Christmas time ushers in a wealth of family traditions many look forward to all year round.
For the first few years of my life, the biggest dilemma around Christmas time was deciding whether I wanted to be an angel or a shepherd for my family's Christmas party nativity reenactment that I looked forward to every year.
And I'm kind of glad Facebook wasn't around to immortalize my choice every Christmas Eve.
But now that social media apps are around, many other family traditions such as Christmas shopping, caroling, parties, baking holiday treats, secret Santa, and many others are shared with family and friends more than ever before.
And that's usually about all who the traditions were meant to be shared with—family and friends.
But with social media comes the inevitable comments and posts from everyone. I've seen everything from posts about how this particular tradition takes away from the Christmas spirit. Or don't buy your kids more than a certain amount of presents because that's not what the holidays are all about.
And, yeah, that may be what that family does as their Christmas tradition, but that shouldn't mean people can tear apart other traditions that don't make sense to them.
Christmas is a time to remember Christ and celebrate His birth. How individual families choose to do that is up to them. Traditions that celebrate Christ's birth can be very personal.
While it can be easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas, who is to say if one seemingly unrelated tradition to one person can serve as a reminder of Christ to others?
And if there are traditions you feel don't help keep your focus on the Savior during Christmas, then you and your family have to decide whether to dump them or not—not your cousin's best friend from high school who follows you on Instagram.
It's important to maintain a balance in your family Christmas traditions just as it's important to refrain from criticizing others for how they celebrate the holiday with their family.
And maybe filling our lives with comparing our family traditions to the other traditions families enjoy is not what we should be spending our time on around Christmas.
As President Uchtdorf said in the Ensign article "How to See the Christ in Christmas:"
This is a season of rejoicing! A season of celebration! A wonderful time when we acknowledge that our Almighty God sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem the world! To redeem us!
It is a season of charitable acts of kindness and brotherly love. It is a season of being more reflective about our own lives and about the many blessings that are ours. It is a season of forgiving and being forgiven.
But perhaps most of all, let it be a season of seeking the Lamb of God, the King of Glory, the Everlasting Light of the World, the Great Hope of Mankind, the Savior and Redeemer of our souls.
I promise that if we unclutter our lives a little bit and in sincerity and humility seek the pure and gentle Christ with our hearts, we will see Him, we will find Him—on Christmas and throughout the year.
So unclutter your Christmas traditions if you feel that's best for your family. But also realize that the way others celebrate the birth of Christ is personal. There is no one way for a Latter-day Saint to celebrate Christmas. As long as a family feels a tradition brings them together or focuses on the Savior, who's to say it's a Christmas tradition that takes more time than it's worth?