Christmas is that time of year when you go home to your loved ones, stuff yourself with food and *sigh* never learn from the year before and have to go last-minute shopping for presents. That’s how it usually goes for regular families, but have you ever wondered what it’s like spending Christmas as a royal? Turns out, it’s quite ordinary, in many ways, but there are a few traditions that have persisted through the years.
They decorate their Christmas trees
Well, kind of. Queen Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert loved the holidays and are thought of as the ones who spread the custom across the country. Now, Queen Elizabeth isn’t the one actually putting the tree up, but she as well as members of the royal family will put the final touches (baubles and ornaments) on their trees.
Presents are exchanged on Christmas Eve
And it’s not on midnight! The gifts are laid out on trestle tables on December 24, and they exchange them during teatime. But the presents are unlikely to be expensive. Touchingly for people who have everything, the royals tend to buy each other jokey things. The festivities are held at the Queen’s grand country home, Sandringham Estate, in Norfolk. The monarch and her husband Prince Philip usually retreat to the country the week before Christmas, around 21 December, to prepare for the big family get-together.
The Queen gives her staff pudding on Christmas Day
Like her father King George VI and his father George V, it’s tradition for Queen Elizabeth to provide Christmas puddings to her entire staff. 1,500 pudding are reportedly handed out to the staff at the Palace, Court Post Office and the Palace Police.
They attend Church on Christmas morning
On December 25, the royal family gathers to attend the morning service at the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham. This is the event where everyone waits to see how Meghan Markle or Kate Middleton dress for the holidays.
After the service it’s back home for a turkey roast with all the trimmings, before everyone gathers at 3pm to watch the Queen’s Speech. And the staff can relax for the rest of the day, as the family insist on serving themselves their own buffet supper.
There you have it the full itinerary of how the British royal family spends the holidays!