Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are preparing to enjoy their first Christmas in California, after moving there in March and buying their own home over the summer.
The couple, who are parents to Archie, one, spent last Christmas out of the UK as well, as they took an extended break in Canada, which is where they developed their plans to step back as senior royals.
The Californian climate is likely to make this festive season a little different for the royal couple, with temperatures around the 15C mark on the west coast at the moment – a far cry from the rain and fog experienced by their British family.
Before she met Harry, Meghan spoke about her favourite festive traditions in an interview with Grazia, even sharing her go-to cocktail recipe.
In their video calls since moving to their US home, the couple has been sat in front of framed birds nest prints.
If her 2015 tips are anything to go by, the frames might soon be adorned with “garland or magnolia branches”, which she suggested look great around a mirror or pictures.
She mentioned picking up fancy looking platters from Etsy or flea markets, to make passing around snacks more formal.
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Meghan also suggested celebrating Christmas with friends instead of family.
She said: “Holidays with your friends allows you to break the family traditions and avoid Aunt Julie’s fruit cake! Have each of your friends bring a dish or cook together in the kitchen. If you do not have a proper set-up, use your dining room table or kitchen counter as a buffet.”
Restrictions on gatherings because of the pandemic would make it hard for Harry and Meghan to invite many of their friends over this year.
During Thanksgiving, they revealed they were marking the day quietly, which they are likely to do over Christmas too.
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While Harry’s family is a few thousand miles away in the UK, Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland is nearby to celebrate with.
In the Grazia interview, Meghan, now 39, suggested a bourbon based cocktail with almond milk and dates makes a great festive tipple.
Meghan’s decor for the holiday season is likely to be neat and minimal too, as she previously advised going for an all white look.
She said: “When creating a table-scape, keep it simple and crisp with an all white tablecloth, runner and napkins. Accent with gilded plates and napkin rings and use a stylish set of cutlery. All white flowers placed in the low vases are the perfect centrepiece.”
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With a sunnier climate, California enjoys putting its own spin on Christmas traditions. According to California wine club, short sleeves and shorts aren’t uncommon on 25 December in the southern part of the state, while “curling up in front of the fire with the air conditioning going is not unheard of”.
In Canada, Harry and Meghan enjoyed hikes in the forest, but in California, they may pop out for a Christmas Day stroll along the beach.
It’s also a tradition for some Californians to enjoy tamales on Christmas Eve, a recipe Meghan knows well. In July, she and Harry volunteered with Homeboy Industries, which runs several cafes throughout LA, and a source revealed Meghan had learnt her tamale recipe when she was a teenager.
Last year the couple released a photo montage of some of their annual highlights. With no social media account this year, and a much quieter 12 months thanks to the pandemic, they may just share a Christmas card photo with their followers another way.
The couple can also look forward to getting involved in some local traditions with their community in Santa Barbara.
In California, many towns run a Parade of Lights, with boats on the harbour being decorated for the festivities.
COVID-19 means the parade will be online this year, but Harry and Meghan can look forward to taking Archie to see the decorations in future years.
The couple could still cast their vote on social media for their favourite entries.