In most of the books, Harry and friends wake up on Christmas morning with a pile of presents on the foot of their beds.

Has it ever been clarified how exactly they got there? (I have a good number of guesses and I assume it's pretty basic magic by the staff or house elves, but has it ever been said?)

  • 11
    The same way as the common room gets cleaned, I would assume: the house elves bring them.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 18, 2016 at 22:07
  • @Rand al'Thor - Yes and also it could be similar to food in the Great Hall. They could lay all the presents out by recipient and then magic them to the right beds at a specified time on Christmas morning.
    – ThruGog
    Aug 18, 2016 at 22:37
  • 12
    You mean it's not Santa Claus???
    – user14111
    Aug 18, 2016 at 22:40
  • 4
    @user14111 - He delivers them to Hogwarts, I'm wondering how they're distributed ;-)
    – ThruGog
    Aug 18, 2016 at 23:02
  • 1
    umm... because magic!
    – Skooba
    Aug 19, 2016 at 13:26

3 Answers 3


Some are delivered in person

The mechanics of gift-giving in Harry Potter are something of a mystery. In the second book, Hermione delivers her presents in person:

Christmas morning dawned, cold and white. Harry and Ron, the only ones left in their dormitory, were woken very early by Hermione, who burst in, fully dressed and carrying presents for them both.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

As did Dobby:

Dobby now handed Harry a small package, which turned out to be — socks.

“Dobby is making them himself, sir!” the elf said happily. “He is buying the wool out of his wages, sir!”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Many are brought by owls

On the one hand, Hedwig delivered the Dursleys' present :

At that moment, Hedwig swooped into the room, carrying a very small package in her beak.

“Hello,” said Harry happily as she landed on his bed. “Are you speaking to me again?”

She nibbled his ear in an affectionate sort of way, which was a far better present than the one that she had brought him, which turned out to be from the Dursleys. They had sent Harry a toothpick and a note telling him to find out whether he’d be able to stay at Hogwarts for the summer vacation, too.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

On the other hand, in Sorcerer's Stone the Dursleys' presents were left at the foot of Harry's bed:

A second, very small parcel contained a note. We received your message and enclose your Christmas present. From Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia. Taped to the note was a fifty-pence piece.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Hedwig had previously brought him unsolicited notes from Hagrid, so it seems quite possible that the Dursleys (after some pecking) sent a package back with her.

Given that the owls seem to be able to fly right into the dormitories, it seems likely that many presents are delivered in precisely this manner. Owls are, after all, very quiet in flight, and are the standard means of delivering packages in the wizarding world.

In particular, the protagonists frequently receive packages from each other, or from other students. It's not likely, for example, that Hermione crept into Harry's dormitory to deliver Chocolate Frogs:

His next present also contained candy — a large box of Chocolate Frogs from Hermione.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Since they don't know about the house-elves until more or less the middle of the series, it seems most likely that they sent these by owl.


We already know that Hogwarts has some system that is able to sort students' belongings and deliver them to the students in their dormitories. As we see in Philosopher's Stone:

A voice echoed through the train: "We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes' time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken to the school separately."

Percy directed the girls through one door to their dormitory and the boys through another. At the top of a spiral staircase — they were obviously in one of the towers — they found their beds at last: five four-posters hung with deep red velvet curtains. Their trunks had already been brought up.

If Hogwarts can manage to get everyone's luggage from the train to their individual dormitories, it should be able to get the presents there the same way.


We know of at least 3 methods from the books. First of all, house-elves deliver some. In Half-Blood Prince, Harry assumes house-elves have delivered Ron's birthday presents:

He threw the package across on to Ron’s bed, where it joined a small pile of them that must, Harry assumed, have been delivered by house-elves in the night.

Secondly, other students can deliver presents to each other. Hermione is shown to do this in Chamber of Secrets:

Harry and Ron, the only ones left in their dormitory, were woken very early by Hermione, who burst in, fully dressed and carrying presents for them both.

Finally, owls are also seen delivering presents (presumably from friends/family members outside of Hogwarts).

At that moment, Hedwig swooped into the room, carrying a very small package in her beak.

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