7 surprising royal family Christmas traditions

When it comes to the festive season, every family will have their niche traditions they like to take part in, and that includes the royal family.

The royals definitely have set in stone traditions when it comes to celebrating Christmas including the Queen’s speech which is broadcast every year, but it’s pre-recorded.

There’s some Christmas traditions the royal family follows that will surprise you. Source: Getty

The whole family also gather together in Norfolk at the Sandringham Estate for their festivities every year, and without fail attend a service together at St Mary Magdalene’s Church together on Christmas Day.

However, there are some other traditions the royals partake in that you probably wouldn’t expect, some of there are surprisingly normal too.

Decorating the tree together

While Buckingham Palace is totally decked out for Christmas with lavish decorations and multiple trees, her private residence at Sandringham is far more low-key.

While there are many lavish Christmas decorations at Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s private residence at Sandringham is far more low-key. Source: Getty

Darren McGrady, a former royal chef, previously told Good Housekeeping that the royals have “a large Christmas tree and a large silver artificial tree in the dining room, which is about 30 years old”.

They even like to decorate the trees together, which is something many probably wouldn’t expect from the royals.

Earlier this year, Her Majesty revealed in the documentary, The Queen’s Green Planet, her great-grandchildren love to help with the decorating.

The Queen’s great-grandchildren love to help decorate the Christmas trees. Source: Getty

“Yes, that is always the problem, is the children love knocking those [decorations] off,” she said. “Well my great-grandchildren do, anyway they enjoy themselves.”

If you’re not a fan of silver Christmas trees, you could bring a little royal tradition home with a white tree.

Christmas cards

Yes, we know what you’re thinking – sending out Christmas cards is an extremely obvious tradition.

However, it’s the sheer number of cards the Queen sends out that is unbelievable.

The Queen and Prince Philip decorating their Christmas tree in 1969. Source: Getty

She, along with her husband Prince Philip, send out around 750 cards each year which are always signed with their handwritten signatures.

Her Majesty signs every card with “Elizabeth R”, and the Duke of Edinburgh simply signs “Philip”, along with their official royal cyphers.

The Queen’s Christmas sweet tooth

For many, the festive time of year is when the dreaded sweet tooth creeps out.

The same thing happens to the Queen.

According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, Her Majesty is a “major chocaholic” at Christmas time and particularly loves dark chocolate.

Chocolate-filled Christmas hampers make great presents for people with a sweet tooth.

They don’t open presents on Christmas Day

While many gather around the tree on Christmas Day morning to exchange gifts, the royal family don’t.

Instead, they open gifts on Christmas Eve.

“The royals are of German descent so they weave in German traditions to their celebrations,” former royal chef Darren McGrady told The Express.

“After afternoon tea, they open gifts on Christmas Eve, as is the German tradition.”

The Queen and other members of the royal family will attend a morning service at St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham. Photo: Getty Images

Indeed, the royal family are known to have a very strict routine when it comes to how they spend Christmas Day.

“On Christmas Eve, the royal family lay out their presents on trestle tables and will exchange their gifts at teatime,” the royal website states.

Then, the Queen and other members of the royal family will attend a morning service at St. Mary Magdalene’s Church in Sandringham.

Joke gifts

While people would mostly likely assume members of the royal family would go all out for presents at Christmas time, it’s actually entirely the opposite – they are only supposed to give each other joke gifts.

Notable presents include Prince Harry gifting the Queen an ‘ain’t life a bitch’ bath hat, and Kate Middleton gifting Harry a ‘grow-your-own girlfriend’ kit (of course, this was in the pre-Meghan era).

However, for her first Christmas as a royal in 1981, Princess Diana was not aware of this tradition gifting her then sister-in-law Princess Anne a cashmere sweater, according to The Mirror.

During her first Christmas as a royal, Princess Diana made a rather awkward blunder. Source: Getty

What she got in return wasn’t so nice – a loo-roll holder.

Diana learnt from her blunder though, gifting Fergie a leopard-print bath mat at a future Christmas.

While the presents are clearly meant to be a joke, Prince Charles once received a white leather toilet seat from his sister Anne and ended up loving it.

So much so, the heir to throne now makes sure it comes with him on every overseas royal tour he embarks on.

Film night

Another rather normal activity the royal family partake in after the long day of Christmas festivities is a good ol’ film night, according to PopSugar.

While the royals stick on a movie in their ballroom – yes, that’s right – which we’re guessing is something most people don’t have, it’s a rather normal activity they partake in together, according to PopSugar.

The royal family gather for a film night in the Sandringham Estate ballroom after a long day of Christmas festivities. Source: Getty

After a long day of Christmas festivities, they gather around a screen in the Sandringham ballroom which was previously installed to watch a movie.

Her Majesty leaves her decorations up until February

Most people take their Christmas decorations down by early January, but for the Queen she doesn’t take her’s down until February, according to Architectural Digest.

This is because the monarch stays in Sandringham with Philip until February every year to honour her late father, King George VI, who passed away at the estate in 1952.

Some of the links in this article may return revenue to Yahoo Lifestyle Australia.

Got a story tip or just want to get in touch? Email us at lifestyle.tips@verizonmedia.com

Want more lifestyle and celebrity news? Follow Yahoo Lifestyle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Or sign up to our daily newsletter here.