Saturday, 14 December 2013

A Very Royal Christmas

It's that time of year again. The Christmas tree has been decorated, there's a fabulously festive atmosphere in the shops with consumers eager to purchase gifts and soak up the friendly, generous spirit that's in the air. We're making plans to visit loved ones, or to host Christmas get-togethers in our homes; employees are counting down the days and students awaiting completion of exams all in preparation for Christmas Day.

As for the Royal Family, they are certainly no exception when it comes to enjoying the holidays and making the most of what the day is really all about - family. In fact it is one of the very few occasions of the year when so many members of the British Royal Family come together.

The British Monarchy

Of course, with the addition of Prince George, it is going to be a particularly joyful year at the royal estate of Sandringham, where the Royal Family spend Christmas Day annually. It has been widely reported William and Kate's decision to spend their son's first Christmas at The Queen's Norfolk Estate has been met by Her Majesty's great delight.


What's on the agenda for William and Kate? What are their plans? When will we see them next? It all kicks off next week when The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend The Queen's annual  pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace. The traditional event is one of only two events per year in which Her Majesty summons the entire Royal Family to the Palace (some many recall there were rumblings in the press when Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie chose to attend Holly Branson's wedding instead of the lunch in 2011). Invitations to the lunch are extended to minor royals not invited to Sandringham.

The Queen's Pre-Christmas Lunch 2012/Roland Hoskins

We can expect to see arrival photos of the Cambridges as we have in previous years. We don't have a definitive date, but we do know Her Majesty is travelling to Sandringham mid to late next week, so it could quite possibly be early in the week.

The Queen's Pre-Christmas Lunch 2011/Roland Hoskins

The Queen and Prince Philip arriving at Sandringham via train last year.


It has been reported the Cambridges plan to take their staff out for Christmas lunch next week, too. Last year, the couple hired 'The Queen's Room' at local restaurant chain Bumpkin in Notting Hill for 27 members of staff. The group enjoyed a traditional turkey lunch with all the trimmings and Christmas pudding for dessert. Mulled wine was served at the meal, which was described as a 'low-key affair'.

Bumpkin Facebook Page

It is unlikely photos will emerge from the private luncheon, although we could very well hear details. Below we look at a sumptuous Christmas lunch from Bumpkin.

Bumpkin Facebook Page

When packing for Sandringham, Kate will have planned long in advance with the knowledge Christmas Day involves no less than five changes of outfit. From coats and boots for walks, to long gowns and jewels, the Duchess will need to take a number of looks with her. The Duchess of York famously complained about changing seven times during Christmas Day. In 2011, Kate told a guest at an Imperial War Museum engagement she was nervous about the numerous changes.


Royal etiquette expert Jean Brooke-Smith told Grazia magazine:

'Kate will need a casual outfit for breakfast, a smart outfit - and a hat - for the morning church service, a dress for lunch, a cocktail dress for early evening drinks and a full-length dress for the evening meal. The golden rule is nothing too short, too revealing, or too gaudy.'

On Christmas Eve, more than twenty-five royals will join The Queen and Prince Philip at Sandringham. Timed arrivals are very much observed; most junior royals first, most senior royals last - and all are expected to be prompt. Upon arrival, William and Kate will be ushered to their rooms, furnished in the post-war Spartan style, and including two bar electric fires and blankets. By early afternoon, everyone will be in attendance.

Sandringham is a majestic country house on 20,00 acres of land. It has been the private home of four generations of sovereigns since 1862. It has played host to Her Majesty's festivities since the fire at Windsor Castle in 1992, and she remains there from mid-December to February each year. When The Queen or members of the Royal Family are not in residence, the house is open to the public. William and Kate's new country home, Anmer Hall, which is currently undergoing renovations, is on the Sandringham Estate.

Wikipedia

A look at the list of royals who spent Christmas at Sandringham in 2011. There may be slight changes to the list this year, most notably the addition of Prince George.

Mail Online

At 4 p.m., following a change of clothes, the family gathers in the White Drawing Room for Earl Grey tea, cakes, home-made scones and a chat. At this point, The Queen encourages the younger royals to add decorations and finishing touches to the tree - a Norfolk spruce taken from the estate. In fact, The Queen adores Christmas trees and has one in each room. The Master of the Household then gives each member a timetable and room plan, so they know where to be and when, during their stay.

Katherine Rodeghier

The Queen will then give the go ahead for gifts to be presented and opened. They are not opened on Christmas Day, as The Queen adheres to strict observance of the religious festival. Trestle tables are laid out in the nearby Red Drawing Room, with sections marked off showing each family member's gifts, laid out in order of precedence.

What do you give the family that has everything? Princess Diana realised very early on that giving gifts to family was far more complicated than she initially thought. Generously gifting luxury items including cashmere, she soon discovered the key to the perfect present lay in 'the cheaper, the better'. For example, Prince Harry reportedly once gave his grandmother a shower hat with the slogan 'Ain't life a bitch on it'. Kate is said to have given jars of her home-made strawberry jam, plum reserve and photo frames as presents. Simple gifts the family would have appreciated, I'm sure.

Pinterest

Afterwards they will all move through to the hall for Martinis and cider. Then it's back to their rooms for baths and another change of clothes. After a gong at 8 p.m. (yes, start thinking scenes from Downton Abbey) guests emerge for dinner. Men will be dressed in black tie, while the women will be draped in full-length gowns and dazzling jewels. This could be a perfect occasion to bring back the stunning lace Alexander McQueen gown she wore to the annual Diplomatic Reception. Of course, we won't see it again, but it is simply ideal.


Pre-drinks will be served before the royals enjoy a candlelit three-course meal which will most likely consist of lamb or locally sourced game. Once dinner is finished, the women move to another room for coffee, whilst the men enjoy liqueurs. That concludes Christmas eve, at which point the royals will be off for a good night's sleep before the day ahead.

Christmas Day at Sandringham means a bright and early start. No doubt William and Kate will spend the morning with George before joining the others for the annual walk to St. Mary Magdalene Church, located on the estate. A crowd of locals will wait outside the church  handing flowers to the royals and hoping to speak with them for a moment or two. This year, locals are said to be hugely excited and hope to see the little prince. I think this highly unlikely, unfortunately, but George will join his parents for the church walk when he gets older.


When the royals return to the house it is yet another outfit change before they all sit down for Christmas lunch at 1.15 p.m. Norfolk turkey, accompanied by a selection of cold meats and a variety of side dishes are served. It's an incredibly busy and drawn out affair for staff (once again, think Downton Abbey) with junior staff eating their lunch at 11 am, and the royal chef the last to eat at 4 p.m.

At precisely 3pm the family gathers round to watch The Queen's Christmas message. This year, Her Majesty's speech should include clips of the christening and possibly - just possibly - a shot from the Diplomatic Reception. You can find out more information on the Christmas broadcast at the Monarchy's official website and view Her Majesty's 2012 message here.

The British Monarchy

In the afternoon, the family go for long walks with the dogs. Kate will quite likely take George in his Silver Cross stroller. Similarly to families all around the world, the evening will consist of board games and television. This year's television schedule includes Downton Abbey, Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing specials. I do wonder what the Windsor clan will tune in to!


Boxing Day begins with a kedgeree breakfast and the annual pheasant shoot on the estate, with the men shooting and the women picking up the birds. I believe it is at this point the Middleton family will join the Royal Family.

It has been reported in the press that Kate's family have been invited by The Queen to spend Christmas Day in Norfolk, but according to royal reporter Richard Palmer this is unlikely. He added, if Carole Middleton emerges alongside The Queen to drive to the church he will cartwheel naked down the path. Luckily for Richard, I don't believe it will be necessary.

After Boxing Day, I expect William, Kate and George will return to Bucklebury, Berkshire with the Middletons where they will ring in the New Year. The couple spent last Christmas with the Middleton family and will possibly continue to alternate in the future. It's important for them to include both families and to forge their own path within the Royal Family.


Now we've looked at the Royal Family's Christmas, please feel free to share your plans and traditions. We're very lucky to have a diverse readership from around the world. Personally, my fiancé and I are spending Christmas with my family and we're looking forward to a traditional, relaxing and fun time when we can reflect on the year and enjoy down time together.

Christmas classics such as It's a Wonderful Life and childhood go-to movies including The Santa Claus will be the order of the day with a Church service, long walk with the dogs, and Christmas lunch beforehand. From my fiancé's stuffing to my sisters rather moist mashed potatoes (I love them really sis) it promises to be a wonderful lunch and a terrific Christmas. The evening will consist of drinks, board games and television (including a couple of the aforementioned specials). I'm very much looking forward to it!



How will you and your family mark the day?

100 comments:

  1. Thank you that you share with us all the news.
    Very timely blog.
    Thanks and best regards!!

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  2. Great post. Confused about the outfits change (which seems fun but tiresome - especially for Kate with a baby!). It mentions Fergie complained about 7 changes on Christmas but it seems there are just breakfast, church walk, the meal and maybe something for television. Do all of the Christmas Eve festivities count as part of Christmas Day? Wish we could see pictures! Happy holidays!!
    -LL

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  3. Wow! That took quite some research and was beautifully written! My Christmas will be a bit different this year as my nephew was born the 23rd. My husband and I will be spending the 23rd and 24th with his family, and then the night of the 24th we will spend with my grandparents with the entire family coming over on the 25th. I can't wait! Happy Holidays from Kentucky! Jennifer

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  4. As children, we were always in a very elaborate Christmas pageant at church with even more elaborate costumes. The wise men wore old Mardi Gras robes. Lots of Shakespearean prose. Our family alternated Christmases between the country and the city with our cousins, and we had Cedar trees that scratched like mad but were cut from family land. It was magical. Even after I married and moved away, we spent Christmas with both sets of parents because they lived in the same place. We attended Christmas Eve services and had a full dinner, went to my husband's grandmother's for dessert and eggnog with flavoring aka whiskey, and went to breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner with various family members the next day. At some point on Christmas Day, we opened presents.

    When my parents were gone, we started hosting Christmas and varying things a bit. Now, we have Christmas Eve with our godchildren's paternal grandparents ( a Spanish meal), lunch with my best friend's family the next day, and dinner at Disney World with our godchildren's maternal family. Then the day after Christmas, we host our godchildren and their family for dinner, stockings, gift giving, and hymn singing. But this varied last year. Each year, things evolve as people age... new people are added and old ones join the celebration in Heaven. The greatest compliment I ever received was when our godchildren were asked to write about their Christmas traditions, and they wrote about the things we do at our home. My parents' wonderful Christmases live on in that way!

    And it is funny, people get as excited opening the presents I wrap up in the stockings as they do opening their "big" gifts. It truly is the little things that count. And we always enjoy the corny jokes from the annual Christmas crackers! I started that when they started appearing in American department stores, maybe 20-25 years ago.

    I would love to dress five times on Christmas as I am a good Southern girl, and as such, I love tradition!

    xo

    Sheila

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    1. We just do Christmas stockings in our family, as they are so much fun! And crackers for Christmas lunch.

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  5. PS... I loved reading every word of your well written post. Thank you so much, and a Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    I think I might add a new tradition this year. I always listen to the Queen's message in recent years via internet. I think I will play it for our godchildren, too.

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  6. Rose from Montreal, Canada14 December 2013 at 13:17

    Thanks Charlotte for all your hard work. Wow! If you love clothes this would be a perfect opportunity to really indulge. This will be a wonderful opportunity for them all to interact with Prince George. Just imagine he will be five months by then. How time flies. Wishing all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

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  7. Charlotte--thanks for the post after a busy week of exams---glad they went well.
    I suppose changing your clothes 5 or 6 times is not too bad when you don't have to do the washing up or the cooking.
    Customs are different in different homes aren't they? I do the big Christmas dinner about 8pm Christmas Eve and there's a sort of running buffet all Christmas day!
    It does seem odd to give each family group a definite arrival time---but I suppose it would be hard to cope if they all arrived together. In 2011 it was said to have been a problem fitting them all in---so probably even worse now with 2 extra babies.
    By the way--Congrats to Prince Harry and his great bunch of international, injured ex-serviceman who reached the South pole yesterday.
    Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and a New Year filled with Charlotte's fantastic blogs

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  8. I enjoyed reading this article very much. Thank you for posting and Merry Christmas to everyone.

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  9. Wow! I can't believe all the outfit changes involved! Is little George required to change outfits?

    My Christmas is thankfully much more relaxing! We spend Christmas Eve with my family, while Christmas day is spent lounging in our pajamas and opening gifts. We eventually get changed and join my husband's extended family for dinner and drinks.

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  10. Goodness, how busy Christmas is for the Royal Family. We usually spend Christmas on our own until later in the day when we join up with family for a wonderful feast and visit with the children --there are 6 grandchildren and mix in with Christmas, 3 birthdays including my own and we have lots and lots to celebrate.

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  11. I love Christmas traditions. I love that each family has its own, and that they change as families grow! We always sleep at my parents house with our kids, and start our morning with gift opening and cinnamon rolls as fluffy as clouds. We play and chat until it warms up enough to go outside. (I'm in Minnesota) we go sledding, skiing, and for frozen walks across the lake. We come back in for hot chocolate and coffee with Bailey's. It really is the perfect day. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

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  12. Loved this post describing the royal Christmas. Fascinating!! I have not commented before, but have been following for some time. We will go to Christmas Eve services then come home and open gifts before my husband reports to work. The kids and I will spend christmas afternoon with extended family. This will be my baby's first christmas. She was born just a few days after Prince George. Merry Christmas!

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  13. My husband is working until noon and then after will go see the town parade and go a walk and then have christmas dinner and open presents last. Its just my husband and I so its a very small intimate day. But I'm a preschool teacher so all week its chaos in our classroom with santa visiting, a christmas feast and lots of anow angels!

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  14. bluhare in Washington State14 December 2013 at 17:38

    Lovely post, Charlotte.

    I have a niece who was born a couple of days before Christmas, and her mother died suddenly and unexpectedly two years ago two days before her birthday. It was just awful. Anyway, if she and her dad do not have plans Christmas Eve (my husband's family is very scattered) we are having them here. Husband's family celebrated Christmas Eve as well. We used to have as many of them as could come on Christmas Eve, but we're too far away for that now.

    My family's always celebrated Christmas Day, and we'll go to my sister's for brunch, and my mom's for Christmas dinner and presents. We have never had a Christmas where we don't have crackers at dinner, and I really should search the archives and see how many photos I can find!! And we have exactly zero dress changes! :)

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  15. What a great and interesting post Charlotte! I hope they have the happier first Christmas with George. God bless them! Happy Christmas to you too and all your readers!

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  16. I think it is quite sensible to have so many outfit changes. I quite often say I can't do something because I am wearing the wrong clothes when I could have just simply changed my clothes!
    The Queen is so fit for her age - keeping so active is the secret and all those changes of clothes can only have contributed to that mental and physical agility.

    For the first time in years, I am not cooking this year. I have been invited out to my brothe-in-law's house. His wife, his two girls, my husband and our 3 children will be there along with the grandparents. So it should be a rather lively affair.

    Menu will include a home-reared turkey, ham, spiced beef (a local Cork/Irish tradition), veg, roast spuds (Cork-speak for potatoes) followed by a flaming plum pudding & brandy butter, Sherry Trifle and local cheeses!

    Charlotte, I love logging into the blog. I'm still sewing and copying Kate's dresses.

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  17. Thanks for another wonderfully informative post, Charlotte. I'm *so* glad that our family Christmas tradition doesn't include five clothing changes!

    It will be a very bittersweet Christmas when 22 of us gather at my dad's on the 22nd. It's the first Christmas without my mom and her birthday was Christmas day, which makes it a double whammy. :o( But we'll continue with our years-long tradition of eating lasagna for the meal, along with several kinds of Norwegian Christmas delicacies...lefse is my favorite! The meal is followed by gift opening, game playing (and, for some, napping!). Then my immediate family will be at our house on the 25th for a turkey dinner followed by a reading of the Christmas story from Luke and gift opening.

    I hope you have a very happy Christmas, Charlotte! Merry Christmas, Duchess Kate readers!
    Julie

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    1. Kristin, San Francisco15 December 2013 at 19:39

      Hello Julie - Oh My Goodness!!! We share some of the best holiday things!!! Being half Norwegian I make lefse as well - one can roll them up with butter/sugar/cinnamon combo - I also heat them & serve them with a slow cooked apple, cranberry, walnut, spiced combo, folded & topped with hand whipped cream. This year will try the plain Greek yogurt.....What caught my eye was the lasagna - I did the same thing for years.

      I lost my dad on the 17th, most years I do OK, I remind myself that they are with us always....it's a good cry.

      Thank you to all posters - I love reading the comment section and different perspectives on our Duchess (and some other topics as well!!!)

      Charlotte - thank you kindly for your efforts and for educating us history-wise and people-wise throughout the year...

      Happy Holidays and a prosperous and healthful New Year to all !!!

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    2. Kristin, that's too funny - I'm also half Norwegian! :o) Like your ideas re: ways to serve lefse. A friend of mine, who just went to Norway, said she was served lefse with a butter/sugar/sour cream combo.

      This year at our celebration at my dad's, we'll be lighting a candle (with a cardinal on the holder) in memory of Mom. My <3 goes out to everyone missing loved ones at this time of year...

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  18. hello,
    thanks for your post! :)
    Do you think we will finally see a christmas card from Will+Kate?

    CU Amy

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  19. It sounds very festive but I can't help think about all the staff who have to spend Christmas away from their own families so they can serve the royal family.

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  20. It sounds very festive but I can't help think about all the staff who have to spend Christmas away from their own families so they can serve the royal family.

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  21. Jules from Germany14 December 2013 at 21:36

    Thank you, Charlotte, for this very beautifully written post, though I do not quite agree about the festive atmosphere in the shops. I always find it rather exhausting and oversaturating in town and all those people celebrating Christmas even though it's not there yet. But that's maybe just me and I am sure I am considered a bit old-fashioned for that opinion, even though I am not old =)
    Anyway, of course I am very much looking forwar to Christmas! I wonder if the Royals only lay out their presents at Christmas Eve, but not open them, when will they actually open them? I suppose Christmas Day, but I couldn't find that information in your post.
    Coming from a christian family we have a rather simple/poor dinner at Christmas Eve: cold potatoe salad with sausages and herring salad. The festive meal is on Christmas Day and it's a lunch. We always have a goose, dumplings (made of grated potatoes) and red cabbage. But unlike the Royal Familly we are lucky to open our gifts at Christmas Eve =) We call the Boxing Day Second Christmas Day and with the First Christmas Day this is the time where we visit the extended familiy such as cousins, aunts and uncles as we spend Christmas Eve only with very close family.
    Looking forward to read all your Christmas plans!
    Enjoy the 3rd Sunday in Advent!
    Love from Germany, Jules

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  22. Thank you so much, dear Charlotte, for your detailled post. My family and i will spend Christmas differently this year- on the 24th in the late afternoon we will be landing at Kilimanjaro airport and will be staying in the Serengeti for two weeks. In our tent in the bush i will think of William who had proposed to Kate in Africa. Wish you all a merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year

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  23. Thank you for this wonderful post. It's so informative, and rings of Christmas spirit. I am currently pregnant, and my husband and I are planning a quiet Christmas as a two-some, including his fabulous Christmas dinner, watching favorite movies, and enjoying our Christmas decorations. Next Christmas will be different! Happy Christmas from Seattle!

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  24. Hello and Merry Xmas! Obviously, being from Down Under, it's summer here so our traditions are a bit different thanks to the wonderful summer weather! We travel to our family each year the night before. Cocktails and nibbles and sometimes a bbq is that night's agenda. We open presents early on the day, sometimes still in our pj's! Breakfast or brunch is fairly casual, lunch or the evening meal being the big deal for the day. Some years we've had lunch as a big yummy picnic on the beach....dinner can range from turkey maybe lamb and definetly ham to lots of seafood like prawns, lobster, whitebait, oysters to fresh salads and chargrilled veges and then there's the desserts! Pavolas, berries, trifle is still a big deal here, chocolate logs, the last few years however I've been making tiramasu . Kiwis just love seafood and fresh summer foods at Xmas. It remains a day mostly for family but we often visit close friends nearby too. Actually movies, games and charades often happen as well. Then its leftovers all day Boxing Day and the big pack up to start heading away for New Years to somewhere out of the city to somewhere near the water! Sigh, next to Xmas day itself that is the time of year I look forward to the most..summer holidays! Happy Holidays to everyone and thanks to you for this great blog -I'll be keeping an eye out over Xmas!

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  25. What a wonderful post!

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  26. Very interesting read! Thank you for all your research, Charlotte. Their Christmas sounds elegant and luxurious… one I would love to experience (but not every year, I think). I never imagined it was so structured!

    Usually my husband has had to work on Christmas, but this year he doesn't. With two young children, I am especially looking forward to Christmas morning - reading the Christmas story, opening presents, playing games, and just relaxing as a family. I honestly haven't even thought of what to make for Christmas dinner. I guess that part just isn't that important to our nuclear family this year. The two days prior to Christmas will probably be spent with extended family and also celebrating my birthday! This month, leading up to Christmas, we have enjoyed our traditions of making a Gingerbread House with our daughters, doing daily advent readings, and daily "24 Chocolate Days 'til Christmas" countdown from Trader Joe's (my favorite store). I'm looking forward to reading others' traditions. :)
    Victoria, Oregon

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  27. Beautifully written indeed. Thank you, Charlotte. I don't think I've *ever* read a more detailed description of the royal family's Christmas traditions. I wish you a wonderful holiday with your fiancé and family. :)


    I'm excited about W&K's first Christmas with George and I would *love* to see her recycle the teal coat with black beading that she wore when she visited the Baker St tube station with the Queen and Prince Philip. Given all the changes required, I'm sure W&K will enjoy spending New Year's with her side of the family. Lol.

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  28. It's just the two of us. No children, which is okay most of the time. My husband has no extended family and mine are all over 700 miles away. I get very lonely at Christmas. I had a large extended family growing up and we had Christmas with my Grandmother -- very traditional in New England. I'm hoping all this will change in the future, but for now, we make the best of it. We had a wonderful Church service, too growing up but not here. I won't mention where I am. I do not want to be critical, but some parts of this country are just not as hospitable as others. Outsiders are not invited to family gatherings, and it is very hard for people who are not from there. Anyway, we do love God and remember his birth and do advent candles and have lovely decorations. On boxing Day my best friend here and her husband come for scones and tea. And that is nice. I'd like to hear from others who are in similar circumstances and what you do. We will watch some Christmas programs. I'm very much looking forward to Downton Abbey in the new year. I am an avid fan.

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    1. We are in the same boat as you and your husband. No family for 1000 miles. We used to have an open house on Christmas Eve but we decided that the money would be better spent on children & grandchildren. Next year we have promised ourselves we will travel for Christmas to see the little ones but for this year it will be us and Church. Merry Christmas from the USA! Love this blog and all the comments.

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    2. bluhare in Washington State16 December 2013 at 17:18

      Are you in the Pacific NW, Anonymous? I've read plenty of articles by new arrivals about how polite, yet not very friendly, the locals are. I would invite you to ours; no one who doesn't want to be should be alone at Christmas.

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  29. The DM has chimed in on W&K's Christmas plans as well (among other things...)...

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2523804/Kate-goes-solo-Its-accident-pictures-Duchess-appears-William-Today-reveal-carefully-choreographed-Royal-masterplan.html

    I'm not sure what to think of the latest tweak regarding the Middleton's appearance (or not!) at Sandringham. I never believed they would be overnight guests (not until W&K are able to stay at Amner Hall), but whether or not they make any appearance at some point...who knows. The DM has written so many Christmas stories over the years that it's difficult to keep up. I guess I'm leaning towards it not happening and, unfortunately, it would only fuel some of the negative stories that are written about them. Besides, it does seem far more realistic that W&K will join them for the second part of the holidays. Splitting holidays is a modern reality and I give William credit for loving his wife enough to understand that she has a family too.

    Also, I was not surprised to read that Kate will play a larger role in the RF (though I can see this curdling Camilla's eggnog). Perhaps they *will* wait until 2015 to give George a sibling...but whatever happens, I think it's safe to say that we're in for some interesting reading in the years to come!

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    1. bluhare in Washington State16 December 2013 at 17:16

      LOL on curdling Camilla's eggnog, royalfan!!

      As you may have surmised, I have an opinion. I think the Middletons wanted to be there at Christmas, as it appears they did last year as well. I don't blame them, really, as one of the things I would hate if I married into the RF is having to give up my family for the RF. That being said, the Queen's too old to change now. And if the Middletons get an invitation to Sandringham, then the other in laws should be invited as well. It would be poor form not to. That being said, I continue to be amazed at the Middletons' brashness at making their desire to be there public. We all know the Queen didn't.

      Kate should stake out a place for herself. Pretty much my criticism of her comes down to this, and I hope that she does. The RF depend on public opinion for survival, and if Kate is perceived as a dilettante (which, frankly, has been my opinion to date) that won't do much in that department. I think William does call the shots in their house, and I'm glad to see either she's no longer listening or he's going along. (And I truly hope she's no longer listening!)

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    2. RF, that's very interesting about Kate playing a larger role. I'm taking that to mean she's been told she has to undertake a full-time schedule of engagements and events or at least much busier than she has since 2011?
      I'm thinking Queen Elizabeth II may have put her foot down with William and Kate and simply told them they have to get to work on behalf of the Firm.
      William said that he asked for a "settling in" period for himself and for Kate after the wedding and they've certainly been given that.
      While I don't believe all the tabloid stories, I think when something appears time and time again in more or less the same fashion, there has to be a kernel of truth and it's long been reported that Camilla has been critical of Kate's relatively light royal calendar of engagements.
      I'm wondering if maybe Camilla had a voice or some influence in Kate being told to get busy. Camilla is said to have become a favorite with the queen, for the way she handles Charles and for the way she's taken on a busy schedule of royal duties.
      I have to agree, I'd be surprised to see another royal pregnancy announcement much before the end of of 2014 and even into 2015. And you said it best - we are in for some interesting reading in the years to come!!
      As for the Middletons, I would expect someone from their camp may have fed a reporter that rumor in the hopes that public opinion might sway the queen to letting the Middletons attend Christmas at Sandringham.
      But protocol is protocol and I never thought for a minute that any special exception would be made for Kate's family when it hasn't been made for the families of other royals, including Camilla's children and grandchildren.

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    3. bluhare, I'm glad you appreciated my reference to eggnog. :)


      Regarding the Middleton's being invited to Sandringham (or not), don't you think it's possible that the press is stirring things up yet again and making them out to be pushy? (Something they seem to enjoy doing to this successful family.) In comparison, I have never heard anyone complain about Sophie's father living with her and Edward, or Camilla's father (now deceased) moving into CH even before C&C married. IMO the Middleton's are simply involved in their children's lives and enjoy a close relationship with them.


      And as far as Kate needing to stake out a place for herself is concerned, she has been doing so, but I do not believe that she or William have had *total* control over how much of a role they play in the RF. Considering how well Diana's success was received (and she was married to the direct heir--Kate is not), I don't see the Windsor's being too keen on a repeat of her popularity. They have to concentrate on selling Camilla to the public. And to her credit, Kate has been extremely careful to avoid stepping on any royal toes.


      And Regina, Camilla may plant negative comments about Kate's schedule in the sympathetic ear of some journalists (that I believe), but I do not think for one minute that Camilla actually wants her to become a more active member of the firm. Why would she encourage the competition that W&K's star power generates? There's no advantage for Camilla. The only advantage she stands to gain is to have Kate seen as work shy (something she herself was accused of when she married Charles. Amazing how much her profile has been stepped up since Kate came into the picture!)

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    4. It is an interesting idea that Camilla is critical of Kate and her schedule - I wonder how true it is. Camilla did not raise children as a royal - she was a stay at home wife - well that might not be quite accurate, because her kids were 12 and 8 when she began running around with Charles again - so she wasn't actually staying at home. But I don't know if we all would call that "work". It was smart of Kate and William to plan a house so near Sandringham to have the Middletons close by during the holidays. In the future, they won't have to rush from in-law to in-law - in different towns. They can do the formal holiday with the Monarch as required but then simply go to their own estate to relax with the other set of grandparents. I don't know why the other in-laws didn't think of it - or perhaps they do rent cottages nearby.

      Delete
    5. bluhare in Washington State18 December 2013 at 17:23

      royalfan, I'll answer in order:

      The Middletons. I agree with most of what you said and the press could be stirring things up. I have no issue with a parent living with their child as Sophie's dad does. I think it's lovely actually. But we never hear about Mr. Rhys Jones getting deals with Range Rover, getting comped (or semi comped) trips to Mustique, wanting to go on tour with Sophie or Edward to take care of the children . . . you get my drift. That's the crux of my issue with Kate's family. They appear to be cashing in at an alarming rate. Believe it or not, I like Kate (and her dad) the most in that family.

      I do think Kate and William have had total control over their work lives since their marriage. I don't recall reading anywhere that they were not allowed to work more than they are. If she's trying to step out of that mode, I applaud her, I really do. Hilary Mantel was right; she has been put on display as a doll-like mannequin. It sounds awful to read, but Kate has been totally devoid of personality and I, for one, would really like to see Kate the Woman and what she is made of.

      Delete
    6. bluhare, I don't intend for this comment to come across as rude or cold to anyone here, but I can't imagine that anyone would really care enough about Sophie and Edward's holidays to question whether her father joined them. And it's quite possible that he has; I think Sophie sort of took him under her wing after her mother died and that *is* nice. But the private lives of S&E have never been at the top of anyone's "I have to know" list. They have never generated the level of interest that W&K do.

      And I don't know about any "deals" that the Middleton's may have taken advantage of and I do take much of what is written about them with a grain of salt. But it's important to note that they are business people and networking is a reality in their lives. (In comparison, Sophie's father was a tire salesman and her mother was a secretary, I believe). Party Pieces has been involved with charities for many years and we don't know all the details of any given transaction (such as a new car). What if they *do* pay less for a Range Rover and donate the rest to a charity? It is possible, but I doubt the DM would share that particular headline.

      And I honestly don't believe that W&K have *complete* control over how public/active they are. It may be increasing, yes, but I don't see them calling *all* the shots...not without a nod from CH and BP. Like I said before, the main goal is to sell Camilla as the next Queen standing beside King Charles....a goal that isn't exactly facilitated by a stronger W&K presence.

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    7. Very interesting about how a stronger W&K presence could be a "threat" (maybe I'm using too strong of a word here) to the popularity of Charles & Camilla. There are so many things we don't know for sure, and it's interesting to guess why things are the way they are. Thanks for the great comments.
      Victoria, Oregon

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    8. Victoria, it's not too strong of a word. Unlike some men who recognize that if their wife shines, it reflects positively on them, Charles resented Diana's popularity. During walkabouts, for example, he would make comments like I wish I had two wives so they can each walk down one side of the street (because everyone wanted to see his young wife). Legitimate sources have confirmed these feelings on his part.

      I think of W&K's popularity as KARMA.

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  30. I go to church on Christmas Eve and then to friends' afterwards. On Christmas Day, I'll make clam chowder in the crockpot and take the dogs for a long walk on the beach. Sometimes brothers and sisters come here and sometimes I go to their homes.

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  31. A fun and informative post! Thank you, and happy Christmas!

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  32. Emily J, sm village IL15 December 2013 at 02:12

    What a great post! One of my favorites as of late! As my family gets older my plans are not alway the same. but the next 2 weeks.r a busy one for me. After I get off work my son has his 1st christmass piano recictal, then he has the church recictal, and lastly my work christmas party. I am server at a family resturant and pub so its open bar! But I have a busy monday, so I cant stay out tooo late :)
    Merry Christmas to Everyone in this community of like spirts !

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  33. I've never posted but have been enjoying this blog since earlier this year. I truly enjoy it and am very appreciative of all of the time and effort it takes to make it so interesting. As an American Anglophile, I thank you, Charlotte, for all that you do. I hope you and your family have an absolutely wonderful holiday season.

    Jennifer
    Alexandria, Virginia, United States

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  34. I've never been a real fan of Christmas and now with my parents gone, I'm even less of a fan. Since I've no immediate family, I'll spend Christmas Eve doing things around the house or relaxing in front of the TV with a beer or two. Christmas Day, for me - and many others, is simply a day off to rest and relax.
    The ornate and highly-ritualized royal Christmas at Sandringham has always fascinated me. I remember Diana saying that she loathed it, the formality and the pressure. To be truthful, it doesn't sound like the most relaxing of Christmases. But the schedule, and especially the 18th and 19th-century quality of the events, the dressing gong, the platoons of servants, the multiple wardrobe changes, the epic protocol, is very interesting.
    I think that the really good, credible royal writer Victoria Arbiter recently did a rundown of Christmas at Sandringham and mentioned the bit about the Middletons not being invited. Victoria, whose father worked for Queen Elizabeth II and who actually lived in Kensington Palace while her father was in service, noted that Beatrice and Eugenie haven't spent a Christmas Day with their mother, Sarah, in over 10 years and she also mentioned that Camilla's children and grandchildren are not included in the events at Sandringham.
    She also mentioned that Sandringham, for all that it is a castle, is a home as well and when all the royals are in residence, there simply isn't room to fit in all the in-laws, etc. I don't think it hurts for Kate and William - and Carole Middleton - to be reminded occasionally that the queen still is the queen and she still is in charge.
    What I don't understand is the really mean, snarky tone I detect almost every time that Beatrice and Eugenie are mentioned now. As far as the curtsy business, royal protocol is royal protocol and Beatrice and Eugenie are princesses of the blood. And it's only when William is not with Kate, which is not very often nowadays.
    The princesses and Kate were friends before the engagement and marriage and Harry, at least, seems to have remained friends with his cousins, they've been spotted out clubbing together. They both seem very pleasant in all the interviews they've given.
    It just seems a little odd - and a lot hypocritical - that the people who cry when anyone dares utter a word critical of Kate or her clothing or hair or her absence or presence at events turn around and do the very same thing to Beatrice and Eugenie.

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  35. Our Veterans of Foreign Wars Post (VFW) will again make up and deliver about 250 Christmas Food Baskets to local families pre-screened by our local social services and other needy individuals during Christmas Eve. These baskets, which in some cases are accompanied by donated toys for youngsters, provide food for approximately 45 to 60 days. After the deliveries our family attends Christmas Midnight Mass for the real meaning of the holiday, and then gets ready for the arrival of Santa and Christmas morning.
    Merry Christmas Charlotte and our wish for you is a nice and quiet Christmas with all your family, friends, and lots of love and certainly with lots of presents.
    J & J East TN

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  36. Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!
    Bring you Good wishes of happiness.

    Sorry for greeting you earlier,, just don't want miss saying this.
    By the way, I'm clotee. It's my first time visiting your blog. I am blogger too, and now try my best luck to open an e-store. Nice to know you.

    Regards,
    Clotee

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  37. Thank you, Charlotte, for remembering us graduate students in the desperate throes of finals and applications week! Your post embodies all of the good cheer and cozy traditions that I can't wait to indulge in after one more intense week.

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  38. We do every other year with each family, and it is always appreciated in order to plan ahead. Thank you for all your work on this page!

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  39. Thank you so much, Charlotte, for this wonderful post! I enjoyed EVERY single detail!!!
    In Germany, we also receive and give our presents on the evening of the 24th of December which is called (if you translate it literally) "Holy Evening". In my family, we eat first a rather "small" meal of small puffed pastry pieces filled with meat and vegetables, then the candles on the Xmas tree are lightened up (we still have real candles!). After about half an hour during which we are rather quiet (it´s the time for everyone to "calm down" and embrace the spirit of Christmas, symbolized by the Christmas tree with its burning candles and lovely Christmas tree decorations - a rather breathtaking view, to be honest....) we open the presents which are lying under the Xmas tree. On the next day, we have a larger meal during lunch time, followed by coffee and traditional christmas cakes and biscuits at around 4p.m. The rest of the day plus the next day are usually spent quietly, with a nice walk if the weather does permit it. Like all children, my daughter can´t wait to open all the presents!

    I hope that we can all spend the holidays with our loved ones and that it will be a peaceful time......

    Merry Christmas to everyone!

    Charlotte, I hope you will be able to spend a very lovely Christmas time and that you will have lots of time to rest and recuperate!!
    Eve from Germany

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  40. Merry Christmas to all ! :)

    Love this blog.

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  41. Greetings everyone,

    Being Mexican-American my family and I mix a bit of both sides of our culture. On Christmas eve we prepare a "mini" thanksgiving feast and open the presents that night. On Christmas day we wake up late and for lunch we have Tamales with Champurado (its a hot chocolate drink mix with flour and spices) its actually very good :)

    Happy Holidays

    -Sandra from El Paso Texas

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  42. I am lucky enough to have four children. Three of them are in their early 30's and my youngest is just 21. Just to spend time with them, anytime, is my reward in life. My oldest daughter loves to show off her culinary skills, so I don't have much to do, except a side dish, and to show up at my son's house! ( no dishes, no clean-up). I have six grandchildren, and I'm very excited to see them open their gifts - they are darling. Christmas is all about family for me. It is so cuddly. And then I get to go home, and replay the loveliness in my mind over and over again.

    Merry Christmas to all, and thank you to Charlotte, whose blog adds so much pleasure to my life.

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    1. Pauline Oak HIlls16 December 2013 at 01:38

      Wolfpup I am with you, grandbabies are the best. I too have grown boys and one grandchild. I love being with family during the holidays and watching my grandson open his presents from Santa and seeing his expression on his face wihen he comes down staris and see's all the presents (really not that many).

      Merry Christmas to all of Kates fans.

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    2. bluhare in Washington State16 December 2013 at 16:58

      LOL Just Kate's fans?

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    3. Well isn't this what this blog is all about bluhare? I take your comment as a slap in the face to Pauline.

      Janice a Fan from Texas

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    4. bluhare in Washington State18 December 2013 at 17:03

      Janice, please get a sense of humour. Pauline has been quite vocal in her disdain for "non fans" on this blog and, in fact, stated she wasn't going to post any more. Glad you changed your mind, Pauline. I've missed the disses.

      The polite thing to do here would have just been to wish people a Merry Christmas, full stop.

      And for the record for what seems like the 3,287th time, I'm on the fence with Kate. There are things I like and things I don't.

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    5. bluhare's original question was asked *in the context of* prior comments that were directed at her and others here who don't *strictly* have positive things to say about Kate. I consider myself someone who is in Kate's corner all the way and I understood where bluhare was coming from.

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  43. Hi Charlotte!
    My Christmas traditions are quite simple, and although my children are older now (15 and 10), they still look forward to us keeping them annually. We begin on Christmas Eve in preparation for our "Fish Fry". It is a Southern American tradition of cooking fish and other seafood outside. My husband, with the help of our ten year old son, will usually will prepare this meal. Depending on the weather, and if it is mild, we can eat outside in the garden. After dinner, we usually watch a classic Christmas movie like, "Meet Me in St. Louis" with Judy Garland, or "Miracle on 34th Street" with Natalie Wood while drinking hot chocolate. After the movie, our children get to open one gift, which are their new Christmas Pajamas. Once they have bathed and dressed into their new pajamas, my husband and I read the story of the birth of Christ from the bible to them. On Christmas morning I awake early, and make my traditional exotic fruit platter with yogurt and honey. It usually consist of any exotic fruit I can find; papaya, mango, pomegranate etc. This is a lite breakfast, and keeps everyone energized but still leaves room for Christmas dinner. After gifts, and cleaning up wrapping paper, I begin to prepare dinner. It doesn't take long because I prep all of my dishes on Christmas Eve while my husband is cooking outside. We get dressed for the occasion, eat hors de ouvres, and my husband and I have a drink, while my children drink sparkling cider. We sit down to Christmas dinner and talk about what a blessing it is to have each other. We make calls to friends and family all day, but our tradition is that we spend Christmas Day together as a family. The next day, we begin to celebrate Kwanzaa, and light our first candle on the kinara. We celebrate this holiday(which DOES NOT replace Christmas) as a renewing of our cultural spirits and traditions as African- Americans. When my children grow up, I know they will eventually have their own families, and their own traditions. However, I pray that the memories I make with them will assist in shaping their traditions for Christmases to come!:)
    Christmas at Sandringham seems tedious, but fun! I would imagine that Kate will be quite relaxed after pre and post dinner drinks! While I read that she is not a heavy drinker, I would think it would help to make things relaxing, and she may not mind the dress changes so much! Royal or not, there is no gift like that of family at Christmas time, no matter your traditions!
    Have a wonderful Christmas Charlotte, and thank you for the extremely informational post as always! To all the blog readers, have a blessed holiday season!

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  44. Here I am, in the Christmas spirit, and I just thought of a gift that some readers on this blog might like to hear...my beauty routine! I look into the mirror, and think that I am a beautiful woman...and here is how I do it.

    First of all, is health. Exercise and keeping weight on track is paramount, of course. Vitamins, especially Vitamin C, as it works well on your skin, is even better inside of you. The problem with gaining weight, especially as you get older, is when you diet to lose it again, your skin can become slack and droopy...so try not to go more than 10 lbs over. Even 20 lbs. overweight can be a problem with the tautness of your skin, (especially as you get older), so be careful.

    Sunscreen and Retin A (Tretinoin.05%) is miracle works for your skin. I'm 58 and a half, and still smooth around the eyes and forehead! I've been using these since my 20's, when I first read about them. They were new when I got on-board. Retin-A also keeps your pores very small. Be prepared to keep white skin glowing as the Retin-A turns skin cells over more quickly. Find out how to use it, because it takes a little bit of time for your skin to get used to it. It's really not for those who want to tan. Sunscreen is your skin's best friend, even on cloudy days.

    Everyone can find the creams that work best on their skin, but here's another tip. When you wake up in the morning, just rinse your face with warm water and your hands. Just rub that night cream and Retin-A all around again; get all the nubbies out of your eyes etc., and pat dry. Your natural oils are more valuable to your skin, than any cream, so let it be pampered by them. Coconut oil also feels very natural to me, and I use it whenever I feel dry, especially in winter.

    Last, but not least, when you reach the good-bye time for having babies (menopause), start taking hormones. They not only keep your bones strong, but keep you looking young as well. My mother was on them until her 60's, and I want to be on them as long as I can find a doctor who will let me. Of course, everyone needs to check with their own physician.

    That's it ladies. Looking good, and feeling great, is a lot better than just sitting down, and going into decline. I hope that I haven't been presumptuous, but I love climbing mountains, and breathing...and being...and maybe some of my ideas will work for you.

    Merry Christmas from Diana, Who Runs With the Wolves (that is my real name - don't be scared).

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    1. bluhare in Washington State16 December 2013 at 21:40

      Love your morning tip, wolfpup. Going to start doing it!

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  45. thank you Charlotte for that lovely description of the Christmas celebrations and festivities of the Royal Family! Wish I were a fly on that wall! I agree with some of your commentors, if you loved fashion, you would love all the changes of clothes as you would not have to do all the cooking and washing up, you would actually enjoy putting together outfits! Coming from Australia where its hot hot hot here - we usually have our celebrations on Christmas Day for lunch, a big one, usually its the traditional fare even in the heat (with the air conditioners on!) but most days I think others have a tropical Christmas now with seafood etc. This year my sister's boyfriend is out from Seattle so is experiencing a tropical Christmas this year in our heat. Christmas at my sister-in-laws home with her pool and some seafood, glazed ham, chicken and accompanying high end gourmet salads. We also exchange our presents then. Once we arrive home, we listen to the Queen's Christmas Day message, have a light dinner and play some board games with the children. Boxing Day is usually a new release movie at the cinemas and a relaxing day. Most of my friends are overseas experiencing a white Christmas this year with their children, something we hope to do in Scotland in a couple of years time! I am a traditionalist!

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  46. My family Christmas tradition usually involves a theme....usually to do with the dinner. Last year we had all traditional British food for my British brother in law. He wasn't able to fly home for Christmas so my mom learned how to cook some British cuisine....but we always have a birthday cake for Christ. This is my favorite tradition. So often I think Christ is overlooked. I hope I don't offend anybody by saying that its just my belief. I was recently in a very bad car accident and one of my nephews was critically injured. He will be out of the rehabilitation hospital for Christmas so this year is extra special for my whole family. Happy holidays everyone��

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    1. jenndog - what a lovely thing to do - baking a birthday cake for Christ! That´s what I meant, too, by saying that we all spend some quiet time in front of the Christmas tree while the candles are burning - it´s "our" special "spiritual" moment, if you want to say so, where we remember what Christmas really is about and what we are celebrating on this day...so that it is n o t overlooked. We light the candles several times over the Christmas Holidays (the tree is not removed until the 6th of January, where in my part of Germany we celebrate the "Holy Three Kings" (again, literally translated) who visited Jesus and brought presents for him), and each time we remember what these holidays are about.... But I must admit, I really like the idea of the birthday cake! So thank you for sharing this with us, Eve from Germany

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    2. Eve...what a lovely reply. Thank you for acknowledging Christ. I feel his spirit so strongly with me everyday. I also love your idea about lighting the candles and leaving your tree up until the sixth. I think I will leave my tree up this year too. Your fellow believer in Christ...jennifer

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    3. bluhare in Washington State16 December 2013 at 21:43

      jenndog, I don't think anyone should apologize for their faith. And I think baking a birthday cake is a lovely idea.

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    4. I hope both you and your nephew feel better and better, jenndog!

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    5. Bluhare your absolutely right...i shouldn't have to apologize thank you. Dougies girl...i thank you so much for your encouraging words��

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    6. Penny, 13 yrs, USA19 December 2013 at 20:45

      That is really cool!

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  47. I also have four grown children. Christmas is the time to gather, at our house, for an annual reunion around the Christmas tree. Our dinners vary, since two of my children are great cooks. I decorate trees, we all give each other gifts, and it is one of the best times of the year. It only ends too quickly, as people rush off to other family obligations and work. i'm a bit envious of those who have Boxing Day, whatever that means, for another day to enjoy!

    Have a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year, everyone, and thanks again to Charlotte for the great pleasure this blog gives us.

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  48. Charlotte, what a lovely and informative post! I have to say however, that all of the events sound so formal and rigid that I can't imagine it being too much fun. Granted, it's a lot easier when you're not doing the laundry, the cooking, or the dishes, but still! It must be very tough on Kate having little George and needing to feed him and generally take care of him. Is she expected to be at absolutely all of these events on all three days?
    My husband and I live in the United States (he is from Turkey) and we are traveling from Texas to Pennsylvania to visit my family for the Christmas holiday. In the days leading up to Christmas Eve we make seemingly a million different cookies and breads. My mother and I make a Polish meal for Christmas Eve (we are ethnically Polish) and then we go to midnight mass. Christmas morning we have bread pudding, open gifts, and generally lounge about having fun, taking the kids outside, etc. We have a large late lunch with a ham and various sides and spend the evening watching classic Christmas movies. It is a lot of fun, a lot of cooking, and very relaxing. My mother's extended family comes over the Saturday after Christmas where we have a late lunch and exchange gifts.

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  49. Charlotte--I appreciate the historical research in your posts. Since I'm from the other side of the pond, my British history could always benefit from new lessons. I especially found interesting that the Queen's tradition of exchanging gifts is for Christmas Eve, and that she guards the 25th as a religious celebration day. Our tradition was opening gifts on Christmas Eve was a sign of impatience and self-indulgence--you HAD to wait until Christmas day! As an ex-pat in northern Ghana now, I will go with other friends to carol at our local hospital Christmas Eve and pass out oranges to patients and staff. Christmas Day we will worship at church, visit with family, celebrate a meal in common with friends, and OPEN our presents. Thanks again.

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    1. bluhare in Washington State16 December 2013 at 21:45

      I think Christmas Eve is a German or European tradition? My husband's family is of German extraction and they always celebrated on Christmas Eve. I asked him how they handled Santa/Father Christmas coming (he came after we went to bed in my house!), and he said that his dad used to take them to look at the Christmas lights and Santa would always show up while they were gone. :)

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  50. Princess-not-of-the-blood16 December 2013 at 14:22

    The formality and the number of outfit changes that Charlotte mentions sound like a nightmare with a five-months-old child! They will surely be needing a full-time nanny for PG!
    I wish everyone a merry and relaxed Christmas!

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  51. Hi, Charlotte,

    Thank you for all the details of the Royal Christmas! I enjoyed reading about it.

    In Canada, it's starting out as cold and snowy-January weather in November and December.

    I'm lucky to have many family traditions.

    First, my husband is an "Xmas baby". His birthday is Dec. 19. The brakes must be applied to Christmas and a birthday celebration (this year a dinner party for 8) held with all the suitable hoopla-cake (nothing remotely Christmas-ey), etc.

    We always go as an extended family (13 of us) to a Christmas show, usually just before Xmas. This is a panto comedy staged by Ross Petty, a Canadian actor (married to Karen Kain, our prima ballerina with the National Ballet of Canada). It's a lot of fun with audience participation and a current theme-like talking about Rob Ford, our comedy mayor. We usually have dinner afterwards in one of the older Toronto restaurants that are near the theatres and have their own traditions.

    Christmas Eve is a dinner at home with all our good china, etc. and then Xmas movies and wrapping presents. Christmas morning is presents unwrapped and a lovely breakfast with home baked goods. Traditional Christmas dinner is at our house this year on Christmas night. It's my family's tradition (aided by business travel) to have some family member bring back a traditional Christmas pudding from England which we all enjoy.

    Boxing Day is wonderful! I'm sorry for all of you who don't observe it. Usually most places are still closed with the sales starting on the 27th. On the 26th, you can relax at home, recover from your relatives (!!), eat leftovers, play with your kids and gifts or maybe go to a movie or out for a walk.

    Just a few examples of Xmas in Canada-we just always hope we don't have a snow storm when everyone is travelling, etc.

    May you all have a joyful Christmas and a great 2014!

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    1. bluhare in Washington State16 December 2013 at 21:46

      You live in Toronto? Rob Ford is the gift that just keeps on giving!!

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  52. This year we're totally breaking with tradition: my family and I are spending Christmas holiday (and also New Year's Eve) in hot and sunny Brazil! We'll open the presents on the warm beach of Maragogi! :))

    It will be quite a tropical Christmas! And it reminds me that the Middleton family also have spent a couple of Christmases in Mustique or somewhere in the Caribean, if I'm not mistaken. Am I right, Charlotte?
    Hugs!
    Z. from Portugal

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  53. bluhare in Washington State16 December 2013 at 17:00

    I left comments the other evening that must have been eaten by the spam filter? They were all beautifully crafted, very poignant and timely . . . and one of them asked about YOUR Christmas, Charlotte!

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    1. Oh Bluhare that spam filer.......... Don't get me started on it!

      It's been so lovely to read about all of your Christmas plans. I do hope it's a wonderful time for all of you and your loved ones.

      My fiancé and I are spending Christmas with my family which will begin with a late dinner on Christmas eve followed by gift opening, drinks and a couple of classic movies. Christmas Day begins bright and early with a long walk with the dogs and Church. Then it's time to prepare Christmas lunch and sit down for a long chat. After lunch we play board games, pull Christmas crackers, take photos and relax for the night. I'm very much looking forward to spending a few days at home in the country :)

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  54. Here's a question for you, Charlotte, or anyone who might be in the know and unrelated to Christmas. How does Kate keep her hats on her head? Do they still use hatpinsor some sort of clips to hold the hat on and at a proper angle? I was just looking at the photos of her in the plum coat and hat and then at the christening. Her hats always are positioned and they never seem to slip or slide. Thank you!

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    1. That is a very good question Regina, I've often wondered the same myself. Perhaps Kate's hairdresser knows a couple of tricks to keep it in place?

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    2. bluhare in Washington State17 December 2013 at 19:16

      I hope I'm not Reply 57, but I think some hats and fascinators have combs and some fascinators have headbands.

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    3. I can't speak for Kate since I don't know how she does it but from my little experience wearing both vintage and modern hats, some do come with small combs either in the front or on both sides; others have a design to curve the hat so it will stay in place without too much fuss. I can't run in my vintage hats but they definitely stay pretty secured when I walk. Also i have observed that most of the times, Kate has her hair somewhat neatly done on the back and my guess is that helps too.

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  55. Charlotte - any ideas on why the Danish Royal Family seems so much more open about their beautiful daughter, Princess Estelle than the British Royals? Maybe it's me, but they just seem so much more relaxed and ready to show their beautiful child off to her country. Whereas, the Cambridge's are really quite unwilling, unless absolutely necessary, to give much up about George. I know there is a certain amount of privacy, which nobody disputes, but a Christmas shot or something would probably be welcome.

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    1. bluhare in Washington State18 December 2013 at 17:06

      I have no idea either, Melissa, but I agree with you. William wants it both ways, in my opinion. He wants the perks of his position without having his life invaded in any fashion whatsoever. I don't see Kate as the instigator here; what mom doesn't love showing her baby off? I've never met one.

      But I think that William does owe his public something, and there should be some nice photos released. I hope they do.

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    2. I've often thought that. The European royals seem much more relaxed less stuffy and more down to earth and in touch with their people unlike our royal family. Shame. Annie London

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    3. I agree Bluhare - I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this. It's really too bad and I think it contributes to a lot of people in the U.K. being against having a monarchy. William comes off as a petulant child sometimes - he's lucky he married such a lovely girl. I just noticed that Charles's and Camilla's card has been released...very nice shot. Happy Holidays!

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    4. We'll said. I agree with all the above comments. Annie London

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    5. I admire the more relaxed manner of the European royals too, but I don't think they have the same problems with the press. And certainly none of them have had their private lives dissected like William's immediate family. If this is how he chooses to protect his wife and child, I find it difficult to blame him. No one has walked in his, or Harry's, shoes.

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  56. Isla Phillips, Peter's Phillips youngest daughter, will also be a Sandringham, I imagine.

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  57. Hello there!
    Just a quick question - your post states this is only one of two annual events where the entire royal family is summoned to the palace. What is the other event? Thanks!

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  58. Hello!

    It's Trooping The Colour :)

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  59. Charlotte, thanks again for a wonderfully detailed post (with lovely photos!) and I hope you have a very happy Christmas.
    I wonder if when Charles is King he will discard the strict timetables and formal meals in favor of a more relaxed gathering. It does all seem very Downton Abbey, and that was 100 years ago. I think Queen Victoria would feel perfectly at home if she could be at Sandringham this year.

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  60. Dear Chatlotte there are photos out of Kate arriving with William to the annual Christmas dinner with her Majesty.
    Kate looks gorgeous in a red frock.

    I look forward to your post on it.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2525832/Going-lunch-Queen-Its-small-matter-Viscount-Linley-daughter-arrive-Buckingham-Palace-Christmas-celebration-tiny-Fiat-500.html#comments-2525832

    Also today Pippa released news she got engaged in India to Nico.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Mellie :)

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    2. Pictures show Pippa and Nico returning gaunt and sunburned from India (where was the sunblock?), but the engagement rumor may be just a rumor. We'll see.

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  61. Penny, 13 yrs, USA19 December 2013 at 20:43

    On Christmas Eve after we have a prime rib dinner we will go to the Church service and then come home and open gifts from my first set of grandparents, gifts within our family, and our Secret Santa gifts. Christmas Day we will open our Santa Claus gifts and gifts from my other set of grandparents. I do not know what we will be eating on Christmas Day but for breakfast I know we have Roumegrat and Stollen. I am very excited! I love Christmas, it is my favorite time of year. I do hope we will see little George this Christmas!!!

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