Scotland’s political leaders have paid tribute to the country’s emergency service ahead of Christmas Day.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Scots to “reflect on those less fortunate than ourselves”, while Conservative leader Ruth Davidson thanked those who keep “the country ticking over” during the festive period.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said Christmas was a time to “cherish … peace and calm”.
Willie Rennie, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, urged Scots to “reflect on what is important in life” during the holiday.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Christmas is about spending time with those we love, and for thinking about friends and family at home and abroad.
“It is also a time to reflect on those less fortunate than ourselves. So this Christmas, I would encourage everyone to take the time to check on a friend or neighbour who is on their own.”
She added: “We should also remember those working in our emergency services, those keeping our transport network running and the many more who give up time with their loved ones at Christmas in the service of others.”
Scottish Conservative leader Ms Davidson: “I’d like to single out one particular group of people this Christmas – and that’s those people who are going to be working over the Christmas weekend.
“First and foremost that’s the NHS staff, police and emergency services who give up time with their own families in order to make sure ours are safe.
“But it’s also the assistant at the 24-hour petrol station, the pot washer in the hotel kitchen, and the delivery worker on night shift who are out there this weekend, earning a living, keeping the country ticking over. Doing their jobs so we can enjoy our break.
“Often the work they do goes unnoticed or is taken for granted. Perhaps it’s only at Christmas and New Year that the rest of us really see it. So it’s time for a very overdue thank you.”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Christmas is a time of joy and celebration, when many of us get to spend time with those we love. In our fast-paced world we should cherish these days of peace and calm.
“Christmas is also a chance to reflect on where we are as a nation. The constitution remains the defining issue in our politics and the divisions of recent years still remain.
“When our country is facing so many major challenges, now more than ever we need to unite and work together.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “The festive season affords us the opportunity to reflect on what is important in life.
“During the festive season we witness the joy that comes from acts of generosity and we can see that there is much to be celebrated.”