The Queen Spends Almost $40,000 on Christmas Presents Every Year

The Queen shells out almost $40,000 on Christmas gifts for staff and family, according to the Sun—with a total of 620 people on her gift list.

london, united kingdom in this undated image supplied by sky news, queen elizabeth ii sits at a desk in the 1844 room at buckingham palace, as she records her christmas day broadcast to the commonwealth at buckingham palace, london photo by sky news via getty images
(Image credit: Handout)

Admittedly, nothing could feel less important than the holiday season right now—but if you're a fan of Christmas and looking for a little distraction, you might enjoy an insight into the absurd grandiosity of the holiday as a British royal. According to the Sun (opens in new tab)Queen Elizabeth II buys 620 Christmas presents (opens in new tab) for staff and family each year, spending about £30,000 (around $39,000). Which is...a lot of money!

The Queen doesn't select personalized gifts for each individual on her list, lest you were wondering how on earth she finds the time. Instead, a royal aide told the Sun, "The presents are usually a book token, or a small piece of china from the palace gift shop, and most years she gives them a small Christmas pudding in a box as well." 

Receiving the presents sounds like a rather formal affair: According to the aide, staff are directed by the Deputy Master of the Household to gather in one of Buckingham Palace's grand state rooms. "Here they line up to receive a wrapped gift from the Queen, and she says a few words to each of them— usually something like, 'Thank you so much for all your help during the year,' followed by 'Happy Christmas,'" the aide said (opens in new tab).

"If the staff are not able to be there on the specified days—they may be a ghillie working at Balmoral for example—the Household makes sure they are sent to them, along with a card from HM," the insider shared. Fancy!


princess elizabeth, later queen elizabeth ii with her husband phillip, duke of edinburgh, after their marriage, 1947 photo by © hulton deutsch collectioncorbiscorbis via getty images

(Image credit: Hulton Deutsch)

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.