Renfrew and Johnstone will officially mark the start of the festive season as the Christmas lights in each town are due to be switched on in the coming weeks.

In Renfrew the town’s Robertson Park will host a festive day out for all the family from 12 noon on Saturday 25 November and there’s a sleigh-load of free activities on offer to keep even the littlest elf entertained.

There will be live stage performances from local acts throughout the day, a family funfair in the park, and you can follow our Christmas tree trail to meet Santa in his Grotto and share your Christmas wish lists.

There will be plenty of workshops to get involved in, including Christmas arts and crafts, and there will be a Christmas Market selling seasonal fare.

Renfrewshire Toy Bank will also be in the park until 2.30pm, accepting donations for children across Renfrewshire this festive season.

The day will culminate with the traditional Renfrew Burgh Band carol concert, which will take place in the McMaster Centre at 3.30pm, and a light switch-on moment in the park at 5.00pm with Depute Provost Cathy McEwan and Renfrew’s Christmas Card competition winner.

It’s Johnstone’s turn on Saturday 2 December and Houstoun Square will be transformed into a winter wonderland with a variety of entertainment on offer.

There’ll be entertainment in the bandstand from 1pm with Johnstone Sound and local acts performing live throughout the day.

Santa will be in town to meet the children of Johnstone and discover what they are hoping to find in their stockings this year. You can find him inside his grotto.

Don’t forget to visit the Christmas market – hosted by St Vincent’s Hospice – and get a start on some of your Christmas shopping.

There are activities for all ages with a funfair on site in Houstoun Square and free children’s activities and film showings will be running throughout the day in Station Seven – chosen by the community as part of the #YouDecideJohnstone pilot project.

Over 600 local residents voted as part of #YouDecideJohnstone for activities they’d like to see as part of the event, also choosing free face painting, themed street entertainers to get everyone in the holiday spirit and a giant snow globe for those perfect family photos – so make sure to bring your phones and cameras along to capture the moment.

At 5pm the community will come together at the bandstand as Provost Lorraine Cameron and Johnstone’s Christmas Card competition winner light up Johnstone for the Christmas period.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “I can’t wait to see everyone out celebrating the festive season this year.

“Switching the lights on is always a highlight of my year and I am excited to once again be able to give local children the opportunity to take part in this special moment through my Christmas Card Competition.

“There’s always a great atmosphere in our communities on the day as everyone gets in to the Christmas spirit, and with so much to do in both Renfrew and Johnstone this year it’s a fantastic day out for the whole family.”

Research shows around 70p from every pound spent in the local area stays in the local area and Renfrewshire Council are encouraging visitors to the Christmas events to take part in the Spend Local campaign and support the wide range of businesses on offer in Renfrew and Johnstone town centres.

The council, in partnership with Scotland Loves Local, is giving away Renfrewshire gift cards worth £250 each to 12 lucky winners across the area.

To enter the competition, all you need to do is complete the online entry form or pick up and complete a competition entry postcard at one of our events.

The Renfrewshire Gift Card is easy-to-use and makes sure your money is spent locally – supporting local businesses with every purchase.

Entries to the competition close at 12 noon on Friday 15 December with Renfrewshire’s Provost, Lorraine Cameron, drawing the winners at random on Monday 18 December. To find out more visit