My son will finish a semester in Glasgow at Christmas. I'd love for the whole family to join him for about 2 weeks. I'd like to spend a few days in Edinburgh, then rent a big car (there are 6 of us) and see the countryside. My concerns are low temperatures, driving in snow and few hours of sun. Any advice?
You've already identified the things that would be factors to consider in planning a road trip in northern Scotland at Christmas time:per weather.com the sun will go down at 3:45pm in Glasgow at Christmas, and it doesn't come up until 8:45am! 7 hours of daylight and 17 hours of night. The weather is likely to be gray skies, damp and cool/cold. One more thing about a road trip: Sites in the north country that would be open at other times of the year may be closed or at least have limited opening hours, so you may want to check in advance to avoid disappointment.The good news: the sites that are open won't have lines!
I think it depends on where you go in Scotland. The further north you go the more chance there is of lots of snow.
Why don't you do some online research on weather in different parts of Scotland at that time of year.
I might also suggest reading the Hamish Macbeth mysteries by M. C. Beaton. These are set in the highlands(Sutherland) and the main character is always referring to the low /short light in winter, etc. These books really give you a physical feel of the place.
Of course if you are there through New Year you can celebrate Hogmany. You should look up all the celebrations. It's a big party in Scotland. Of course there is snow and then there is how well does a country deal with snow. I suspect while there may be more snow in the north than in the south, that they are better prepared to deal with it. That certainly the way it is in the US. Here in Wisconsin we know snow. In Missouri you know ice, and in Texas and Florida they can't deal with either. ; )
We went to Scotland for Christmas and the Millennium celebrations.
Christmas was VERY low key - we didn't even open gifts until later in the evening (around 5ish).
Hogmanay - that's a different story! Our host started cooking in the early afternoon, had enough to feed a small army. We rang in the New Year at midnight. All seemed quiet. Then everyone started showing up around 12:20ish - after going to the town celebrations. We partied like it was 2000! Our host said good night around 6:30am - thinking everyone would take the hint and go home! We finally went to bed around 7ish only to do it again for the next 2 nights. By around 3am, we were all gathered in the kitchen and were singing folk songs! I set up the video camera in the corner of the room and let it roll. It is such a fantastic video to watch - we had so much fun.
FWIW - don't worry so much about Christmas. Stay for the New Year!