Queen's Christmas gift tradition to 'go out the window' for Windsor Castle celebrations

The Queen will likely have to abstain from the Royal Family's gift-giving tradition this Christmas

Queen's Christmas gift tradition to 'go out the window' for Windsor Castle celebrations
(Image credit: Getty)

The Queen's sweet Christmas gift tradition will likely be abandoned this year, as the monarch prepares for a lowkey winter holiday at Windsor Castle. 

The Queen is expected to skip her famous Christmas gift tradition this year, as part of another precaution against the UK's rising Covid rates. 

Buckingham Palace confirmed on Monday that Her Majesty's plans to host the Royal Family at Sandringham House for the festive season have been canceled, marking her second holiday in a row away from the Norfolk country estate. The disappointing news comes just a few days after the Queen canceled her Christmas lunch, amid concerns over the surge of the Omicron variant. 

The 95-year-old monarch will now remain at Windsor Castle for the annual celebration, where she will be joined by a handful of close relatives for a scaled-back gathering of delicious drinks and food. 

Palace officials have assured royal fans that visitors to the Queen's Berkshire home this weekend will follow "all appropriate guidelines" to ensure the festivities can go ahead as safely as possible. 

royal family making christmas puddings together

(Image credit: PA)

Unfortunately, these guidelines could force the royals to abstain from some of their favorite holiday pastimes—including their annual gift-giving tradition. It's no secret that the family exchange 'joke' presents every year, often treating one another to bargain goodies rather than splurging on luxurious goods. The fun activity is reportedly loved by the Queen, who 'burst out laughing' when she opened Meghan Markle's gift in 2017. 

WIDNES, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II attend a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widnes, England. Meghan Markle married Prince Harry last month to become The Duchess of Sussex and this is her first engagement with the Queen. During the visit the pair will open a road bridge in Widnes and visit The Storyhouse and Town Hall in Chester. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images))

Present rituals are unlikely to go ahead this year as per usual, however, with the royals intent on keeping socializing to a minimum. 

"I think all of that will go out the window. They just won’t want people mixing very much," royal commentator Phil Dampier told the Sun. “And then in the evening they used to play games of charades and things—but again I think that will be out of the window.”

It hasn't been confirmed which royals will be joining the Queen for Christmas, but it's understood that numbers will be limited to just 15 people. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with George and Charlotte on Christmas Day

(Image credit: Getty)

“It wouldn't surprise me if Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince Andrew and possibly Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex and maybe some others—a small hard core of people—join her for lunch," Phil added. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who live less than an hour away, are also expected to attend the festivities with their three children. The switch to Windsor Castle from Sandringham House is likely to cause changes to Kate and William's Christmas travel plans, with the former residence located conveniently closer to their Kensington Palace apartment. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.