In many ways, it’s safe to say that Queen Elizabeth II is not like us common folks. Not only does she own a lot of swans and dolphins (seriously!), but nearly 50 places around the world are named after her, too. But Her Majesty does have one quality that we can all relate to: She enjoys Christmas just as much as we do. She loves it so much, in fact, that she participates in every single one of these 10 royal family holiday traditions you’ll want to steal for yourself.
The Queen’s holiday season isn’t exclusively reserved for her family, though. In addition to her annual Christmas speech that’s broadcast throughout the world, she also makes time to celebrate with her royal staff members.
Each December, Queen Elizabeth gives each member of her 550-person staff a gift or book voucher, each loaded with a dollar amount that varies depending on how long they have worked in her service. She also gives them around 1,500 Christmas puddings to share between them, according to the official royal website. (For all the math pros out there, that’s nearly three puddings per person!) Every gift comes with a little extra something: a greeting card from Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip. Find out which royal Christmas tradition the Queen might break for Meghan Markle.
Like many other procedures in the British monarchy, however, there is a strict protocol regarding how the employees receive their gifts, according to the Express. A senior officer calls out each person’s name according to their rank, starting with the most senior household staff. Then, the Queen personally hands each staff member his or her gift. Queen Elizabeth offers another festive gesture to her staff by breaking this one tradition every Christmas, too.
The palace staff aren’t the only ones receiving some Christmas joy from the Queen. Her Majesty also donates money to charities in Windsor, plus offers Christmas trees to churches and schools around the United Kingdom. Now that’s what we call the Christmas spirit! Next, check out these 50 other things you didn’t know about the British royal family.