Australian Family Of 16 Kids Reveals Secret To Stress-Free Christmas

Stress free family Christmas secrets
James Graham


Dec 19, 2020

Thought you had it rough this Christmas with corralling so many family members under one roof for presents and a festive feast?

Spare a thought then for Queensland supermum Jeni Bonell, 47, who has the largest brood of any Australian family – 16 children between the ages of two and 26.

The family guzzles 50 litres of milk a week, eats about $600 worth of groceries a week and washes about 30 kilograms of clothes a day.

Jeni says she starts to prepare for the Christmas meal on December 23.

“We stick with the traditional ham, turkey and chicken,” Jeni tells the Today Show.

“We’ll do homemade potato salad, tossed salad, plum pudding, trifle and it’s gone, just as fast. There are no leftovers. Everything gets consumed!

Jeni and husband Ray, 48, say a Godsend this year is the distraction of a new PlayStation4 from PlayStation Australia.

“They feel like it’s becoming a babysitter for them,” says Jeni.

“But I take the opposite view of that. Putting them down there and playing some of the games is really quite educational.

“We love to sit down and watch movies together too and just share the family time together too.”

PlayStation Australia recruited the Toowoomba family to assist with its new research that uncovered how Australian parents kept the family entertained.

The study found 74 per cent of parents get their entertainment fix through streamed movie and TV content.

The research also revealed streaming home entertainment helped Australian families spend time together, with one in five parents watching their favourite streamed TV shows together as a family.

Jeni tells The Northern Star that the virtual reality headset is a highlight.

“We’ve just been having wholesome fun and the thing that really blew us away is the headset – it’s unbelievable how realistic it is,” she says.

“I love to watch dad in the headset and watching the kids play the game with him on the controllers.”

As for the perennial question of adding more children to the current line-up – Jesse, 26, Brooke, 25, Claire, 23, Natalie, 21, Karl, 19, Samuel, 18, Cameron, 16, Sabrina, 15, Timothy, 13, Brandon, 11, Eve, 10, Nate, nine, Rachel, eight, Eric, six, Damian, five, and Katelyn, two – Jeni and Ray say watch this space.

“I don’t want to sound greedy, but yes, we would love to have more,” Jeni adds with a smile.


By James Graham


With over 20 years as a journalist and TV producer, James Graham has a wealth of experience covering the full media spectrum. James has a formidable reputation as a talented media veteran and worked as a reporter, script writer and as the producer of the TV documentary The Road To Athens. He has worked across newspapers, radio and the biggest flagship magazine brands in Australia and New Zealand. Previously, James was the News Director at Woman's Day and New Idea. Whether filing celebrity exclusives, or some of the biggest real-life splashes of recent years, James’ career has always been at the frontline of mainstream media. When not writing, you’ll find him at Royal Randwick, his beloved Long Reef Golf Club on the Northern Beaches – or visiting his mum in his native New Zealand.


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