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.




  1. Eugenia says:

    Dear mama,

    Thanks for this heartfelt letter. I’m so glad I read this just when I needed it, now I can get through today renewed with love and strength. It’s just the reminder that we’re a little less alone in the world y’know. I can’t wait to start my own traditions with my family next time, although I’m a little impatient for that time to come soon! (Then I need to remind myself that I’m only 19 and the world is my oyster.)

    I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas!! I can’t wait to spend Christmas with you. I hope you have a great holiday season & an even greater 2018.


    • HolliMama says:

      Dear Eugenia,
      Thank you for your letter. I too love creating new traditions from the old. As you say, you are young and the world is wide open for you! Who knows where you will go and what adventures you will take? Enjoy!
      Have a wonderful holiday. I am sending happy, joyful thoughts your way.

  2. Neron says:

    Dear, My holiday mom Holli,

    The letter you wrote reminded me that just because I’m trans, and I have ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, and depression and have to have three emotional support animals and I’m also sent death threats from people at school… There are still amazing people in this world. I am loved and cared about.

    I’d love to be part of your family. I’d join in a heartbeat and bring 2 shelter rescues and a purebred show dog named Champion of the Midwest he responds to Champ mainly. One of the shelter pups I named Mojo has extremely bad separation anxiety when I leave it kills him. He ways hours away from being put down because he wouldn’t connect at all with anyone. With me, it was almost instant. We haven’t been apart for more than 8 hours since. The last shelter pup is Boomer. he’s a lovable foster fail. They’re all with the exception of Mojo due to being abused extremely well mannered. They are all trained in agility.

    Your holiday son Neron and pups Mojo, Champion of the Midwest, and Boomer,

    • HolliMama says:

      Dear Neron,
      Thank you for your letter, and a big thank you on behalf of homeless dogs everywhere! You are a hero to your animals, I can see. I currently have one cat on my lap and one on the back of the couch. checking my spelling. The third cat is on a big stuffed animal. The black lab is half under the table, and the other half is touching the couch where I am sitting. He is dozing too, along with the cats. I picture your dogs curled up by the fireplace, under the Christmas tree, or, if they promise not to tell, on the other couch.
      I am glad you and your dogs have each other. It sounds like you have a lot to deal with on a daily basis, so having someone warm and furry to cuddle up with must help. I also hope you are getting professional help for your medical concerns. Therapy, medication, dietary changes can make a world of difference. As for the unfortunate people from school, kind of makes me wonder why they are so insecure that they need to divert attention to you.
      I don’t know how old you are or your situation, but it seems to me if you could bring your dogs to a nursing home, or a homeless shelter, they could provide comfort to others as they do to you. It could also be a good way for you to make positive connections in your community. Just a thought.
      Hard to believe a week from today is Christmas Eve! I went to our town’s fountain Park to carol today. It was chilly but fun.
      In my heart I will pick out three more doggie bowls, and set another place at the table for you, Neron.
      Take care. Be kind to yourself.
      Much love,
      P.S. Only other Neron I know is from comics, but he’s a demon, I think…well, anyway, the name is unique and sounds strong!

      • Neron says:

        I’m only 15.I’m in the 9th grade and I try to take Champ once a month to a homeless shelter.

        • HolliMama says:

          Good for you! I am sure that is appreciated. Both you and your dog can bring some happiness and joy to the people you meet.

          • Neron says:

            He loves it. My friends got me a bunch of masculine clothes for Christmas and surprised me with them because they wanted me to know they care about me. I’m in the middle of switching schools because I want to stay at a more accepting school with them so I no longer have the fear of being singled out and bullied. I’ve been here for a day now and I love it.

  3. Maxwell says:

    Dear Holiday Mom,

    Thank you for the touching words and for the love you sent my way. I wish I could tell every member of this project how much this means to me, and although I’m not a hugger I’d embrace every single one of you. I’m from a small conservative town in western Canada and I’m the only FtM person. I came out over three years ago and my parents were, in their own words, devastated and appalled. My mom took it the hardest. I never had a close relationship with them, but I feel like whatever closeness we might have had was ripped away, and it never returned. So instead of my mother learning to accept and love me for who I am, I have to learn to accept that it may never happen.

    The holidays are one of the hardest times for me. Nearly every relative of mine is unaccepting, but they never visit anyway because of the distance, so it’s just me and my parents. It hurts to see that any Christmas present for me is labelled incorrectly if it’s even labelled at all. Now that I’m eighteen I’ll be looking to move out pretty quick, and I figured in doing so I’d be exchanging tense and uncomfortable holidays for ones without family at all. But now that I’ve found this blog I won’t have to worry about that any more.

    I’ve always dreamed about having a family that I could be close to. Every letter I read here makes me feel as if I had that all along, and it means more to me than you could ever know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • HolliMama says:

      Hi Maxwell,
      First off, I love your name! It is one that has been a last and a first name in my family.
      Second, you did just tell everyone involved with Letters that this project was special to you. Thank you.
      I am sorry you are facing a difficult Christmas with your parents. I am even more sorry, in a way, for them because I imagine one day they will look back on these days and wish they had been supportive. They are likely to regret their choices, and will know they missed so many opportunities.
      That being said, I am so proud of you for being strong! You are looking forward, knowing there will be many adventures and friends in your future. This is wonderful. As the mantra goes: “It gets better.” I wonder if you are thinking about college, or getting a job and stepping out into a world where you can live as your true self. I live in a college town, and know several trans students who feel that their new friends and many of the Profs understand them in a way they hadn’t thought possible. In fact, one friend recently told me: “I don’t have to explain what or why. It’s okay just to say ‘I’m —, great to meet you’ and go on from there like anyone else.”
      I can tell you are strong and determined. I see you. And look under your tree and see a BIG present from me, with a tag saying: “For Maxwell with all my love.”

      • Maxwell says:

        Thank you so much for the words of encouragement. Being seen, knowing there are people out there who care and know how important it is to feel loved, that’s the Christmas present under the tree. I can see it, and I can see my name. Thank you.

        I was lucky enough to get a government job for the summer doing something I loved in a (surprisingly) very accepting environment. I have so many plans for the future, but no easy way of achieving them, so it’s going to take a lot of careful planning. My entire region is in a pretty bad job recession, and its forced me to put a halt on my life and my transition in order to keep myself out of poverty, but often times I’d rather be on the streets as myself than at home with little control over my identity. But I’ve made progress nonetheless, and I’m proud of it.

        I’d love to go to school one day, and find a career in law enforcement such as dispatch, border security, or compliance, but again it comes down to finances- even with scholarships. There are no colleges in my area, and the small towns that do have them only provide very basic courses that are irrelevant to my fields of interest. But I’ve explored every resource and will search high and low to find something and provide a future for myself and my animals. When it feels like the whole world is trying to stand in my way, I always have my cat and my bearded dragons, and they give me a purpose and a reason to continue.

        I hope that one day I won’t have to explain myself to others. I think that will be easier when I no longer live in a town that only chooses to know me how they did when I was small. I am terrified of the future and the struggles awaiting me, but it all seems a little more doable knowing I have someone in my corner. You sound like an amazing person; a truly kind and compassionate mom. Knowing you’re an animal lover only solidifies that picture in my mind. Give your cats a cuddle from me, and let your dog know he’s a stunner (but he probably knows that already).

        I’m so glad to have found this site.

        • HolliMama says:

          My cats are all excited about the Christmas tree. I put non-breakable ornaments at the bottom, and hear them pinging up and down the hallway after I go to bed. My youngest two cats, age one and a half and seven, like to play. I am hoping this site can post the photo I sent them. My oldest cat, aged somewhere around 15, is starting to mellow now, and sleeps on my legs. I love the cuddle, and hate to disturb him if I want to turn over. The black lab sleeps in the armchair in the bedroom. Sometimes I can’t tell who is snoring: the dog or my husband.
          Time for bed. Tomorrow is Saturday and it’s off to the Farmers’ Market, then to the local bakery for hot chocolate and a pastry. Library next.
          I am glad you are writing. It is good to share. I am going to leave the window light on each night now, so you can always find your way home.
          With love,

        • HolliMama says:

          How are you doing today? I have been thinking about when you wrote that being homeless and on the streets might be preferable to living at home. I understand your thinking, but the Mama in me has all sorts of alarm bells going off. Although your home is not a happy one right now, hopefully it is a safe place. The streets are not safe, and I urge you to have a plan before you leave your parents’ house. There are programs around the world which offer room and board in exchange for labor. A friend of mine who is interested in organic farming plans to live in Europe for three months working on a farm. There must be many programs like this to explore. You won’t make money, but you will gain work experience, meet other people in a very different environment, and be out of the house but not on the street.
          You mentioned an interest in law/corrections. My oldest son is a LEO. He was hired (after several interviews, physicals, etc) and sent for training for six months. The department paid him a salary and paid for his training. Maybe that is something to investigate.
          My son likes to work out (weights mostly, I think) which I am happy to support because I imagine strength and agility will help him on the job. He has asked for exercise equipment for Christmas. One thing I ordered arrived in a badly broken box. I opened it to check for damage, and realized I didn’t know what it was supposed to look like in the first place! Some heavy zigzag bar…who knows?
          Bearded dragons, huh? I don’t think of them as having personalities, but I guess I am wrong. How did you decide on them?
          My youngest cat has just climbed the cupboard, opened a drawer, stepped in, and retrieved a kitty toy. I guess this means I am needed now, if only to squiggle the feathery thing around a bit.
          I hope you are taking care of yourself. That would include sharing your thoughts and concerns with people who understand. Have you found some worthwhile on-line communities? I am involved with our local PFLAG, the College’s Eros, and I check in and support the Trevor Project. I know there are many, many more. You shouldn’t have to feel alone. I encourage you to continue reaching out. You are special to me and many others. Stay safe and brave and know that there is a lot of love being sent your way.

    • Auntie Hay says:

      Huge hugs right back at you Maxwell-
      We are blessed to have you here, and so glad you could make it.
      Wishing you a holiday season and new year that is as beautiful and magical as your amazing heart.
      Auntie Hay

    • Your Holiday Ciocia says:

      Hi Maxwell, Thanks for your lovely note. I echo the comments from the other moms and aunts here. I’m also happy to be here to virtually meet wonderful new people each year and catch up with past visitors. Knowing that so many kind and loving people are out there both from the holiday child and holiday mom/dad/parent/aunt/uncle/friend makes the world feel less scary to me overall.

      I’m happy you’re here!

  4. Julian says:

    You’re a wonderful person for writing this <3 Thank you, this really cheered me up and made my day.

    • HolliMama says:

      I am happy you wrote,Julian; I was a little worried no one would! It is starting to snow here, so I am sending you little pieces of joy and love on each snow flake.
      Be safe and remember I am keeping you in my heart.

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