Too often, Christmas becomes about the gifts instead of the traditions. We all get so wrapped up in the material aspects of the holiday, we forget about the religious meaning.
The Duggar family does not have this issues, however. While they often face criticism for their strict religious beliefs, their Christmas celebrations are something to be admired.
Keep Christ In Christmas
As would be expected, the Duggars focus on the religious aspects of Christmas. They hang banners around the house that says "Happy Birthday, Jesus", "Christ Is Born!" and "Joy To The World!" They also sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas Day, which is a tradition that must be fun with so many young kids around.
Michelle Duggar also uses JOY as an acronym during the holiday season, which stands for "Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last."
Jim Bob Duggar also gathers the family around and reads the story of Christ's birth from the scriptures. The house is always well-decorated, with nativity scenes being spotted all over during their Christmas tour video.
There's no Santa Claus in the Duggar household, as they don't want to take away from the birth of Christ as the reason for the season.
Buying gifts for a family of five can be hard enough, so a family of 21+ sounds impossible. That's why the Duggars have devised a system of gift-giving that makes things easier on everyone. At Thanksgiving dinner, the family picks names in a Secret Santa-style gift exchange. Younger siblings are matched with younger siblings, while older siblings are matched with older siblings. Jim Bob and Michelle buy gifts for each child and each other.
In addition to their special gift, each child also gets a personalized gift bag including Pringles, beef jerky, and a jar of pickles.
"Almost all of us like pickles, but each one likes a different kind," Michelle Duggar said. "Same with the Pringles and the beef jerky. Christmas is the one time of year when every child gets their favorite flavor of each treat."
In addition to giving each other gifts, the family also puts together care packages for those less fortunate. Each basket contains:
- Vitamin C packets
- a Bible
They also bake for members of the community, like the fire and police departments, or anyone else who has had a "rough year."
But amidst all their Christmas decor, two things are noticeably gone. One is not that big of a deal...but the other means there could be trouble in the family.
Though their halls may seem decked, there's one thing the Duggars don't have: a Christmas tree. They have a small, fake tree that they use as a symbol, but other than that they think the tree takes away from the religious aspects of Christmas. Although, that wasn't always the case.
"When we were growing up there was the big tree and all that and we knocked it over several times," Josh shared many years ago.
No Josh, Either
After the news of his cheating, prostitution, and molestation scandals all broke at once, Josh Duggar has been persona non grata at Duggar family Christmases. After his scandals, Josh checked himself into rehab, with the family issuing the following statement:
"Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives. When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before. Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles everyday. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God's kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us "” even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey "” the good times and the difficult times "” cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything."
According to sources connected with TLC, however, God cannot bring you through Christmas with your disgraced son.
"Jinger was playing piano, kids were running around with toys," the source said. "It was a normal Christmas just without Josh there. It didn't feel like an elephant was in the room, Josh has been away for so long, it's just become normal to have him gone. If some of the family went to see him, that is definitely not something everyone in the family knew."