The Royal Family Has A Surprising Gift-Giving Tradition On Christmas Eve

The royal family lives a lavish lifestyle, so you'd expect them to present each other with extravagant gifts on the holidays. They actually have a far more down-to-earth holiday tradition, though, and exchange gag gifts on Christmas Eve.

According to People, the royal family likes to get together for tea on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts, a practicing dating back to the mid-19th century when Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, introduced it. The royals enjoy giving each other quirky, inexpensive gifts at the tea. Past presents include a leather toilet seat given to Prince Charles by his sister, Princess Anne, and a "Grow Your Own Girlfriend" kit that Kate Middleton gave to Prince Harry.

Meghan Markle reportedly impressed the royal family in 2017 during her first Christmas with them. The newly engaged Meghan presented her future brother-in-law, Prince William, with a hilarious present: a spoon emblazoned with the words "cereal killer." Royal journalists Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote in the book Finding Freedom (via People) that the gift "was a huge hit" with the royals.

The royal family has quite a busy Christmas season

The royal family's surprising tradition is a way for them to let loose during a rather busy holiday season filled with a number of events. Per the Independent, Christmas is quite the formal affair in the royal family, with Christmas Eve dinner consisting of a six-course meal. Attendees are expected to wear formal attire to the event. On Christmas morning, the family attends church. Other royal holiday traditions include Christmas lunch and Queen Elizabeth's annual Christmas broadcast.

As noted by PopSugar, attendees at royal holiday events must "adhere to the queen's perfectly timed schedule" and follow a very particular dress code that demands a number of outfit changes. Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, reportedly complained about having to wear more than half a dozen outfits within a 24 hour period during the royal family's holiday celebrations.