The time when we say "Feliz Navidad" and "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" to friends and strangers alike and say it with a smile because this time is supposed to be a joyous one.
The time when I run into bargain stores looking for nice but thoughtful presents and keep worrying that I'll leave someone off my list.
My chest starts to ache from the sheer panic of not having my Christmas cards done in time.
That's when my mom's voice plays in my head, "Xiomara, Christmas isn't about presents."
She's right, of course, but I can't help but feel I need to remind my family and friends that I love them.
I remember, as a child, ripping off the wrapping paper from a Cabbage Patch doll or CD player or jewelry box and proudly holding them up for the camera.
I cherish those moments, not for the gifts that were lost or handed down, but for the people who gave them--my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends.
I grew up believing that "Jesus is the reason for the season," and if there's anything to take from the message of Jesus' life on earth, it's to give of yourself generously.
And I don't mean gifts.
I mean your love. Because we don't know how long we will have our loved ones with us. So I will hug my mom, my dad, my sister, my partner, my children and my niece tightly and tell them how much I love them today and tomorrow and as often as I can though the end of 2012 and into 2013.
I'm wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa and a Awesome Winter Solstice to all of my readers and your families.