The monarch will spend the festive season at SandringhamPhoto: Getty Images

Why King Charles and the royals exchange gifts on Christmas Eve

King Charles continued the holiday tradition of the late Queen Elizabeth II by spending the season at the Sandringham estate, one of the many Christmas customs observed by the royal family.

The royal family actually exchanges gifts on Christmas Eve, despite the fact that people in the UK typically associate giving presents with Christmas Day. What is the cause of it, though?


Photo: Getty Images

It all has to do with the King’s German ancestry. When gifts are exchanged on December 24 in Germany, the Christmas season officially begins. Additionally, the Christmas tree is typically decorated on this day.

The custom of exchanging presents on Christmas Eve, or Heiligabend Bescherung, was made popular by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.


The Queen Consort’s equrry places decorations on the tree with his sword
Photo: Getty Images


In the days before Christmas, the late Queen Elizabeth II would take a train to her estate in Norfolk. The immediate family members, meanwhile, travel to Sandringham ahead of time and are rumored to enjoy afternoon tea on Christmas Eve before exchanging gifts.

They then get ready for dinner, dressing in evening gowns and black ties for the men and the finest dinnerware for the women.

The royal family celebrates Christmas Day with a special service at the St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate.


The royal family’s last Christmas Day walkabout in Sandringham in 2019
Photo: Getty Images


The annual walkabout has been postponed for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but this year, the Prince and Princess of Wales and their three children are anticipated to join King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla for the walk to church.

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