Family Life

The Duggars’ Favorite Christmas Traditions

posted: 12/13/13
by: Michelle Duggar


Question from a "19 Kids and Counting" fan on Facebook: How does your family celebrate Christmas?

I think we do it a bit different in our family. Early in our marriage, Jim Bob and I really wanted to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. And so, we didn't focus on Santa. We kept that idea out of the whole celebration, we explained to the children who Santa Claus was historically, but focused on his good deeds and his ministering to children. We tell them about the true person of Saint Nicholas, but we don't sensationalize him. In fact, when our first kids were young, we probably didn't even bring that up at Christmas time. It was usually at a different time of year that we explained the whole idea of Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas.

Our goal was to bring out the real meaning of Christmas. It was Christ's day, the holy day of mass, Christ mass and what we're celebrating is the day that Christ was born. We explained that to them from the beginning and how it is a huge celebration. We really make it a big deal. Right after Thanksgiving, around the first of December, we begin to prepare and get excited about Christmas day and how we're going to celebrate the coming of Christ and how he came into the world.

It's an exciting time. We decorate. It's a big birthday party for Jesus. We make banners and put them all around the house and put out our nativity scene. We've got a big beautiful nativity that has the Christ child in the manger, Joseph and Mary and some of the wise men and the shepherds. That goes out on our counter and then we surround it with pretty white lights. And so, that's our big emphasis.

We have fun decorating and baking and doing all that, too, but I hope and pray that my children know that when they come out of our home and start their own homes that the central focus truly was the birth of Christ and how he set the example giving his life, how we in turn should be truly grateful for what Christ gave. And as we in turn give from our hearts the joy that God has given us, giving to others is really what I would hope that my children come away with as the focus of celebrating the Christmas season.

We frequently do mission trips before Christmas. That has been probably one of the best things we've ever done for our children. It teaches them about giving to others. When they come back from those mission trips right before Christmas, I've often heard them say, "Mom, I just don't even think I want to go Christmas shopping. I don't want anything. I have no needs." I've been so grateful to hear how it's impacted their lives. Truly in America, we are so blessed. We are so lucky that we have a home and a warm place to sleep when the majority of the people in the world are sleeping on a dirt floor and have barely anything to keep them warm at night. We don't take it for granted.

I think in doing all of those things we make our own traditions. We have fun memories here at home and yet our heart's desire is to give our children an even bigger vision for the world. And it's really not about us, but we can make special family memories. And it can be just as simple as sitting down and reading together and coming up with a creative way to share that good news with somebody else.

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