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By Joanna Crawley On December 24, 2013

From Kate Middleton's Joke Gifts To Prince Harry's Favourite Cider: How The Royals Celebrate Christmas

The whole family are at Sandringham for the big day

Christmas is a very traditional affair for the royals but with the biggest guest list for years and some new faces around the dinner table, the 2013 festive season looks set to be an extra special one for the Queen and her nearest and dearest.

While 2012 saw Prince Harry eating turkey with the troops in Afghanistan and brother William celebrating with Kate Middleton and her family, this year everyone will descend on the Queen's royal estate of Sandringham in Norfolk.

Even Kate's parents are invited, the first time in-laws have spent time at a royal Christmas, with HM the Queen reportedly keen that everyone would should have the chance to see Kate and William's son Prince George celebrate his first Christmas.

While Her Majesty has been at Sandringham for a few days (and will stay put until February) festivities officially begin when everyone else starts arriving on December 23.

Everything runs like clockwork as each family member is issued with an arrival time and according to the Daily Mail, upon their arrive they are given a time table and room plan by the master of the household.

Kate Middleton and Prince William are celebrating their first Christmas as parents to Prince George (WENN)

After taking tea and finishing off the 18ft Christmas tree with the final decorations, the family gather to open pressies on Chritsmas Eve, a tradition among the royals with the Queen reserving Christmas Day for religious celebrations.

Gifts are laid out on a trestle table where each royal is given a section for their gifts. Don't expect luxe presents though, with the royals traditionally exchanging joke gifts such as the "Grow Your Own Girlfriend" kit that Kate gave Harry last year. As they open their gifts the family sip Sandringham cider brewed from the estate's own apples, said to be a particular favourite of William and Harry.

Christmas day morning is spent at Sandringham parish church where around a 1000 wellwishers gather to catch a glimpse of the royals every year. A turkey lunch and the Queen's speech rounds up the big day, although HM is said to disappear to another room when she appears on the telly!

Check out more on what happens at a royal Christmas in our video above.

Tags : Kate Middleton, Prince Charles, Prince William

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