The Duggar family does things in their own unique way, and the holidays are no exception. They do it big for Christmas, but their focus is on family and faith, rather than the commercialized version of the Christmas holiday of decorated trees and tons of wrapped presents. And these Christmas photos of the Duggars show where their holiday priorities lie.
Duggar family Christmas celebrations probably resemble the Christmas holidays of your childhood, with a few exceptions. While they do participate in a gift exchange, they strictly keep Santa Clause and Christmas trees out of the equation, according to People. Rather than trim a tree, Michelle and Jim Bob hang up a giant birthday banner for Baby Jesus and the family spends time together focusing on Bible studies. Michelle explained the families rationale to People, saying:
I think the fun part about it is that we make precious memories together as a family and just getting to sit down with all of us in the living room and have Dad read the story of the first Christmas, the Scriptures and Luke and getting to sing Happy Birthday Jesus and having a special celebration, we look forward to it the whole month of December.
Michelle and Jim Bob are sure to snap plenty of photos of their large family during the holidays and share them to social media for fans to follow. It is through their posts that many of the Duggar family Christmas traditions are shared.
While Michelle and Jim Bob's home may not feature a Christmas tree, they aren't completely absent from the family photos. Jinger Duggar Vuolo posted her pregnancy announcement to Instagram last December with a Christmas tree in the corner of the photo. No mention of how her parents feel about her decision to include it in her holiday decorations.
Last Christmas, the Duggar family's official Facebook page featured a photo of Josh and Anna Duggar's youngest daughter Meredith Grace in the middle of a very festive scene. The caption read, "It looks like someone is trying to help put the final touches up for Christmas decorations!"
Even the littlest members of the Duggar family attend the annual Christmas celebrations.
Also from last year, a few members of the family were shown on Facebook making gingerbread houses, a more secular celebration than some of their other festivities, but a tradition in many houses.
Jana was also featured on the family Facebook page last year, baking up a storm. One post showed her baking fresh bread and another with cooling trays of cookies. The Duggars are big on family mealtimes, so it makes sense that cooking and baking would be at the center of their celebrations.
In 2015, Jana was shown working on a different sort of project. She drew and put together a decorative nativity scene for the family, showcasing their dedication to keeping the Christ in Christmas. That likely wasn't the only nativity scene in the house that year, as In Touch Weekly pointed out that numerous manger scenes are often posted around the Dugger home during the holidays. Three can be seen in the 2014 Christmas tour video and a fancy light-up version is displayed in a NBC news story on the family from 2009.
A 2010 throwback photo of some of the family showcases their annual gift exchange. While gifts are a part of their holiday, they aren't the family's main focus. Gifts are done as a sort of secret Santa exchange, where members of the family exchange names and older siblings are matched with younger siblings to shop for, according to In Touch Weekly. Michelle and Jim Bob also purchase a few small things for the kids and hide them around the property.
Instead of stockings, the Duggar children receive personalized gift bags with that have snacks like Pringles, beef jerky, and a jar of pickles inside. Life in a big family often means that kids go without their specific favorites, but Michelle explained to Focus on the Family that Christmas is the exception:
Almost all of us like pickles, but each one likes a different kind. 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.
Along with treating themselves a little bit, the Duggars also give back during the holidays. They reportedly donate goodie baskets of fruit, candy, tissues, and Bibles to those in their community in need. Other traditions include sending out Christmas cards and singing Christmas carols, according to Focus on the Family.
The Duggars are equal parts familiar and unique, and perhaps that is the source of their charm. From side hugs to pickle-filled gift bags, there is no shortage of interesting traditions and quirks to examine.