brought my husband a mug of ale and me a glass of red wine in a pewter goblet. We chatted with our hosts telling them how impressed we were with the decorations. More guests began arriving and soon the room was bustling with people dressed as 18th century Scots.
Dinner was roast beef, leg of lamb, roast duck, mashed potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, carrots and peas and brussel sprouts. The food was excellent and I really couldn't have eaten another bite. As we were finishing up a traditional Scottish music band arrived and started to set up their equipment.
When the table was cleared away our hosts led us in some traditional Scottish songs and dancing. To add to the Scottish flavour of the evening, and to get everyone dancing, our friends had also hired the services of a Scottish dance instructor. Soon nearly everyone was participating and it got so hot from all the laughter and dancing that our host had to open the sliding glass door to the patio to let in some cool air.
My husband and I had such a good time we stayed well past midnight and there were still guests dancing when we left. We thanked our hosts for a wonderful time and said we would be glad to come to Glen Clariegh next year.