Your Holiday Mom: Mom Sara

Dear Holiday Child,

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. I know 2017 has been a rough year for many of us, but there have also been moments of hope and strength. The holidays of Hannukah and Christmas, which my family celebrate, are a time to create light, warmth and joy in the darkness. They are a time for friendship, for love, and for generosity. And you ARE loved, I want you to know that – in my home you are welcomed and celebrated for who you are. You’re exactly who we want to spend these holidays with!

So now that you’re here, we’ll start by putting the finishing decorations on the huge tree we’ve set up in the dining room. Can you pick out your favorite ornament and hang it right there in the middle, where everyone can see it? Then we’ll add a lot of tinsel so the whole tree sparkles and shines when we turn on the colorful string of lights. We’re still a week away from Christmas which means it’s still Hannukah, so we’ll also light our menorah.

While you were finishing up those decorations, I started warming some spiced apple cider on the stove. Yum! I can also make you hot chocolate with marshmallows and peppermint sticks. I’ve got the holiday music playing, everything from classic carols sung by Bill Crosby to the soundtrack for the Muppets Family Christmas. All of these songs remind me of the importance of sharing love and kindness not just during the holidays but throughout the year. I hope you don’t mind listening to my bad singing!

We’ll roll out the sugar cookie dough I made earlier and cut it into fun shapes before decorating with colorful sprinkles. I made them vegan and gluten-free so everyone can enjoy them! Once they’re done we’ll add some festive icing. Everyone gets a chance to decorate their own cookie just the way they like it.

Our friends, your honorary aunts and uncles, are arriving for a night of board games and food, a delicious potluck everyone’s contributed to – sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cornbread stuffing, and apple pie are just some of the food we’ll be enjoying. Everyone is just so glad you could join us for a night of silliness and good-natured competition.

At the end of the night when everyone’s gone home, you and I will curl up under our blankets to talk. I want you to tell me about your life, about your hopes and dreams, your goals for 2018 and your reflections on 2017. I want to know what makes you shine. I want to know who you love.

My wish for you in 2018 is that you know love, that you experience moments of beauty and that you hold on to the hope that things will always be better.

Your holiday mom, Sara

Your Holiday Mom: Mamma Donna

Hello, my darling.  I know you didn’t want to get out of bed for most of this year (neither did I), but you did and I am so proud of you for doing so.  Trust.  It was hard, but we both made it through – and that’s saying something.  Here’s to us!

We’re still here, that hasn’t changed and we’re still as fabulous as we were before.  Heartsick, weary and battered, sure.  But we endure and that’s what matters.

I am so proud of you, no matter what.  You’re here, and that’s amazing.  Nothing could ever replace the you-shaped space you make in this world, and your very presence is all the gift I could ever ask for.  That’s the biggest thing you could ever give me – more You.  Tuck it away someplace, drag it out when the haters get you down.  My mother gave that to me when I was your age – it’s served me well.

We’re going to open the house up again on Christmas Eve, just like I did with my late husband did with his family growing up.  His father had worked with a number of people who had defected from their home countries after WWII and had no way to return home for the holidays.  Being Swiss, he had thought this nonsense and had simply brought everyone home with him.

We open the doors to everybody, we don’t care who comes in.  Can you smell the candles burning?  Or the cookies baking?  I always try to bake at least one batch during the day so anyone coming over can have some warm out of the oven (and they make the house smell incredible).  I’ve started finding and wrapping little presents, nothing big – but it wouldn’t be the holidays without a little something-something, so I’ve started looking into the sales and dollar stores for things I can give away.  The little towels that expand out when you get them wet are my favorites!

We always watch a lot of television, play frisbee and eat too much junk food too.  Oh well.

My wish for you is the same now, as it always has been.  I wish for you a beautiful life, my holiday child.  You mean so much to us, now and forever, I wish I could say with mere words.  However it comes down, know you are loved for who you are.  That never changes.

May you find some magic, and sweep up some luck from the sidewalks.

Love Always,

Mamma Donna

Your Holiday Mom: HolliMama

Dear Holiday Child,

I can hardly believe the Christmas turkey has been ordered, and I am hoping I can get everyone together for a picture for our holiday card. I am imagining you with us. You and your brothers and sister-in-law will be trying not to laugh at some joke while I take a million pictures. Of course, this year we also have your baby niece in the photo with you, which means two new blessings.

As this Mama gets older, I fuss less about the state of my kitchen floor, whether the front-door wreath is decorated, or if the kitten has rolled tree ornaments down the hallway.  Instead, I want to focus on visiting with my children, and relaxing in front of the fire.  When you and I sit on the yellow couch, with our legs stretched toward each other and three cats draped across us (the black lab has his new bone on the floor so he is happy too,) what will we say?  I hope you will tell me about your hard times as well as the good.  I hope you tell me what frightens and what delights you.  And most of all, I hope you tell me about your dreams.  Then I can share how proud I am of you; how I see who you are now—creative, intelligent, determined, and full of light.  I can also see the adult you are becoming, and it fills me with happiness. You will work passionately toward goals that are important to you. You will be comfortable in your own skin, and thoughtful and welcoming of others who seem a bit lost or have been hurt by the world.  You will love and be loved.  This future may be difficult for you to see right now.  I know it is not always easy being you.  Please remember that this family admires and respects all you do to be your best true self.

When we fall silent and become mesmerized by the tree, full of years worth of child-made ornaments, I will tell you about your Dad’s and my first Christmas together.  He wanted large, white tree lights that didn’t blink.  I wanted small, multi-colored lights that flashed all at different times.  So we blended our traditions and have swaged strands of small, multicolored lights (non-blinking!) each year.  When you have your own home, I wonder what you will choose?  Will you and your future love start your own traditions?  I cannot wait to see.

This season, and every other, you are in my heart.  I will forever send you thoughts of love, comfort, confidence and joy.  You are special, not just to me, but to all of us.  Be safe.  Be you.

I love you, my wonderful Holiday Child.

Love,

HolliMama

Your Holiday Mom: Mom Ricki

Mama Ricki here again. Been thinking about you this year – what a year! Talk about your ups and downs. We watched this country go through some intense moments. And I get the feeling that you went through some intense moments too.

My daughter and I are preparing to light the Hannukah Menorah for all eight nights of Hannukah this year, and to send you our wishes each and every night of Hannukah. But here’s a secret – they’re not wishes at all – they’re reminders of the strength and beauty that is inside of you.

First – a quick introduction to my daughter, who introduced me to this website in the first place (thank you Sarah!). Sarah came out to me when she was 14.

Was I surprised? Not really. Was my reaction perfectly accepting? I hope so! I told her that I didn’t really care who she loved, as long as that person saw her as a special and beautiful person, and treated her with respect and kindness. Love and acceptance. Kindness.

Before Hannukah starts, we’ll do our holiday shopping – always scarves and mittens for her! (You too, right? The fuzzy ones?) This year we lost our beloved cat, and I already picked out the kitty socks and mittens for her first night of Hannukah gift.

Here are my Hannukah wishes for you. You don’t have to be Jewish! (Another secret: I am not the least bit religious. I believe in kindness first and foremost.)

  • I wish that you always remember that you are beautiful, and special, and unique.
  • I wish you that you always remember that you will feel happy, and confident one day – even if that day feels a million miles away.
  • I wish that you paint a happy picture in your mind of how your life could be. Where would that be? What would your room look like in that picture?
  • I wish that you find a safe place right now where you can be you. Either in a support group, or even if it’s in your room with your “happy” song playing.
  • I wish that you could see what I see. That a hard time now is JUST A CHAPTER in the book. It’s NOT the entire book. This I promise.
  • Happiness always comes to me when I give a smile and a compliment to someone else. Try it!
  • Don’t discount the power of a well-earned hot chocolate. Or any chocolate for that matter.
  • Above all, I wish you peace inside yourself. You are a beautiful soul.

I would love to hear from you in the comments, and promise to write back.

I am thinking of you and sending so much love, so much support.

You are NEVER alone!

With love, strength – and all those mom hugs,

Ricki

Your Holiday Mom: Titi Rommy

Dear Holiday Child,

Welcome to the holiday season at out quirky home. Thanksgiving might be the most “typical” looking out of all the ones we celebrate, but take a look around. Our family looks like a gathering at the UN. We have lots of different traditions we like to participate in. Maybe you can tell me about some of your favorite traditions as we help ourselves to seconds (or thirds!) of my sister-in-law’s amazing pumpkin pie?

We don’t really do much the day after Thanksgiving other than getting over our turkey comas, but if you like to go shopping, maybe we can head out to town and see what kind of treasures we can find there. I like walking through our small town, hunting for perfect gifts. You can pick out where we’ll stop for lunch. I’m an adventurous eater, so I’ll be game for whatever it is you’d like to try. If holiday crowds aren’t your thing, we can always e-shop in our pjs, wearing fuzzy slippers and drinking the seasonal beverage of your choice. I’m definitely a tea woman, and would be happy to take you through a tour of my over-stuffed tea cabinet.

Chanukah, which my husband and kids celebrate, isn’t too early this year, but we definitely need to get decorating and present shopping done early. Also, when you are at our house, you have to do the Hanukkah dance. It’s one of my husband’s favorite things, next to all the fried food we eat in honor of the holiday. Popeye’s chicken may not be traditional, but I sure enjoy having it!

Solstice is the holiday I celebrate. Maybe you are familiar with it? If not, that’s OK. I’ll be lighting a fire in our fireplace and we’ll have a little cookout over the hearth. Do you like s’mores? My husband and kids like getting fancy and varying things up with Nutella, peanut butter and other spreads. Feel free to be inventive with them. Also feel free to toast the sun with me as it sets. I won’t make you get up early the next day when it rises, unless you want to.

You’ll probably get to know the family corgi, Kit, pretty well too. He loves belly rubs, snuggles and table scraps. He’s a rescue and sometimes gets nervous if he thinks he’s being left out of family gatherings (he is very mystified by my husband’s Hanukkah dance), but the truth is no one gets left out of our family. Not ever. The same goes for you. I know you may have had some rough times, but just know there are people who care out there. They want to know if you love crowds or quiet. They want to see you relax over the perfect cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. They want to know about any weird or off-beat ways you like to celebrate the holidays. Because who you are matters. Please never forget that.

I hope you had a nice time at our holidays. Stay warm, and keep your head up. I’ll be rooting for you.

Abrazos y besitos,

Titi Rommy

Your Holiday Mom: Auntie Bec

Hi Sweetheart,

Happy Hanukkah, and Merry Christmas!  But around here, we’re pretty equal-opportunity:  So… Happy light-the-candles, sing-the-songs, eat- the-food, be-surrounded-by-love, in the darkest season, on the coldest nights!

If only you were here, I’d give you one of those big, almost-too-long, almost-too-squeezy, rocking-back-and-forth-a-little hugs (only if you want one, of course) to make sure you know how glad I am to see you.  Then I’ll try to feed you, and bug you to set down your things and make yourself comfortable.  Don’t mind if you spot a dust bunny, and the boys’ toys will probably be all over the floor again …  Sometimes it’ll be loud here, sometimes quiet, but always glad to see you.  Admire the tree, and maybe say that the food smells good? Can I get you anything?  Want to read the boys a story? It’s hard when family is far away.  Did I tell you how glad I am you’re here?

Our part of Colorado isn’t usually all that snowy, but here’s hoping for a white Christmas anyway. We’re going to stay close to home this year.  But we’ll cram in as many celebrations as possible: lighting Hanukkah candles, frying latkes for a small party, ripping open presents, putting up a tree and turning on the fairy lights every night, baking cookies for Santa, and answering every question about what we think Santa’s doing RIGHT NOW.  Jump in and add any details you’ve got to the story, the more the better, just expect to answer MORE questions!  The five year old has an endless number.

Then on Christmas Eve, special stories, maybe even some hot cocoa, then bedtime, and sneaky-quiet filling the little guys’ stockings, and hopefully waking to the five year old hopping around in pure excitement! The one and half year old doesn’t quite understand, but if his big brother is excited, he is too! It’s hard not to spoil them rotten, I love picking out just the right presents for everyone.  I hope someday they understand that Santa is really an overflow of the love in this season, but for now we’re building holiday traditions and wonder and magic.  We’ve got plenty of that for you too, and an extra stocking or two!

I know it is cheesy, but we are really grateful you’re around.  That’s really what this is about, being grateful for love, for warmth, and for light, in a season when we’re hoping the sun will just come back.  So even if this is a dark season for you (and the holidays can really get dark); know that the sun is coming back! You are personally bringing light into our lives (and others too, more than you can know!) and making this world a better place just by being here. I’m proud of you, and I love you just as you are,

You holiday mom, Auntie Bec

Your Holiday Mom: Mama Hutch

Hello lovely,  it’s mama Hutch here to say hi.

I’m excited to welcome you into our family at Christmas time.

There are a lot of us to meet in our Lounge today. There’s me –  the mom, and my husband . This year is a little different though. You are here with us! And we are so pleased you joined us.

Our three children are all grown up now. The eldest will be with us all and also for the first time,  like you … his new girlfriend ! So no need for either of you two to be shy. She seems sweet and has blue hair .

Christmas day after lunch they are leaving to go to her family and my son is excited to meet them.  We will have fun before this opening gifts maybe , small things but we try to remember each other’s likes. I hope you have a list for Santa too !

My second son just got married !! They are a lovely couple and the wedding was so special, real old fashioned white one.  (Don’t think number 1 will be anything like that tho if they tie the knot. ) They are going too to visit the new in laws ! Hope they have a fun time.

So you,  me, dad, grandma and my daughter who’s at university can sit round and look at the Christmas trees and lights and enjoy all being together. You are here with us smiling and joking. You are such a great person and I can see the love in your heart.i do go to town a little bit at Xmas and I’m blessed that we have a tree with family ornaments on it, So every year we buy a small cheap ornament , may be on a day trip , and it goes on the tree! The nice thing is people who have left us have given baubles over the years so we remember them . You will have to add one too!

You’ll love Grandma. She is 82 years old and wears red nails and high heeled shoes! She tells lots of  stories of when she was a model!!

So we eat Turkey, no vegetarians here but i could do a mean nut roast ,with all sorts of veg and mashed potatoes and you will have to set the table with my daughter. You will have to realise that she is boss though lol. The table is just so! The colours have to match. But it’s ok to change some things as I like a change now and then to the style.

After dinner we could play games if you like. Board games, unwrapping the parcel wearing oven gloves ! The prizes are pretty poor but there’s chocolate on some of them !

Then relax and let the good digest. We play guitar and sometimes do karaoke. I’m amazing at it, of course lol, well I think so, but the microphone gets pulled away quickly! I can imagine you joining in. If you’re  not singing just clapping along. You are surrounded with warmth and happiness and people who care.

And so to sleep. I’m hoping you have sweet dreams and enjoyed our Christmas day together and the lights fill up your heart.

Im not such a soppy person but xmas is fun and does make you think about love and happiness! And those thoughts are sent to you from all of us as we are thinking about you . Not just at christmas but every day.  Sending you happy festive thoughts to keep. May be we will get snow ! Mwah !

Mama Hutch

Your Holiday Mom: Mom Cheree

My dearest Holiday Child,

Oh, I am so grateful for your heart in the world and, more directly, that you are here with us this holiday season.

It has been a dark and challenging year for so many, and I know it can be hard to feel hopeful as this year draws to a close. It does my heart so well to take these moments of respite and joy with you, and I hoard them up in my heart to revisit when I am missing you.

Tonight, we are touring the holiday lights and decorations with our chosen family. Your aunts M, H, C, S, K, and J will be there, along with your uncles K and Z. Your siblings J, D, and A will be joining us, and even your cousins, K and D. Everyone is so excited you’re joining us this year and can’t wait to see you.

We’ll share my extra special peppermint hot chocolate, your auntie M’s favorite holiday hot tea, auntie H’s treats and pappy’s cookies. I will show you my favorite house and we can stand in front of it and daydream about living there and having enough space to host all of our chosen family together. When we get too cold, we’ll stop in at a diner for supper. I know a place that serves your favorites.

In the morning, you and I will go to brunch at my favorite English pub. It reminds me of special visits with my grammy and always feels warm and cozy. They have so many amazing things for breakfast, it’s hard to choose! Afterwards, we’ll visit your sister, A, at work (she works in a Christmas store!) so you can choose your 2017 ornament. In a few years, you will have quite a collection of holiday ornaments to remind you of holidays past and, I hope, good memories of time spent with us.

Before you head out on your way, we’ll stop in to visit your grandma and grandpa. They have a big tray of Christmas cookies waiting for you – persimmon and peanut butter and chocolate chip and oatmeal and – my favorite – birds’ nests. They’ve put together a care package for you, pantry staples and treats and some necessities that can be hard to budget for.

I am so grateful you are here with us. I hope we fill up your heart and spirit with love and joy. I hope that 2018 is a joyful adventure for you and that it is filled with love, laughter, and opportunity. I hope you remember that you are always in my heart, surrounded by love.

I am so excited for the amazing things waiting for you in 2018 and I can’t wait to hear all about them. I am also here to listen to your sorrows, frustrations, and tears. You are a gloriously whole human and I love & support your whole self… Even (especially!) the parts that feel dark and heavy. Trust that I am strong enough to give you a hand carrying the heavy stuff.

After you’ve had a chance to rest from your journey, join us in the living room and we’ll get ready to leave for tonight’s adventure. I can’t wait to share it with you.

All my love,

Mom Cheree

Your Holiday Mom: Aussie Mum Holly

G’day Holiday Child,

Ok first up I must confess that no one in Australia would write that as an opening to a letter, but we do say it G’day to each other and of course it is Christmas and we are all friends here…love is in the air (that is the title of a well known Australian song…you should Google it!).

I am so pleased you are here with my family for an Australian Christmas. No ugly holiday sweater required as it is hot here…REALLY hot, as my hometown where you are joining me is on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and Christmas is a humid, sub-tropical summer day. I hope you feel that our welcome, love and friendship makes up for missing a cooked roast dinner.

How about you join me and my husband and daughter for a swim at the beach on Christmas Eve? We can swim in the afternoon then we might go for a drive to see the holiday lights outside people’s home. If you want I can take you to the Christmas Eve service at a local church, but I confess we don’t always go! I’d recommend the Uniting Church maybe as it is our most inclusive and that is where I would feel pretty comfortable. A lot of churches in Australia still don’t even have female pastors etc and we don’t have legal gay marriage yet, but Australians just voted for it in a plebiscite so it is coming soon we all hope. It is a bit strange it has taken so long because Australians are pretty friendly and laid back. Love is love!

Christmas Day we will be up pretty early and we will open our presents (I promise not to give you socks!) and we will have a bit of a lazy morning as we aren’t cooking lunch…it is prawns (shrimp to you I guess?) and salad, but we will have a traditional pudding. It is just too hot to be cooking a roast meal! We will drive to visit other family after lunch, and you will like them, but brace yourself as they will feed you another meal…BBQ this time, with more Christmas treats and deserts on offer too!

I love that you are joining us, as it is a great gift to us to have you with us and get to know you. I hope the love you feel with us at Christmas will stay with you for the whole year.

Love Aussie Mum Holly

Your Holiday Mom: Auntie Laura

Welcome, welcome, welcome, holiday child and friend!

Thank you so much for being here this year. It’s been a rough one, hasn’t it? No sense in dancing around that elephant in the room. That said, I’m very glad and so grateful that you are a part of our holidays this year.

This is a unique year for Matt and me. Normally, we travel somewhere cold and snowy so that Matt can enjoy the holidays (and try not to miss too many Dallas Cowboys football games in the process). But this year, Hurricane Harvey was an uninvited guest who “encouraged” us to remodel our home a bit sooner than we would have liked to. Good riddance, Harvey!

What that means is that we are going to be home for the holidays and I will have a brand-new kitchen to cook in for all of us and I am so glad that you are here to be part of it. There are only going to be the three of us, not counting the three cats who are very glad not to be cooped up in one room anymore as they were during the remodel; they will insist on cuddling up to you at your side as you sit or on your lap if you let them. Additionally, for three people, I make way too much food. Please eat to your heart’s content! We can go the traditional route: turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, rolls and a couple pies. I love to bake, and I’m still perfecting my pie crust. You’ll have to let me know if I get it right. I’m a sucker for chocolate-chip pecan pie. I hope you like it! Or maybe we’ll decide to break tradition, too? Lasagna? Pizza? Chinese? We can decide! It’s all up to us and we are going to indulge ourselves.

After food, if you aren’t a football fan, that’s okay! I’m not either! We can indulge in other traditions: each year, we watch Rudolph, Frosty (the old stop-motion versions, of course) and best of all, Emmit Otter’s Jugband Christmas. If you haven’t yet seen it, you’re in for a treat. I admit to being a sap and watching Love, Actually too. Or you are welcome to our books; we are both avid readers, we have a lot of those: help yourself!

Be prepared: Matt is a huge fan of the tradition of holiday stockings: he puts a great deal of thought into them and you can plan on getting a lot of little things you didn’t know you wanted or needed – no socks or toothbrushes there! Well, unless you want there to be; I do love a good new toothbrush. There are always candy treats in there, too, thank goodness. Take your time with yours.

When all is said and done, the best gift we can have as we all put 2017 behind us is you. You are valuable, you are good, and you are just exactly the person you need to be. You are the best addition to the family we can ask for. We hope you feel warm and cherished and as special as we know you are. Your unique talents, gifts, and presence are exactly what this holiday needs to be perfect. Thank you so much for being part of our family.

Much love and many hugs,

Laura and Matt (and Porter, Pym, and Tyg the cats!)!