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Charitable donations

The Queen gives money to charities in Windsor, where she often spent Christmas in the past. She also gives trees to schools and churches in Sandringham where she spends Christmas, as well as to St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London, and St Giles' Cathedral and Canongate Kirk in Scotland.

Christmas cards

Sending Christmas cards is very important to all the royals. The Queen and Prince Philip send about 750 cards to family, friends, and members of the government. The Queen actually starts signing the cards during her summer holidays! 97-year-old Prince Philip sends an extra 200 cards to his regiments and charities that he is involved with.

The journey home

Like most of us, the whole family travels to a relative's home to spend Christmas together. The only difference is their destination is a huge castle 100 miles from London. Every year the Queen boards a regular train to get there and prepare for everybody's arrival.

Finish decorating the tree

Although the Queen has a few Christmas trees scattered around her palaces, she always makes sure that the younger members of the royal family gather on Christmas Eve to add the last of the decorations to the family Christmas tree.

Sibling rivalry

Princes William and Harry have a tradition of teaming up with the estate workers to play soccer against the locals. With William being a huge soccer fan and president of the British football association, the game can get a little competitive.

Exchanging gifts

Just like any family, the royals spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect gift. Nothing lavish though, more a token gift with a touch of humor; from shower caps to homemade jam, the emphasis really is on fun.

Christmas Eve dinner

At 8 p.m. sharp, the different families get the opportunity to have a proper catch up over a candle-lit meal. Of course, being a royal means this involves getting dressed to the nines, with men in black tie and ladies in long gowns.

Breakfast in bed

Traditionally, women in the royal household have a light breakfast served to them in bed while the men have a hearty breakfast served downstairs.

Christmas church services

The royals wake early with a private 9 a.m. service where the Queen -- who is head of the Church of England -- will take communion. They then have a tradition of walking to a 16th-century church, St. Mary Magdalene, on the Sandringham estate -- though the Queen is generally driven there -- for an 11 a.m. service shared with the public.

The Queen's speech

After a traditional turkey lunch, at 3 p.m. the family gathers to watch the Queen's televised Christmas message, which is the opportunity for her to share with the nation her personal thoughts about the year that has passed. Over the years the speech, which is written by the Queen herself, has had a more religious tone.

Christmas fun and games

When the royals have finished afternoon tea, they gather to play games such as charades or watch a movie. The Queen apparently also joins in with her own talent of impersonating former heads of state.
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