Monday, 5 December 2016

The Duchess' December: Meeting with the Scouts, Royal Festivities & Christmas Plans!

December is here and the festive season is officially upon us! I always greatly look forward to writing our annual pre-Christmas post as it often signals the beginning of the season for me. I love everything about Christmas, especially preparing for the festivities and the wonderfully dependable traditions surrounding the event. I had intended this post to be completed over the weekend, but got rather carried away decorating. A friend told me there was quite the debate at her house when her five-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son both decided they would take on the very important task of putting the angel on the tree. With neither willing to concede it was decided both would be lifted up at the same time and do it together. :)


Have you got into the spirit yet and begun preparations? As you can see, Kensington Palace is very much prepared with beautifully lit trees.


I mentioned my love of tradition, and it's always lovely to see the same gatherings and events annually within the Royal family. Before we discuss that let's begin with a look at the Duchess' plans for December that we know of - beginning with an engagement announced earlier today. On Wednesday, 14 December, Kate will attend a special Cub Scout Pack meeting with Cubs from the King's Lynn District to celebrate 100 years of Cubs. King's Lynn is a twenty-minute drive from the Cambridges' country home Anmer Hall.

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

Kensington Palace noted: "Her Royal Highness will join the pack as they take part in games and activities themed around looking after yourself and others physically and emotionally. Activities will include a parachute game to encourage teamwork and cooperation, first aid training and ‘Cub cake’ icing. They will then join together to renew their Cub Scout promise and celebrate the Cubs' 100th anniversary with the lighting of 100 candles and a rendition of 'Happy Birthday'." Cub Scouting was co-founded by Robert Baden-Powell and Vera Barclay on 16th December 1916. The anniversary year, called Cubs100, started with a special camp for Cub Scouts from across the UK at London Zoo. During William and Kate's time in Anglesey, North Wales, the Duchess was a volunteer with the Scouts and has carried out several engagements with the group.


On Monday, 19 December, William, Kate and Harry will will join an annual general meeting and Heads Together Christmas party hosted by youth support service The Mix, to celebrate the volunteers and counsellors who support people through tough times in their lives. The Duchess will join a live online chat about counselling with volunteers and young people from around the UK. Meanwhile, William and Harry will each join a group breakout session where counsellors and volunteers will share knowledge and get training on dealing with a range of issues, with a focus on supporting people who are suicidal and helping young people coping with homelessness. They will then join a celebration Christmas Party reception where they will mingle with volunteers who support people through tough times in their lives. During the party, the royals will kick off The Mix Annual Awards by presenting the Volunteer of the Year Award. Guests will include Heads Together charity partners - a very nice engagement before Christmas.


In terms of other engagements Kate may have in December, I expect there are more to be announced. There is a possibility the Cambridges will attend the annual Diplomatic Reception this year. The glittering white-tie gala is an incredibly important night on the royal calendar with Her Majesty throwing the event in honour of over 170 foreign missions accredited to the court of St James. Thus far, William and Kate have attended in 2013 and 2015. The reception generally takes place on a Tuesday in early December, which would make tomorrow a potential date for the private event.


Last year the Duke and Duchess released a lovely family photo for Christmas. The photo showed the Duke and Duchess with their smiling children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and was taken among the autumn leaves at Kensington Palace in late October 2015. The Palace said the photograph was commissioned for their own use, but that the couple decided to make it public because they liked it so much. Will we see another relaxed family snap this year?

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

A definite on the calendar is Her Majesty's Christmas luncheon, which takes place on Tuesday, 20 December. It's a lovely gathering for the Royal family and a nice opportunity to spend time with those who will not be joining them for Christmas. We can expect to see the usual arrival/departure photos and a glimpse of George and Charlotte in the car, too. The Duchess usually opts for a festive red dress.


Afterwards, the Queen and Prince Philip will depart for Sandringham where they will host 25 to 30 relatives over the festive period. The Queen is said to love a full house and following another successful year for the family there is much to celebrate. Zara Tindall, the Queen's grandduaghter, announced she is expecting her second child earlier this week.  A look at the guestlist from 2011.

Mail Online

Majestic Sandringham is a country house on 20,000 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. It's a real retreat for the royals, affording them privacy and plenty of space to pursue their love of the outdoors.


Christmas at Sandringham is a family-filled day with the formality one would expect. A detailed round-up of the Christmas Eve itinerary:

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. Guests 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.
At 4 pm, 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. 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.
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. guests emerge for dinner. Men will be dressed in black tie, while the women will be draped in full-length gowns and dazzling jewels. 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.

How will the Cambridges spend Christmas Day this year? Like many couples they try to strike a balance, tending to alternate with both families. For Kate's first Christmas as a royal in 2011, they enjoyed the day with the Royal family. There's always a fantastic turnout at St Mary's church and it was an excellent opportunity for the new Duchess to meet locals after the service.


The following year, in 2012, William and Kate opted to celebrate with the Middletons at their home in Bucklebury. Kate was expecting Prince George and had recently been hospitalised with Hyperemesis gravidarum. Still feeling quite poorly, it was reported Kate wanted to spend her last Christmas before motherhood with her family.


New parents William and Kate held hands as they made their way to church in 2013. They spent the day with the Royal family at Sandringham. Kate looked impeccably stylish in a black watch plaid McQueen coat and her favourite Aquatalia boots.


2014 was a particularly speical one for the couple as they hosted Christmas at their newly refurbished and redecorated country home, Anmer Hall. The couple found the perfect way to celebrate with both families - reportedly enjoying a sumptuous dinner and opening gifts at Sandringham on Chritmas Eve before spending Christmas Day with the Middletons at Anmer.


Last year, the Cambridges joined the Royal family once again for Princess Charlotte's first christmas. A royal source told the Express "they wanted to give staff the day off. The royals are like any other family and face the same dilemmas with in-laws. As William and Kate spent the day with the Middletons last year it was only fair that they switched plans this year. They will be able to relax and some of their staff will be able to take time off and see their own families. Last year crowds waiting outside St Mary Magdalene church on Christmas morning were disappointed not to see Prince George and Kate told onlookers: 'I’m sorry we didn’t bring him but you would have heard him in church.'"


As the Cambridges have very much stuck to their tradition of alternating, one would expect they plan to spend the day with the Middletons this year - likely hosting it once again at Anmer Hall. It's a very special time for the family with planning underway for Pippa Middleton's pending nuptials to James Matthews next year. Will we see George and Charlotte join their parents for the walk to church? Last year, Rebecca English was told that "wouldn't be the case until they are much older". No doubt the little Prince and Princess will be busy enjoying whatever presents Santa left in their stockings :)


Should they elect to celebrate at Anmer, following church the group will enjoy a traditional christmas lunch with all the trimmings, perhaps an afternoon stroll, and then a relaxing evening filled with games and television specials.


Anmer is likely a hub of activity at the moment, as in many homes, with preparations for Christmas in full swing. In her book Celebrate, Pippa Middleton recalled fond childhood memories: "When I was a child, my December weekends were spent making cards, decorating the tree, hanging the wreath and preparing brandy butter and peppermint creams. Bowls brimming with walnuts, shiny wrapped chocolates and piles of clementines would appear around the house. There was always a distnctive smell, too; pine and cinnamon and heady scent of mulled wine and pomanders that merged into one festive bouquet. No matter how much we may adapt other customs, come December, we tend to repeat our own familiar customs year on year."


Privately, William and Kate will have several celebratory events planned, including a staff luncheon with more than twenty guests. The couple have a close-knit team of aides surrounding them and it's a nice opportunity to enjoy the festive period. In previous years, the chosen location has been South Kensington eatery Bumpkin. As you can see below, the restaurant has embraced the season already.


...And so much so they created a heated winter garden at their Chelsea venue.


In 2014, Kate took George for a festive surprise in Thursford, near Anmer Hall. The Christmas spectacular is the largest Christmas show in the country and a wonderful family day out. Set in the magical surroundings of mechanical organs and fairground carousels, with a cast of a hundred and thirty professional singers, dancers and musicians – many of whom are West End performers. The three-hour performance delivers an extravaganza of non-stop singing, dancing, music, humour and variety. It’s a fast moving celebration of the festive season featuring an eclectic mix of both seasonal and year-round favourites, with famous and much-loved chart toppers being sung alongside traditional carols. There are opportunities to meet Santa and his elves, too.


Have you ever wanted to see William and Kate in matching Christmas jumpers? Madame Tussauds in London has done just that as part of a 'Christmas jumper fundraiser' for Save the Children UK. A very nice seasonal touch in aid of a wonderful cause. Even the Queen's Corgi's are getting in on the act :)


Before we conclude, I thought I'd share a quick and easy recipe for a classic favourite Christmas drink from Pippa's Celebrate. Mulled Wine is very popular in Britian, but for those in other parts of the world, do you serve it for Christmas? The beverage, of European origins, is usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins. It is served hot or warm and may be alcoholic or non-alcoholic.


Pippa wrote:

Peel 4 oranges and set aside the peel. Juice the oranges into a bowl, then stud the orange peel with 20 cloves. Pour two bottles of fruity red wine, such as Merlot, into a saucepan with a pinch of ground ginger and 4 cinnamon sticks, then add the orange peel and orange juice. Measure out 140g soft brown sugar and add a little at a time - the amount of sugar you need depends on how sweet you like your mulled wine, so taste as you go. Simmer gently for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves (do not allow to boil) and serve warm. Serves 8.

And with all that festive talk, I'm off to ask my other half to jazz up the blog with a few sparkly touches! :)

82 comments:

  1. I hope Mr. Charlotte is able to do your Christmas banner again!

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    1. Oops! I should read all the way through. I see you are on it! :)

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    2. Two thumbs up to Mr. Charlotte for the banner!!

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  2. Lovely and most welcome post Charlotte. My favorite time of year. We have started decorating, and will buy our fresh tree this week. Having a holiday party on Saturday, so we have to deck the halls with holly. I have made mulled wine for years now. Love how the aroma fills the house.
    So happy to see Kate out and about for the Cub Scouts. As soon as Harry came home, it was announced. I hope this helps stem some of the negative remarks. One can at least hope ;)
    Wishing everyone a joyous season.

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  3. Thank you Charlotte for this lovely post! A delight as always :)

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  4. Looking forward on the christmass festive hmm thinking she might have non annoce enagement thing keep mine christmass festive in beginning

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  5. I am excited about Christmas and this just added to my anticipation. The mulled wine looks wonderful. I may give it a try...assuming guests will be brave enough! ;)

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  6. Thank you for this great post! And, above all, I was glad to read your last sentence because I (as all your readers) have come to expect the shiny trimmings that your spouse sprinkles on the blog! ;) It's officially December when YOUR blog has the sparklers on! Silvia

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden6 December 2016 at 21:01

      Yeah, the Mr really spruces this place up at times :)

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  7. Vin brulé! It's very well known in Italy too, a delicious taste for wintertime. Thank you Charlotte for this wanderful post. Here in Milan we use to start our Christmas Tree on 7th december, the Sant'Ambrogio day. It is also the day of the opening of Scala lyric season, this year they will play Puccini's Butterfly. My daughter had the opportunity to see the dress rehearsal, last week, she told me it was great!

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  8. The post about Scala in Milano is mine, sorry I was wrong with my signature :)

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  9. What a lovely post Charlotte, the festive season is indeed upon us! I love seeing the clothes the Royal Family wear at Christmas, as ours is so different here in Australia. We don't have mulled wine, and Pippa's comment about our own family traditions is interesting and heart-warming. Here we're more likely to have chilled champagne, prawns, salads and cold ham with pineapple and cherry decorations. Wishing everyone a lovely Christmas with their loved ones, wherever you are across the globe.

    Fiona in Australia

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    1. I thought the pineapple and cherry decoration on the ham was a southern thing here in the U.S. Fun finding out that it is done there also. small world. :)

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    2. Yes, I'm not sure where this came from but my Mum has always decorated our ham like this so I've continued the tradition for my children. It'd be interesting to hear if any people in the UK do this?

      I can't imagine a Christmas where it's chilly outside, but it must be very cosy rugging up and then keeping warm inside. It's always VERY hot here in Australia, so we tend to have a lazy laid-back lunch, almost always held outside with fans on the patio to keep us cool!

      Fiona in Australia

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    3. another new expression, rugging up. :)

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    4. My mom always garnished our baked hams with maraschino cherries and pineapple. We are from the northeast US. I've never made it that way for my family but this discussion has left me nostalgic, so I just might.

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    5. Haha Anon,'rugging up' as in putting on a rug I guess! It's interesting that we have a similar tradition with the ham in Australia and the US, but I originally come from Southern Africa and my Mum decorated the ham this way there too and we've brought the tradition across the seas to Australia. Christmas can make us nostalgic Erika, so perhaps you will repeat your mum's traditions this year!

      Fiona in Australia

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    6. I've decided to do it Fiona:-) Thanks for the inspiration!

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    7. That's fantastic Erika, there's nothing like renewing an old tradition! I hope your family enjoy it. Actually it's a nice combination of the tartness of the pineapple and the sweetness of the cherry with the slightly salty ham. And it looks really colourful too!

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    8. Sorry, that last post was from me, Erika, I forgot to add it.

      Fiona in Australia

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  10. Hello!

    Thank you for your comments. I love to hear how everyone is decorating/preparing for Christmas and traditions in different countries.

    The post is updated with news of a new engagement. On 19 December, William, Kate and Harry will attend The Mix's (Heads Together charity partner) volunteer Christmas party.

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    1. We are not decorating this year. We remodeled our living room and laundry room, and we need to paint and put new floors down, all before my baby that's due at the end of the year. So no tree for us! But we are going to a hotel Christmas day and the kids get to go swimming and we have a hot tub in the room :)

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    2. The children will always remember that. And you can share with your baby later on about his/her
      first Christmas. :)

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    3. I belive they will like it. Our last Christmas as a foursome, it needs to be special and since by house iso tore up there is no way I want to decorate!

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  11. The season for goodwill and cheerful hearts. Thank your hubby for his distinctive flair. So festive and pretty. A sweet DKB tradition. Ho Ho Ho :)

    Merry Christmas Everyone x

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  12. Thank you for such a lovely post. Down here in New Zealand mulled wine is not a tradition. Its summer so its normally hot (hopefully). However, we normally always had a hot main meal which can be roast lamb or turkey (relatively new) or a BBQ. Our decorations mainly stay indoors with Christmas trees and tinsel. Very similar to Fiona in Australia's description. Some people are off to the beach or disappear to their bachs (beach holiday home) but its mostly about family time as in most other places around the world. Would love to experience a white christmas though one year. Hope you have a lovely Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.

    KiwiNic

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  13. I am on a plane heading to New York City with my dog. We sail on the Queen Mary 2 on Thursday to start our great retirement adventure! So our Christmas this year will not involve our own decorations but there will be plenty to enjoy elsewhere.
    And one of the enjoyments was your post. Thank you Charlotte!!

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    1. Bon voyage to you, Valerie, and bone voyage to your pup!

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    2. hugs and a loving send off to you and your best friend. 🐾🎈❤️

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  14. Wow, a new beautiful Christmas post and December engagements.....just in the nick of time!! Lovely little insight about the detailed Christmas Eve itinery at Sandringham!! Sounds wonderful and festive and can't even begin to imagine all the preparations it must take. The Queen must have things down to a science...very interesting. It's at these events that I wish pictures could be released...not all but just enough to feed the imagination and see the royal family together. Also love that many are sharing their holiday traditions and decorations in their country, very heartwarming and fuels the Christmas spirit! The mulled wine recipe is a nice touch, thanks for sharing Charlotte. Will attempt to make it at our building Holiday Party. :) Can't wait to see Kate at her Cub Scout outing and looking forward to what December will bring!! cc

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  15. Merry Christmas and Bon Voyage Valerie, 🎉🎄I hope it is everything you had hoped for and more.

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    1. Valerie, please keep us updated as you go along, if you don't mind. :)

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    2. Yes! Please do if you can. We will live vicariously through you. Great trip :-)

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  16. Zora from Prague6 December 2016 at 21:43

    Thank you for a beautiful post, Charlotte! It makes one look forward to Christmas even more :). Here in the Czech Republic we don't have mulled wine as a special Christmas drink but it is popular throughout the winter (the weather is quite cold right now, with trees and bushed covered in frost in the morning). In a lot of families the preparations have started, especially cleaning, buying presents and baking traditional Christmas cookies (we have a wide range of them - tiny gingerbreads, shortcrust pastry, coconut rings and balls, vanilla crescents, nut baskets..., every family have their favourites). A lot of people also put luminous decorations in their windows and some families have Advent wreaths and children open little windows on Advent calendars.
    Wishing everyone a lot of joy in this season!

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  17. Lovely post, thank you!

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  18. @ Julia ... I hope no one ever complains about Kate wearing lace. :)

    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/the-prince-of-wales-and-the-duchess-of-cornwall-arrive-for-news-photo/628060716?#the-prince-of-wales-and-the-duchess-of-cornwall-arrive-for-the-2016-picture-id628060716

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    1. Julia from Leominster7 December 2016 at 21:09

      I've always loved lace on Kate and Letizia especially who wear it so well but just in general. Unlike some, I never get lace fatigue - it's such a beautiful and regal material.
      But this...well, in the spirit of the season, I'll say nothing except Camilla does look festive and no one will have any trouble seeing her. Interesting about those diamonds that Charles may have broken down a perfectly nice tiara to make that necklace (why one might ask, and and when, and where did he get that tiara?) Not clear if that story is true though. I don't quite see how it would work.

      A Happy Christmas to you royalfan. We may not always agree but I always respect your opinions and the graceful way you express them.

      So nice to see all the familiar names here, all preparing for the season. And as always, Charlotte has done a wonderful post for us. Can't wait for the decorative banner.

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    2. Thank you, Julia. And a very Merry Christmas to you as well. And a safe and healthy New Year.

      I, too, wondered about the necklace, but so far have been unable to identify it. The red gown isn't ideal for Camilla, IMO, but I do like the overall *intent*. :)

      Do you recall Diana wearing a midnight blue evening dress with her sapphire and diamond jewelry? STUNNING!

      https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/c2/6f/31/c26f31a0df4fcf9eab8a7b9bb46d9756.jpg

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  19. Charlotte, I look forward to your Christmas post every year. It has become part of my own private little holiday tradition, which I enjoy so much. Thank you!
    Beth in SF

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  20. Julia from Leominster7 December 2016 at 12:20

    A lovely post, Charlotte as always. Always look forward to seeing what the royal ladies wear on Christmas Day. I've liked all of Kate's choices. Happy Christmas to all.

    Good luck and safe travelling, Valerie. What a way to begin an adventure on the Queen Mary 2. Good luck with your DIY, Emily and on the coming little one.
    Lovely to have people from all over the world here. I wish I was warm in New Zealand!

    I have masses of decorations from when my parents were alive - they did love Christmas, but now most often we travel to Leo's family, where the Internet may be in and out this year. (I will miss my dogs on Christmas though, as we fly.)
    We have one who doesn't eat meat so it will be salmon, not the more traditional turkey or beef for Christmas dinner.
    We had mulled wine at Salzburg's Christmas Market, a great place to indulge is at one of the markets, although far too many tempting sweets to try. I must do some baking now myself for friends.

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  21. Thank you for the lovely post and all your reporting throughout the year Charlotte!
    Outdoor Christmas lights and decorations are hugely popular here and a fun activity is to just walk the neighborhoods after sunset and watch the show. Everything from "tasteful" lighted greens with red bows to the startling huge blow up cartoon characters to glow in the dark nativity scenes can be admired.

    Contrary to popular belief, Moxie is not the devil, but the decorating for me this year is taking a backseat to packing. Looking forward to a few months in the Sunshine state! You'll be hearing from "Florida Moxie" soon.

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    1. awhh, Moxie. I knew you had a soft side in there somewhere. "Florida Moxie". That's funny. Travel safely and enjoy the sunshine. :) Merry Christmas.

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    2. I will look forward to that Moxie. A Moxie from any state is OK by me!

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    3. Hi Moxie, I hope you enjoy your trip to Florida (somewhat warmer climes I expect, or are winters cold there too?)

      Your comment on outdoor decorations made me think about what happens here in Australia. Every year more and more families are spending a huge amount of time and effort decorating the roof tops, trees and shrubs in their gardens etc with Christmas lights (and sometimes the reindeer and Santa figures you allude to.) We have one house just down the road from us which lights up the night!

      Fiona in Australia

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    4. I like to think that all of our Christmas decorations all over the world are like candles and make the whole planet look like a big birthday cake for Jesus. ❤️

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  22. Thank you for inviting us to share our traditions with each other, Charlotte. This summer I moved to Victoria just in time for the Royals’ arrival. In hindsight, perhaps they should have come for Christmas.

    The city goes all out during the festive season. The Legislature Buildings, Government House, Empress Hotel, Butchart Garden, as well as numerous local establishments light up. Carolers wander the downtown streets and musicians perform in various plazas. One evening a huge fleet of transport trucks lights up and roars through the city in an amazing show; another sees a flotilla of brightly lit boats cruising the harbour.

    Indoors, venues feature elegant garlands, wreaths, trees, and offer craft fairs, delectable food and entertainment. It’s a city of constant concerts and theatrical shows which are conveniently listed in glossy holiday guides.

    I always decorate early (First Advent) and take down late (Epiphany). My tree is up, and the crèche displayed on the sill of a leaded glass window that very conveniently has a rosette over the manger. In addition to my own vast collection of Christmas carols, offerings from the CBC’s classical Christmas stream play constantly.

    As the days get gloomier, it’s so nice to defy the night with light and song. (The northern ancients knew what they were about when they created Yule, the Saturnalia and other similar festivals. Thank heaven the church had the sense to steal from them when they saw austerity and penance weren’t working!)

    This year in addition to my personal celebrations (now that I live in the same city as my family), we will hire a horse-drawn carriage for a 90-minute ride along the ocean, through Beacon Hill Park and into downtown. If we bring the bubbly they supply the ice-bucket, the glasses and warm blankets.

    And if my siblings weren’t interested in joining me, I was prepared to go solo. More bubbly for me! I defy the idea that Christmas is for children or not worth doing if you live alone. I’ve never let that stop me from creating beauty, comfort and joy. Bring on the Ho! Ho! Ho! And even the Happy Humbug!

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    1. What a beautiful detailing of your area and your plans Philly. This was such a good idea Charlotte. I hope your siblings do join you Philly. If not, I think you have an excellent plan B. Merry Christmas. :)

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    2. I don't know about anyone else, but I sure want to spend Christmas with Philly! Sounds perfect Philly.

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    3. Zora from Prague7 December 2016 at 22:33

      Yes, Philly, especially the horse-drawn carriage ride! :) Tonight I've been to the city centre where there's a large Christmas market with a lot of stalls and a big tree, street artists, blacksmiths etc. There were carriages and horses too.
      I forgot to mention our traditional menu for Christmas Eve dinner: fish soup, fried fish (preferably carp) with potato salad and Christmas cookies. After dinner (or before it, in some families) we unwrap the presents under the Christmas tree. Later we go to the midnight mass during which we sing carols and admire the crèche.

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    4. How do you make your potato salad, Zora? Hot-cold, seasonings?

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    5. will give you a resounding shout out as we do our caroling Philly. you will no doubt hear us. x

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    6. Zora from Prague8 December 2016 at 20:43

      Anon 00:42 - here's our potato salad: boiled potatoes (about 70% of all material), boiled carrots and boiled root of parsley and celery (just several slices are enough), hard-boiled eggs, onion, pickled gherkins, canned peas, fresh apple (peeled), mayonnaise (or white yoghurt, if preferred), salt. We dice the potatoes, apple and all vegetables (except peas :) ), put them in a large bowl, then add salt and mayonnaise. Then put it in the fridge. It is best the 2nd day. Hope you'll like it! :)

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    7. Yum. Zora. That is whole meal in itself. Anything with potatoes and I'm in.

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    8. Yes, you're right :). In case you'd like to give it a try, here's a recipe for potato pancakes: mash several boiled potatoes, add an egg, some flour (just enough to make a sort of dough) and salt. Knead it all with your hands, then cut off small pieces and roll them into flat round or oval pancakes and fry them on a little oil until they are gold with light brown spots. We like them all year round :)

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    9. That is so funny. We make those in my family also. We eat them with a little ketchup or sour cream. Thanks Zora. It really is a small world.
      Browned butter with a little powered sugar is good on those also.

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    10. Oh, that's really nice! :) Never tried the sweet option but I will. And sour cream -yes! We also sometimes eat them with spinach as a complement. :)
      As for the small world - that's also very true. May I ask where you are from?
      How about this one: bramboraky (brambory=potatoes in Czech): peal 3-4 big raw potatoes, grate them, add 3-4 tablespoons of flour, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1 egg and some salt. Stir well, then put a ladle of the mixture onto hot oil in a frying pan, spread it with a spatula into a thin layer and let try until gold. :)

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  23. I've very much enjoyed reading your comments, thank you all for sharing an insight into your plans and traditions. Wishing everyone travelling a safe journey!

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    1. Thank you Charlotte for the lovely Christmas post, and please thank your husband for the festive decorating. ❤️🎄

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  24. Tammy from California7 December 2016 at 17:00

    This post just made me happy inside! It will go down as my favorite for the year! I loved hearing about everyone's traditions!

    My entire family has birthdays in December. I start the 1st, then brother in law the 5th, son the 23rd, uncle the 25th, grandma and sister in law the 26th (PHEW!). So we kick off the month by getting our trees on my birthday. We get two because one is my birthday present. I get to decorate one the way I want and the boys get to decorate with all their "ornaments" on the other. I get my house decorated and make an advent calendar for my little boy. Well, I should say, I get the little surprises IN the calendar for my little boy. Watching him jump out of bed everyday to see what he gets just melts my heart. We celebrate Christmas Eve with Brisket, Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese (it is to die for of you haven't had it. Here's the link and make sure to opt for the Gruyere Cheese instead of Pecorino! http://www.marthastewart.com/271998/perfect-macaroni-and-cheese), green beans cooked in a beef broth with onion and bacon, bread and then of course dessert. This year, it will be pumpkin spice cheesecake and a chocolate/coffee mousse roll, coffee and a hot cocoa bar. We do a little gift exchange that is $25 and pick numbers. People can steal from others up to the third person. The laughter that comes from this silly game is what I look forward to the most every year. Before my son was born, my husband and I would go to midnight candlelight service. It is the most touching service for us, we sing Christmas Carols and hymns while holding lit candles in the dark. Now that we have our son, we play Santa. This year we will attend church on the 22nd instead for the Christmas message.

    Charlotte, I have an idea, and I hope it isn't too forward: what if, just for this post, we could post pictures of our houses decorated, a tradition, a meal or something we do for Christmas? Or maybe next post just for that? I would love to see everyone here sharing their Christmas traditions! The way the readers here pick outfits for Kate, I can't imagine what other talents they have, and I think it would be a fun little thing to do.

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    1. Tammy, your whole comment was so sweet. I love candlelit services, and we do our green beans that way also. I had just been commenting on how our macaroni and cheese wasn't cheesy. Will try Martha's. Love your photo idea. Thought maybe we might also sometime design outfits from scratch (our own designs) and submit them. Let's face it. :)
      We at DKB rock fashion.

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    2. I've never had green beans made in this way. It sounds really good.

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  25. I think Madame Tussaud's wax figures are general very realistic. But these ones of the Royals in Christmas sweaters/jumpers really miss the mark. William is the best; the others fall short. The Queen's hair is never that fluffy. I could critique the others but you get the idea. Disappointed as this could be fun if the figures actually looked like who they are supposed to be. I do love the corgis.

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    1. The Tussaud Queen looks like Helen Mirren! Love Harry's sweater.

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    2. They got the Corgis right.

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  26. kate at private fundraising event for royal foundation super cute pics kate hugging a girl

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BNuUf4bDgDr/

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    1. She looks so natural and the earrings look new! Thanks for sharing!

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    2. cuuuute. Thanks 21:47.

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    3. Hello,

      A quick update on the event. It's my understanding the photos were taken at the Autumn dinner of the Royal Foundation which took place on 14 November. It was recorded in the Court Circular at the time. I have contacted the owner of the photos to see if I can obtain permission to use them. The girl was representing Young Minds and apparently gave an inspirational speech. The Duchess was so impressed and touched she and Harry hugged her.

      And a big thank you from 'Mr. Charlotte' on the banner comments. It's looking very festive here now :)

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    4. Great photos! Thanks.

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  27. I loved reading all the plans from around the world, some so different, but some so similar it's really fascinating.

    Philly - my husband and I don't have kids and we still celebrate Christmas every year and make it special. So I agree, you don't have to have them to celebrate.

    Florida Moxie and Valerie - have a safe trip and Valerie please do share your adventure with us!

    Last year I decorated both our houses, one in the city and one at the beach, but this year no decorations. I've pulled a muscle and am having issues walking so bending, stretching, and decorating are a luxury I will not have this year.

    I send out Christmas cards the first weekend in December to my family (I'm one of the few that still do). This weekend is my corporate party which is always fun, the theme this year is Great Gatsby it's on a pier, and my husband and I are dressing up in time period clothing, I'll be in an art deco dress which can be found at the link below. My husband Paul will be wearing a suit.

    https://www.amazon.com/Vijiv-Vintage-Inspired-Embellished-Flapper/dp/B01J7JHGG0/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1481150564&sr=8-9&keywords=art+deco+dresses

    Next weekend I will get all my Christmas shopping done for the family which now is just for nieces and nephews since we don't exchange gifts with the adults. My husband and I buy Christmas pjs each year to open on Christmas eve to wear for sleep and opening the rest of our presents to each other on Christmas morning/breakfast until it's time for us to get dressed and go eat at my mothers this year. My parents live at the beach in the same city where we have our beach house. We will drive down to the beach and walk along the pier and then go to hang out with my family for a few hours and eat dinner. Last year we started the tradition to go for a post meal walk around the lake to get some exercise after eating all the yummy food. We will return for dessert and coffee before leaving to go home together to snuggle in and watch a movie. Then the next day, we meet my aunt for breakfast and we drive to my in-laws in the mountains of NC (7 hour drive) for a couple of days and return to our city home to resume normal life and prepare for NYE.

    No mulled wine but we do Mimosas with OJ and Champagne in the morning with breakfast, wine with dinner and coffee/tea for dessert. Since we have Turkey on Thanksgiving here, we try to get a different meat for Christmas. Some years it has been ham, some years it is a beef roast. Just depends on the mood when we are in the grocery store.

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    1. Tammy from California8 December 2016 at 01:19

      Julie- Great Gatsby, my favorite era of dress!!! Have fun!!!

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  28. The banner is awesome. I sat here for awhile watching it like, well, like a kid at Christmas. :) How did he do that? A nice treat.

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    1. The banner is amazing. I watched it for a while too. Very relaxing. I think I will pop over here and watch it twinkle for Christmas stress relief
      therapy as needed.

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    2. Okay, I'm missing something. What is this banner that several people have mentioned. I've gone over the posting several times...both the blog and the right hand side ads and I don't see this banner.

      Also, in the listing of who will be at Sandringham, George, Charlotte and Zara's child are not mentioned. Does this mean the little ones won't be in attendance, or is it a given that they will be with their parents?

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    3. Laura, you know the top headline thingy. The one with the horse and the unicorn where it says Duchess Kate? look at that for a minute or two. :)

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    4. Laura, I meant lion and unicorn. The world should be very thankful that I am not a zoologist.

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  29. Great post Charlotte. My Christmas revolves around my two grandsons, 8 & 2. It is always a joy to see their faces when they come downstairs to see what Santa left. But I do have 2 grown sons who still think they are little boys...lol
    I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. 🎄

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  30. Some lovely and very interesting comments about Christmas festivities it is always such a lovely time of year especially when families celebrate together as I am fortunate to do usually travelling to spend Christmas with my son or daughter and their families.
    I thought the photos of Harry & Kate hugging that young girl were lovely thank you Charlotte for identifying the function gives an incite into Kate & Harry's character especially Kate as she very rarely publicly shows her feelings although as she gains confidence one does now see small glimpses of her character. William & Harry frequently show their feelings.
    I see from today's court ci W K & H were at a Royal Foundation Board meeting yesterday and then in the evening attended a RF reception at BP. The Royal Foundation seem to have evening receptions or dinners quite frequently. W & H were at a dinner held at Berry's the evening Kate returned from Holland then one on the 14th Nov. & now another one yesterday they seem to enjoy wining & dining !
    Glad to see Kate is still involved & interested in the Scout movement and I look forward to seeing her at the Cub event on 14th Dec.

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    1. Mary, That's a lot of activity for Kate that I didn't know about. I will have to make that a resource.

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  31. According to the Court Circular, Will and Kate are at the Diplomatic reception and Kate received the outgoing director of The Art Room today.

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  32. Tammy from California8 December 2016 at 20:59

    Now THAT'S a banner! Woot-woot!

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