A waxing moon is more favorable for the celebration of Christmas in Scotland than is a waning one. No housewife must leave a piece of work unfinished at this season. No one retires before midnight on Christmas Eve, since it is “Open House” for wayfarers. No one is turned away emptyhanded, but all who happen by are served. The fire should not be allowed to go out at night, for bad elves will come down the chimney to dance in the cold ashes. A bonfire, dancing, and music precede the Christmas feast.
On New Year’s Eve it is lucky to have a dark-haired person enter one’s home first after midnight. Whoever does this “firstfooting” must bear a gift. Refreshments are served, including an especially rich pastry known as black bun.