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How Prince William and Kate are planning a fun-packed family Christmas for George and Charlotte

by Emily Nash and Jane Dowdeswell

With exactly a month to go before the big day, families across the land are preparing for Christmas with their loved ones, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are no exception. Prince William and Kate are planning a traditional festive season for their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, packed with fun and games.

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The royal couple will join the Queen at Sandringham for at least part of the celebrations. George, three, and 19-month-old Charlotte will be reunited with their little cousins Mia Tindall, who turns three in January, and Savannah and Isla Phillips, aged five and four. The children will have key roles in helping to decorate the tree on Christmas Eve and there are sure to be plenty of gifts for eager tiny hands to unwrap.

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Prince George and Princess Charlotte will have key roles in helping to decorate the Christmas tree

Just last week, William spoke about the joy George and Charlotte have brought to his life and the gift of having a family of his own. The children will no doubt take centre stage at Christmas, with boisterous George relishing the seasonal fun.

"George is a right little rascal sometimes, he keeps me on my toes but he's a sweet boy," William has said. Of Charlotte, he added: "Bearing in mind I haven't had a sister, having a daughter is a very different dynamic. So I'm learning about having a daughter, having a girl in the family."

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Cuddly toys for animal-loving Charlotte will be on the royal's Christmas list

On the royal siblings' Christmas lists will be a selection of their favourite toys – planes, trains, building blocks and helicopters for George and cuddly toys for his animal-loving sister.

Christmas for the royal youngsters won't be all about gifts and festive food. Fresh air will be on the menu as they enjoy bracing family walks on the Sandringham Estate and, weather permitting, even a chance to play in the snow.

Charlotte, no doubt, will have the chance to indulge her love of horses. Kate has revealed how her little girl has a passion for ponies and is already riding. With her great-grandmother the Queen's stables close by, and cousin Mia's equestrian mum Zara on hand, she will have plenty of encouragement.

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The royals will attend the traditional Christmas Day service at Sandringham

In the run up to 25 December, the Cambridge children may enjoy some other family rituals. George made his first visit to Santa at the Thursford Christmas fair, near the family's country home Anmer Hall, two years ago. This year Charlotte will be ready to join her big brother at Santa's grotto.

The Cambridges will also celebrate with Kate's family over the festive period. The royal children will be reunited with their grandparents Carole and Michael Middleton, uncle James and auntie Pippa, who is preparing to wed her fiancé James Matthews in 2017.

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