Christmas is probably the ultimate family holiday. However, there are different types of families. Or not? How do Royal families celebrate Christmas, for example? Are their traditions the same as ours, like decorating the tree and exchanging gifts?
The English Royals, as usual, are very, very faithful to the etiquette! Their Holidays are organized according to precise and unavoidable commitments, which involve every member of the family and require a strict ritual.
Gifts exchange is on the 24th, and not on the 25th, as the Queen wishes, and they must not be excessively sumptuous. Celebrations begin on Christmas Eve afternoon, when the whole Royal Family gather in the royal residence in Sandringham for tea, and children finish decorating the sumptuous Christmas tree, about 18 meters high. To go to Sandringham, Queen Elizabeth travels on a common train, as hundreds of commuters do everyday, obviously escorted by her bodyguards. On Christmas day, the whole family goes to mass.
The Windsors go to Saint Mary Magdalene church for their private mass and then they attend the official mass at 11AM, along with their subjects.
Lunch is in Sandringham, serving turkey and wild game, followed by the Queen’s speech on TV; in the afternoon, the traditional pheasant hunting takes place before tea, which requires the change of clothes; at night, they all attend an elegant yet sober dinner.
In the Principality of Monaco and in Belgium the royals choose to share the holidays with their subjects, organizing concerts for them, distributing gifts to children, and other convivial events.
The Swedish royals select the Christmas trees that will decorate the royal palace themselves, being the choice itself an occasion for holiday, while the Spanish sovereigns celebrate at the dinner table with typical traditional Spanish dishes, and wait for the Epiphany to unwrap their gifts. They also share their celebrations and joy with their subjects, through the ancient tradition of the Royal Christmas card, with which they send their good wishes to the whole nation.