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The Wester Kittochside Farm at National Museum of Rural Life was owned and run by the Reid family for more than 400 years. From 1937 - 1982 it was owned by the tenth laird James Coats Reid and he married Margaret Gilmour in 1957. Find out how the Reid family celebrated Christmas and New Year on the farm.

Sharing the festivities

After they were married the families of Margaret and James shared the entertaining at Christmas and New Year between Margaret's family home at Oaklea and the Wester Kittochside farm, enjoying traditional festive fayre and pastimes.

Margaret Gilmour married James Reid of Wester Kittochside on 15 October 157 at Burlington House, Glasgow.

Christmas at Oaklea

Christmas was usually spent at Oaklea, Margaret Reid’s family home. This was where Anne, Margaret’s sister and family now lived. James and Margaret enjoyed being with the family and the children. James’s brother John, would also go with them. James would buy a small number of live turkeys, about a dozen and they would be fattened up ready for Christmas for family and neighbours.

View of the front of the present day farmhouse at Wester Kittochside.

Playing games

Games were played at Oaklea, including Cards in the hat throwing game in which players throw playing cards into a hat.  Two or more, equally-sized, teams are created and a hat is placed on the floor, and a mark is determined from where each team member will play. Each team puts forward one team member at a time, and each team plays alternatively, with the youngest in each team playing first.


Two children looking at a Christmas tree in the museum

Christmas Fair at the Farm 2018 © Andy Catlin

Christmas tree

There was always a Christmas tree in the hall at Wester Kittochside, and holly with berries all around. James Reid was very interested in miniature trees and it was one of these that would be brought in from the garden with its roots intact.  Margaret would decorate it and after Christmas, the tree would be planted in the garden.

Miniature trees in the present day Wester Kittochside garden. 

New Year at Wester Kittochside

New Year was celebrated at Wester Kittochside. A traditional meal of steak pie would be enjoyed by all the family at about 6 pm on New Year’s Day.  This would be eaten in the dining room.  Often a game of carpet bowls would be played in the drawing-room.  A carpet runner would be put down and teams were chosen to play against each other.  The carpet bowls were made of porcelain and were later kept by a family member.

Dining room

The oval extended dining table and dining chairs and large sideboard are made of mahogany and date to c.1868, made by Wylie and Lochhead of Glasgow. A traditional Christmas tree is annually erected in the present day dining room.

Kitchen and parlour

The kitchen is part of the extension to the farmhouse, built in 1906. The parlour was the most frequently used room after the kitchen and would have been utilised as both a living room and the farm office.

Christmas fair on the farm

Today Wester Kittochside farm is part of the National Museum of Rural Life the rooms of the Georgian farmhouse are decorated as they would have been in the 1950s. Every December, Christmas is now celebrated at the annual Christmas Fair on the Farm with cute animals, gift stalls, traditional crafts and games, a spot of pantomime and of course Santa.

The farmhouse now hosts traditional parlour games and pomander making by the fire at the annual Christmas Fair at the farm.

Find out more about the 500 years of the Reid family at Wester Kittochside here.

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