With a never-ending barrage of gifts to buy, treats to bake, and to-do lists to check off, the holidays can be a stressful time. For large families, like the Duggars, this time of year could understandably be even more overwhelming. And if you're a fan of the ever-expanding brood's various TLC series and have wondered how in the world the Duggar family handles Christmas gifts with 40-plus people, you're in luck because Jessa Duggar recently shared some behind-the-scenes intel on how gift-giving goes down.
With 19 kids, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar are all too familiar with the stress that comes with having a ton of people to buy for around the holidays. Now that more and more of their adult children are getting married and having children of their own — thus living up to their TLC series Counting On — the logistics of Christmas gift-giving have only grown more complicated. (Not to mention, expensive.) What's a frugal, yet super-sized, family to do?
As it turns out, instead of having everyone purchase gifts for everyone else, the Duggars have a smart system to make Christmastime more doable for all parties involved. On Dec. 23, Jessa (Duggar) Seewald took to Instagram to share a photo of the back of her vehicle packed with presents. Her son, Henry, is flashing an adorable cheese face from among the wrapped packages. "My little gift wrapping buddy," the mom of three captioned her post.
When an Instagram user wondered, "Do you guys buy for every person in your family or how do you guys work it?" Jessa actually answered the follower's question.
"We do a gift exchange with my family. We draw names, and each person buys for one other family member," she replied. "We split guy/girls, and adults/kids, so 4 groups total. It’s so fun, and makes it where you can buy more meaningful gifts and not just dollar store trinkets for the 40+ of us." Makes perfect sense, right?
And it looks like the whole gang had a blast at the big house in Tontitown, Arkansas. The official Duggar family Instagram account posted two joy-filled posts featuring photos from their Christmas Day gathering. Josiah and Lauren Duggar, and their baby girl Bella were there. John and Abbie Duggar — who are expecting their first child, a baby girl — also came. Other Counting On couples spotted in the photos included: Jessa and Ben Seewald, and their three kids, Spurgeon, Henry, and Ivy; Joy-Anna and Austin Forsyth, and their son, Gideon; Joseph and Kendra Duggar, and their children, Garrett and Addison.
Couples not included in the photos were: Jill and Derrick Dillard and their two boys, Israel and Samuel; Anna and Josh Duggar, and their six children; along with Jinger and Jeremy Voulo and their daughter, Felicity. It makes sense that the Vuolos wouldn't be in Arkansas this Christmas, considering Jeremy, Jinger, and Felicity made a cross-country move from Laredo, Texas, to Los Angeles, California this past summer. As for the Dillards and the Josh/Anna branch? Perhaps they had plans with other family members at that time.
Jessa also took to her YouTube channel to share even more insight into the Duggar Christmas gathering. (Spoiler alert: It was definitely a busy place.) "We start with the youngest members of our family and work our way up to the oldest ones, opening up gifts," Jessa explains in the video. "There's no set number of gifts that you have to give, but usually it ends up being about three to five gifts per person."
After opening presents — which, I'm assuming takes quite a while — the Duggars get ready to eat. "Around 2 p.m., we have a big family meal, and my parents will usually have people over who don't have family in the area or won't be able to go home for the holidays," Jessa explains in the voiceover. "So it's just a big, family feast." Once they've filled their bellies, they start playing games — and generally just hang out together for however long they want.
Oh, and in case you were wondering: Michelle and Jim Bob definitely don't buy each of their kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids presents. They do, however, give everyone a goodie bag filled with candy. "My parents usually always do these little gift bags for each one of us with beef jerky and candy and special treats," Jessa explained while panning over the treats.
There you have it – Christmas Day Duggar style. Despite the sheer number of people and gifts, you know what? It's probably not all that different from most people's holiday gatherings with family.