Signing Christmas cards (really) early
Like a lot of families, the Windsors like to include a family photo with their season’s greetings – and a bonafide signature from Queen Elizabeth II herself. Politicians and heads of state will get cards signed ‘Elizabeth R.’ (for ‘regina, the Latin word for ‘queen’), while friends will see ‘Elizabeth,’ and her cousins will receive her nickname ‘Lilibet.’ With a whopping 800 cards to mail out, though, the Queen won’t wait until the last minute to work on them. She spends part of her summer holiday in Balmoral signing cards so she doesn’t need to worry about them in the crazy days leading up to Christmas, according to PopSugar.
Accepting BYO whatever
The royals might have their own chefs, but that doesn’t mean they won’t offer a little something for the meal. Prince Charles used to bring a pile of organic food at Christmastime, including plums grown on his estate, former royal chef Darren McGrady told People. Others would bring their own china to eat on. “I had to make sure it went on the right plate,” says McGrady. “The Queen Mum’s was a pattern she had at home and she wanted it for her breakfast. They like the continuity.”
Keeping gifts light
Instead of stressing over finding a thoughtful, best-they-can-afford gift, the royal family tradition is to keep things light on Christmas. They shun expensive gifts in favour of silly ones, but are careful to avoid any gifts that send the wrong message. “The crazier and the more quirky is what they love,” former royal chef Darren McGrady told People. “It’s not about something really amazing or a Cartier watch.” For instance, Prince Harry once gave Queen Elizabeth a shower cap that said “Ain’t life a b*tch” on it, and Kate Middleton reportedly gave her brother-in-law a ‘Grow Your Own Girlfriend’ kit back in 2001 (though to be fair, she also gave him Gucci loafers because “all his shoes have holes in them”).