With the holiday season approaching, the Duggar family’s religious views and how those affect their Christmas celebration are again the subject of debate. Citing older videos clips and the family’s past statements, many fans believe that the Duggar family do not put up a Christmas tree or exchange presents, instead focusing their celebration on the birth of Christ. However, if the family used to eschew these traditions, they no longer do.
According to a Shared story this week, the Duggar family has described their traditions, including their Christmas tree — or rather, the lack of. The article notes that the Duggar family says they don’t erect a tree, because it’s a distraction from the true meaning of Christmas.
Michelle Duggar, in a video with eldest son Josh, does say this, in 2014, in a video released to their YouTube channel.
Josh tells the camera, “People say, why don’t the Duggars have a big, massive, Christmas tree?”
Michelle Duggar responds. “Well, we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. So we have a big ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ banner, and ‘Christ is Born,’ and ‘Peace on Earth,’ and we’re really trying to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.”
Josh goes on to say that when he was little, the family had a big Christmas tree, and it got knocked down a lot as the kids ran through the house playing.
However, the Duggar family’s decision to skip the tree doesn’t appear to have lasted. In 2015, Josh Duggar wasn’t presenting a video tour of the household. Instead, he was staying out of the public eye to a great degree, after In Touch had published a police report earlier in the year, describing the molestation of several young girls at his hands.
However, his sister Jessa Seewald was under no such restrictions, and released a video of Jinger (then Duggar, now Vuolo) playing piano. Behind her is a decorated Christmas tree. It’s not the ‘massive’ tree Josh says people expect the family to have. However, it’s a bit bigger than the tabletop version he showed in the 2014 video, and more traditionally decorated, with red and gold balls, rather than the acronym ‘J.O.Y.’ — which Josh said in 2014 served to remind the Duggar household to put Jesus first, others next, and yourself last.
In 2016, Jessa showed the Duggar family Christmas tree again, this time a full-sized one, on her Instagram as she entered the house for an early-morning gift exchange.
What about before 2014?
While the Duggar family’s social media, blogs, and video clips don’t appear to show or mention a Christmas tree in their holiday festivities in 2013 or 2012, the Duggar Family Blog does describe a Christmas tree in 2011 as part of the family’s annual festivities.
“After dinner, the family gathers around the Christmas tree (decorated this year by Jessa and Jinger) for an evening of carols, board games, hot apple cider, and plenty of wrapping paper!”
It appears Josh’s statement in 2014 might have represented a gap of as much as three years in which the Duggar family didn’t erect a Christmas tree. However, they have decorated trees in their home both in the Christmas seasons a few years before, and every Christmas since, that video was released — though so far, of the family, only Jinger Vuolo has shared photos in 2017 showing a Christmas tree.