Inside Australia’s biggest family’s Christmas

Inside Australia’s biggest family’s Christmas

For most families, Christmas is a time for food, fun and family.

The same can be said for Jeni Bonell’s brood — expect at a super-size scale.

The Queenslander is proud mum to 16, nine sons and seven daughters, with husband Ray.

Add in a gaggle of six grandkids and it’s bound to be a festive season bursting at every seam.

The family are believed to be one of Australia’s largest with children, ranging from 32 to seven, are all biological offspring and include no multiple births.

But despite the unanimous love for all things Christmas, Jeni is not one to deny how much work can go in to pulling off the super-sized show.

Camera IconThe Bonell family is made up of Jeni, Ray and their 19 offspring. Credit: News Regional Media“Plans for next Christmas start as soon as this Christmas is over,” she said.

“The older children who work do a ‘not-so-Secret Santa’ — everybody knows who they are buying for.

“Everyone buys for the younger kids and Santa comes to those under the age of 18.

“It’s not so much about kids being happy with what they get, it’s more about being grateful for the thoughtfulness of the gifts.”

In terms of festive food offerings, the Bonell’s spread is likely to rival even what large extended families are plating up.

“We have a 5-6kg ham, one large turkey, a couple of roast chickens and some fresh prawns,” she said.

Camera IconThe Bonell with several of their 16 children. Credit: Supplied“This is eaten with fresh green salads and homemade potato salad. Dessert is traditional with plum pudding, custard, ice cream and fruit salad. I spend a lot of time at the supermarket so I’m always picking up items for our Christmas lunch.”

But despite all the trappings, Jeni says her favourite part of her mammoth Christmas celebrations is simply spending time with love ones.

“At the end of Christmas Day I sit in my lounge room with the tree and the lights still sparkling. I’m exhausted and with no gifts left under the tree it makes me a little bit sad because it’s all over for another year,” she said.

“Then my kids will wander into the room and I get hugs and thank yous and their happy contented faces give me so much joy. It’s wonderful to know that we got through another Christmas together as a family.

“And then the planning starts for the next year.”

Keep up with the Bonell family, here.

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