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Why Royal Families Don't Open Gifts on Christmas Day

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Chris Jackson / Getty Images

On December 25 people around the world will celebrate Christmas with their family traditions. Every family has a slightly different holiday season, and many with traditions handed down for countless generations.

The royal family is no exception to the rules. They also celebrate holidays in the same way as the world breaks … with a few exceptions, of course. Many people want to know why the royal family doesn't open their presents on Christmas day.

Why doesn't the royal family open presents on Christmas Day

The royal family exchanged their gifts on Christmas Eve at tea time, instead of Christmas morning. This royal family tradition began with King George (father of Queen Elizabeth II), who was of German descent. In Germany, prizes are opened on Christmas Eve.

Where does the royal family celebrate Christmas?

The royal family celebrates Christmas at the Queen's residence at Sandringham. The queen arrives earlier than other family members (on December 19 or 20) to oversee the preparation. The rest of the royal family arrived in the morning or Christmas afternoon. This includes Queen's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, as well as extended family members.

What did the royal family do on Christmas Eve?

Queen Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton Queen Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton | Oli Scarff – WPA Pool / Getty Images)

In addition to the exchange of gifts, the royal family enjoyed each other's company on Christmas Eve. It's been a long time that holidays are a time for the royal family to be together without the burden of the world (or England, anyways) on their shoulders.

What did the royal family do on Christmas Day?

Christmas is busy for the royal family. After breakfast, they attend the service at St. Mary Magdelene at Sandringham. When the service is complete, they return home for a traditional party.

Queen Elizabeth II gave her annual Christmas message to all of Great Britain and the Commonwealth Kingdom, which was broadcast on television. The rest of the royal family watched as he gave his speech. At night, everyone enjoys buffet-style food before going to bed at night.

What did the royal family eat for their Christmas meal?

Sources say that the royal family always has the same Christmas food as far as anyone can remember. It never changes. Shrimp or lobster salads are paired with roasted turkey, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. Christmas pudding with brandy butter is served for dessert.

What other annual traditions does the royal family have?

Queen Elizabeth and her corgis Queen Elizabeth II and the status of the Royal Family through Facebook

The queen and her husband traditionally sent more than 750 Christmas cards and also bought Christmas pudding specifically for all their family members (who number in the hundreds). This card displays family photos that we are happy to inform everyone including the grandchildren loved by Queen Elizabeth II (and adorable).

Donations were made by the queen to various charities around Sandringham, and she also provided several Christmas trees. It is also a year for all royal families to show their appreciation to those who served them for the rest of this year.

What's different this year?

Although the royal family (and especially Queen Elizabeth) usually does not get lost from tradition, this year promises to be a little different. Despite a strict "family only" policy on private holiday events, rumors say that the queen gave an invitation to Meghan Markle's mother, Doria Ragland.

Strangely, even Kate Middleton was not allowed to attend before she and Prince William were officially married. Last year, when he was only engaged to Prince Harry, Markle was invited – thus breaking tradition at a later time.

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