New Year’s Eve: Hogmanay ideas for lockdown celebration

It’s going to be a Hogmanay like no other – but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate properly.

While restrictions are being temporarily relaxed on Christmas day, the same can’t be said for New Year’s.

Nicola Sturgeon has previously said that there “cannot be any further relaxation of measures” for New Year’s Eve, so it looks as though we’ll be staying where we are.

But if Scotland has proved anything in the last year, it is that we can adapt to any circumstance.

Here is your definitive guide to celebrating Hogmanay this year:


If there’s one thing we can do normally, it’s eating. Food and drink is a staple in households across Scotland for Hogmanay, and it is certainly something that can remain the same, even with these uncertain times.

A pot of soup to bring in the bells never goes a miss, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that a slow-cooked stew is something of legend at this time of year.

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But while many families would plan to head out for a New Year’s Day meal, this will not be going ahead this year.

Alternatives could include trying out some new recipes at home, and having a New Year’s meal at home. Bake some goodies to bring in the bells with, such as traditional Scots tablet or shortbread.

Zoom have lifted their 40-minute time limit across the New Year period, so set the camera at the bottom of your table and invite however many guests you’d like!

First footing

A tradition throughout Scotland on Hogmanay, the normal act of first footing will certainly be missed this year, but there may be a way to salvage it.

Traditionally, first footing involves the first person who enters the house after midnight bringing gifts. It has been adapted through the years, and some now visit neighbours with a tipple and a song before moving on to the next house.

While we’re not allowed in other people’s houses this year, we can certainly adapt the tradition.

Ask one of your household to draw the short straw and brave the cold just after midnight and emulate a first footing with your immediate bubble. Or, have a virtual first footing, and make sure to call your loved ones and wish them a Happy New Year.


As always, there will be a raft of content available to watch on TV on Hogmanay. The official TV guide has not yet been released, but there’ll likely be old favourites including the likes of Still Game.

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As ever, there will be several Hogmanay specials to help us bring in the bells from the comfort of our own home. Over on BBC One, Susan Calman will be getting ready for Hogmanay 2020 with “a studio of stars”.

Live events

The events that Scotland’s festive season are famed for won’t be going ahead in person this year. However, many are embracing a digital approach for the first time, making it easier for us to enjoy the festivities from our homes.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, which usually takes the form of an incredible street party with live performances and festivities, will instead be heading online. It will bring to life an exciting new piece of writing by award-winning poet and Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, creating Scotland’s first-ever large-scale drone show and the largest drone show ever seen in the UK.

Around 150 drones will create iconic images and words in the Scottish sky set to original words and music by Jackie Kay and Skye’s Niteworks. And Scots actor David Tennant will be leading the line up of narrators for this unique ‘online only’ show.

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