This Is How Much The Queen Spends On Christmas Gifts Each Year

Even if you're Queen Elizabeth, monarch of the United Kingdom as well as Head of the Commonwealth, you have to have some kind of Christmas budget, especially when your Christmas list includes both family and staff that care for various palaces and estates around the country — a tally that adds up to a whopping 620 presents.

There's also the matter of preparing and sending out an astounding number of Christmas cards, and handing out festive Christmas pudding. So how much can the queen expect to spend every holiday between the gifts and the cards and the pudding? 

The queen sends hundreds of Christmas cards every year

Even in the age of e-cards and paperless greetings, members of the British royal family, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, still send out Christmas cards. Express says the royal family's most senior members have a Christmas card list made up of about 750 people. This includes family members and friends, of course, as well as recipients outside the family's immediate circle. Cards are sent to an unspecified list of foreign and national figures, British and Commonwealth Prime Ministers, High Commissions, and Governors-General. Prince Philip has his own Christmas card list, and reportedly sends a card to each of about 200 organizations he has close associations with. 

This list does not include the Christmas cards sent out by other members of the royal family, including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who have their own lists of friends and charities to send cards to (via Her). 

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip like giving out Christmas pudding

A festive Christmas pudding is an important part of any British holiday feast, which is why Hello! says Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip give one to every staff member in the royal household, which includes about 550 people, along with workers in the Court Post Office and Palace police.

The puddings used to be sourced from upmarket department stores Harrods or Fortnum & Mason — both of which held a warrant as royal grocer — but Hello! reports that the puddings now come from supermarket chain Tesco. We can only imagine the switch would have resulted in a big cost benefit to the queen's Christmas budget, especially since each yearly order from the palace totals around 1,500 puddings.

Which staff members gets presents from Queen Elizabeth?

Aside from a Christmas pudding, The Mirror says the queen also usually gives a gift to everyone who works in the royal household, as long as they have been in service for more than a year. The budget for junior staff members is set at £25 (or about $33), and the maximum for more senior staff is set at £35 (or $46).

A former aide explained to Fabulous Digital (via The Sun), "The gifts are all chosen online by two women in HM's private secretary's office now, but until fairly recently the Queen used to be able to go on a shopping spree of her own, when chosen stores — principally Harrods and Fortnums — would send van loads of stuff for her to look at. All the items were put on display on tables in two big room at Buckingham Palace. It was like her very own royal shopping mall. But it's not done now, it's one of those things that she doesn't really need to expend her energy on as she gets older."

The queen's annual Christmas budget is jaw-droppingly huge

Gift-buying at Buckingham Palace is a more straightforward affair these days. The former aide told Fabulous Digital via The Sun that gifts are now selected and purchased online by two women in the queen's private office. "The presents are usually a book token or a small piece of china from the palace gift shop," the source said. 

Up to two weeks before the festivities begin, the Deputy Master of the Household sends the staff — from aides and equerries and accountants to maids and footmen — to a stateroom where they line up to receive a wrapped gift from the queen herself. Her festive message, the former aide says, hardly changes: "Thank you so much for all your help during the year... Happy Christmas." If staff cannot appear personally, their gifts are mailed along with a card.

To cover the cost of 620 Christmas presents (that's for staff and family), plus all those Christmas cards and puddings, the queen can look forward to spending about £30,000 — or nearly $40,000 — each year.