Your Holiday Mom: Mama Lisa

Welcome home, my sweet baby.

We are so glad you are here. My strong arms grab you in a full embrace as soon as you step through the front door. Every time I see you, my love grows stronger. Here comes your super tall, skinny, goofy dad with an even bigger hug. But wait for it, around the corner comes running your rascally Kindergarten brother, who jumps on your back, followed by your 2-year-old sister, who latches on to your leg. Is this enough love yet? Watch out. More is coming your way, buddy.

Our home is small but full of good energy around the holiday season. All about the house I’ve strung pine branches that fell from a windstorm. In our cozy living room the scents of our fresh tree, garland, and pumpkin candle are ever-present. Even better is what awaits you in the kitchen. Your ol’ ma expresses a lot of love through her baking and cooking. I’ve made iced cinnamon tea-rings, kolaches, dozens of cookies, spiced nuts. The smell of Wassail fills the steamy kitchen: orange, clove and cinnamon. After you grab a warm cup and a few cookies, we sit down on our leather couch with the pellet stove burning in front of us. Your little siblings try to steal your cookies, but I’ve already thought ahead and brought the whole dang tin in to share. It’s the holidays, no such thing as spoiling your appetite. (For Christmas Eve, I’ve made Aunt Verna’s tortilla soup recipe, I’m sure you’ll make room for it.)

Holidays around here have been a combination of old and new traditions. I hope one day you can start some new traditions of your own. Morning walks, board games, a holiday movie like The Christmas Story. On Christmas Eve, each one of us gets to pick one gift from under the tree to open. The most important tradition is making sure we’ve caught up with each other by the end of our holiday break. I love you, honey, and want to know who you are, what your dreams and passions are, who your friends are, what blogs or funny youtube videos you like.  Let’s talk politics in a safe and respectful way. You know your mama isn’t perfect, but I have always strived to show you respect so I could earn yours in return. I will always have an ear to listen and a heart to love you unconditionally. I won’t forget what you tell me about yourself, in fact I’ll follow up on things and try my best to stay updated on your life as it changes day to day. I try so hard to honor and listen because I’ve never had that kind of respect from my parents. In fact, I’ve known many people over the years who don’t honor, don’t listen because they’re afraid of what they don’t care to understand. So, I know, honey, what it’s like to be on the outside. To feel disrespected, ignored, lonely, humiliated, hopeless, grief-stricken and severely depressed. I want to tell you something my parents neglected to tell me. It’s so simple, but here goes: It is not the end. This is not your last page, but your first every day. It can suck around this time of the year, I know. But all this pressure to perform at acceptable levels of happiness or perfection isn’t expected here in this home. Let’s just sit and be together. I will tell you again and again – every day gets easier and if it doesn’t seem that way, I will hold you until it does.


Mama Lisa


  1. Renee says:


    This is the second letter I’ve read and the second time I’ve teared up, both from happiness and wishing that I could meet all you wonderful moms. From both letters, I was smiling all the way through. I’ve been distant with my family for years so I’ve spent some Thanksgivings and other holidays with friends, but this will be my first Christmas with a friend. For Thanksgiving, we had a potluck at work, I saw my girlfriend, and I went black Friday shopping with my coworker. It was really nice. Warmth, kindness, interest, and acceptance like yours is much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Brigid says:

      Hi Renee,
      I’m glad to meet you! The letter is wonderful, isn’t it! I’m happy to hear you had fun with your co-worker, and that you will be with a friend for Christmas. My family growing up often had friends come and spend Christmas with us. “Friends are the family you choose” right? Sometimes they understand us best. Come and visit us here at anytime. We are here for you!

  2. Cassidy says:

    Mama –

    Thank you for all of your support; it means so much to me. I am beyond excited to be spending the holidays with you! (And of course, my little siblings are welcome to steal a cookie or two from me 🙂 )

    -Cassidy (xe/xir)

    • Mama Lisa says:

      Dearest Cassidy,
      You are important and your voice is important, never forget that. We love that you are here for the holidays. Lots of hugs. xoxo, Mama Lisa

  3. Asher B says:

    Dear Moms and other amazing people that love us.

    Thank you all… Thank you all from the bottom of my heart as a pansexual trans man that has accepted that my biological family will never fully accept me it meant the world to find this site. The holidays are the worst and seem to start out around my birthday which is the 3rd of October… You see I normally get a call from my mom, but this year she called and sang my actual name and not my birth name. Most days her, my dad, and my 29 year old baby brother call me she, her, and birth name no matter how often I correct them.

    I have a serious phobia of being abandoned and alone thanks to things that happened in my childhood with my parents.

    This Thanksgiving was also difficult because I had to celebrate it with my cousin’s uncle who molested me as a child… My parents know, but don’t believe me.. STILL…

    Anyways thank you for all your love!

    • Mama Lisa says:

      Dearest Asher,
      I am so honored that you shared your story with us Mamas. I know it is so hurtful to be in a family who doesn’t respect who you truly are. Never give up on loving yourself each day. I believe everything you said. Just know there is so much love waiting for you out there in the universe. Every year, even though the holidays are hard for me too, I try to treat myself very gently. Whether its a sweet treat or self love with a nice nap or walk through woods, I try to find tricks to make it through each day. Just know you are valuable and your voice counts. If they can’t see that, their loss! Happy Belated Birthday, Kiddo!!! xo, Mama Lisa

    • Karen says:


      I believe you.
      I accept you.
      Whenever you feel alone or abandoned you can think of me here, with love in my heart and respect in my soul for you.

      Your name, Asher, means happy, blessed, fortunate. How fortunate you are to be your true self and how blessed I am to know you. May we both live our happiness and truth together this holiday season. I’ll add October 3rd to the great volume of family birthdays that I celebrate in the fall rush. You’re mine to celebrate now as well.

      Sending affection your way.

  4. Martha says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I am trying to show a friend how to receive these messages because she needs these words as well.
    Also, thank you for reminding me that each day is a new start. It reminds me that the darkness does pass and dawn does come. 🙂
    Your words of kindness made me tear up, thank you for making me feel worthy of being cared for by a parental figure.

    • Mama M says:

      Martha, I hope you and your friend continue to find love and joy here. I am new to the blog and the waves of love have been just wonderful. ❤️

    • Celeste says:

      My dear, Martha – It is indeed a new day. Those are wise words. I wish I could reach right through the screen, hug you close, and sit down and share a cup of tea. Chai with almond, and a piece of leftover apple pie. You and your friend both have us moms. We got your backs and will hold you up best we can. Come here anytime and we will be waiting. Sending all the love, and I hope you can feel it.

    • Mama Lisa says:

      Dear Martha,
      I am so heartened to hear just a few kind words can really help you see some light. Just know there are plenty of people who will always love you and respect you. I have a hart time with holidays, too, but am recently learning about how Winter can be a time of light renewal after the solstice when the light starts to come back again. You are worthy and your voice matters. Be gentle and loving with yourself. Self love is most important these days. Love & Light, Mama Lisa

  5. Alexandra says:

    This was so sweet and kind. I’m a trans girl, age 19, and I came out to my parents about four months ago. They’ve been difficult but they accept it. However, I feel like I need to act happy and content as not to worry them. Any time I mention I’m depressed I get told that I shouldn’t feel that way. Of course hiding everything only worsen my mood and I occasionally get not so good thoughts. That last part of your letter was so kind and sweet it almost made me cry. Anyway thank you so much for your kind letter.
    – Alexandra

    • Mama Talia says:

      Hey there Alexandra!
      Congratulations on embracing yourself for who you are. I know that can be tough, but I hope it helps knowing there are people who love you, exactly as you are, happy or depressed.

      Wishing you joy this holiday season, and please know you are always welcome here.

    • Mama Lisa says:

      Dearest Alexandra,
      I have so much respect for your bravery and honesty. I am also relieved you found yourself so young. Being 19 can be hard in so many departments. Be gentle with yourself this season. Just know there are people out their who respect your emotions and who you truly are. We are so glad you found our unconditional love this season. Lots of hugs, Mama Lisa

  6. Ray says:

    I have it hard here at home and I guess I have friends but it’s always like I’m the last resort friend, no one ever texts me to see how I am, no one ever texts me just to talk, no one cares. And I guess I’ve accepted that fact, but it just sucks when everyday you have to hear how much of a disappointment you are the family and how I was a mistake. I try to talk to someone about these feelings but no ones listening. And I just saw this post on Instagram talkin gn about something called and I decided to check it out. And now I’m here sitting in my bed smiling for the first time in weeks. I know that the people who write these do not know me, therefore how can they care or love me. But I am sure, after reading this first letter, that if by some chance I could talk to the person that wrote this one and the people the wrote the many others, they would welcome my problems, they would listen and they would love me. And that’s more than I’ve ever been told my whole life. It’s a big deal for someone to say “I love you” just once, but you’ve said it a million times in one letter, and for that I’m am very grateful.

    • Julie S says:

      Ray, reading your letter makes you even more lovable! Thanks for sharing, and know that doing so, opening yourself to the love you will find here is a great step. You are ripe for finding a Family of Choice, which can be a powerful thing. You are not a mistake! You are a complete and perfect person, just as you are. I am so glad you have found this place — you deserve all the love we can pour into you. <3

    • Mama Talia says:

      Hi Ray!
      I’m so glad to hear this site brought some peace into your life. You are loved more than you know by your family all around the world. Sweetie, this is my first time on this site and I want you to know I chose your comment to respond to first, because you matter to me.

      I hope you get to enjoy a nice cup of cocoa this holiday season with marshmellows and cinnamon (my favorite!), and that you continue smiling that beautiful smile!

    • Auntie Hay says:

      I care, Ray, as do so many others.
      You are special, unique, and so amazing- no one else can give the world the gifts you can.

      We are here with open ears to listen to you, open hearts that accept you, and open arms to comfort and encourage you. We need you here and you could never be a disappointment to us.

      We may be far apart this holiday season, but know I am thinking of you.
      I love you, (((hugs)))
      Auntie Hay

    • Mama Kat says:

      Oh, Ray, believe me, people can love you without knowing you. There are many people in this world that love without conditions or strings, and you’ll find many of them here offering you a virtual home for the holidays. Like me, they care about you just because you’re hurting and need love. I would say take this love that you are offered here and let it comfort you, keep it with you in those dark days and hours when you feel alone. Always remember, you are not a mistake, you are not worthless, and there is love in the world for you.

    • Mama Lisa says:

      Dearest Ray,
      You deserve love, never forget that. Now might be a small fragment of time when it might seem hopeless, but never give up because people like you contain so much bravery and self-awareness and have so much potential, whether your immediate family/friends know it or not – YOU know it. I myself am always on the hunt for a friend who reciprocates, its not just you. Many adults struggle with finding kind friends, too. Never give up and treat yourself kindly this season. Find ways to love and celebrate yourself, too! I know it’s hard right now, the days are long but the years are short. You are loved. xo, lisa

  7. Freddi F says:

    Mama Lisa.
    I love holiday baking! I would like to make some treats with my holiday family, so maybe you would be willing to bake a little more with me. I am new to Wassail, but I enjoy it greatly. Mama Lisa, can you teach me how to make this? I feel so happy having younger siblings to play with! I want to read them bedtime stories.
    Your holiday child,

    • Your holiday Ciocia says:

      Hi Freddi,

      I would be happy to bake with you too, what is your favorite story to read to the kids?

      I’m happy you’re here with us this year!

      • Freddi F says:

        I have always loved the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I would be happy to read any story that is wanted though.

    • Mama Lisa says:

      Hi Freddi!
      So glad you are here! I would love to share how to make Wassail! It smells so good when you make it, the whole house fills up with warms spicy fragrance. I use 1 gallon apple cider, 1 qt pineapple juice, 1 qt OJ, stud 2 oranges with cloves, 1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup sugar and throw in 4 sticks cinnamon into a warming pot on the stove.

  8. Tamera A says:

    You are the mom of all moms! I have 6 beautiful children and you inspire me to reach out more, to engage deeper to love harder. Thank you for sharing your love!

  9. Vladimir C says:

    You’re sweet. The house looks terrific and is very comfortable. It’s definitely a welcoming feeling. I’m not used to all these hugs so I might seem awkward. But I do appreciate them from you all. It’s nice to have people who actually care

    • Your holiday Ciocia says:

      Some of us are awkward adults too, we.just hide it better… but all our love is still real.

    • Mama Lisa says:

      Hi Vladimir,
      I’ve heard home is in your heart and mind. No matter where you are, I hope you know that you can make a beautiful home and find your tribe or chosen family. Just know, there are always people who care and will always be ready for a hug when you are 🙂

  10. Dylan says:

    Dear Mama Lisa
    Thank you so much for the cookies! I also love to bake but need some more recipies so I might use some of yours. Tell Holiday Dad, Brother, and Sister I said hello.
    Your child, Dylan

    • Your Holiday Ciocia says:

      Hi Dylan,

      I will have some virtual cookies for you too. What kind are your favorite? I like to make chocolate chip cookies with the toll house recipe on the bag. 🙂

  11. Kacey says:

    Dear Mama Lisa,

    I love how much love I can feel from just so many big hugs! The house smells so good, just as your baked treats taste so good. It’s nice to see a family that holds so much love for each other. I might not let them share my cookies, but they’ve already stolen my heart, as has everything you wrote in the letter, thank you so much for a positive outlook for a change


    • Shannon (she/her) says:

      There are enough hugs AND cookies to go around. 🙂
      Sometimes it’s hard to see the positive in the world, but please know I have so much love to share with you, too.<3

    • Mama Lisa says:

      Dear Kacey,
      It’s great kiddos like you who make me stay positive even through hard times. It’s amazing how a warm embrace can be such good medicine. We know you are deserving of love. Don’t you worry about sharing cookies, we can always make more! xo, Mama Lisa

  12. Kayelynn says:

    This is my first time on this website, I was a little afraid of what this holiday season holds, but reading this letter just fills me with joy and peace. I want to thank you for being so kind and loving, even though this letter may not be to me, it still makes me smile. “Its not the end.” That makes me smile too. So many things have been coming to an end for me lately, but hearing you say this makes me curious to see what the future might hold. Anyway, Im sorry for the long message. *hugs you tight* thanks again for giving me hope and a genuine smile.
    Your girl, Kayelynn

    • Mama Barb says:


      Please know that I am one of many who would walk beside you, hold your hand, or hold you tight as you venture through your future. You are a dear and special person.
      Mama Barb

    • Auntie Hay says:

      I’m new here too, and so proud of you for staying curious about the future in the midst of your pain. Endings can be so hard, but they often pave the way for a new and amazing beginning.
      I hope you feel this giant hug I am giving you! Come on in, and get cozy; I’ll get you a mug of hot cider, and let’s cheers to all the wonderful adventures down the road for you…
      All my love,
      Auntie Hay

      • Kayelynn says:

        Auntie Hay,
        Thank you for being so kind to me, when I read your message to me it made me tear up Im so ready for new beginnings, but theyre also pretty intimidating. I guess Im kind of afraid of things going back to how they were, ya know? *hugs* ( i love getting hugs btw) Id really love to get to talk with you, so we can know eachother better. (Oh and ive never had cider, but Im stoaked to try it.) I hope life is treating you well!

        With love, Kayelynn.

        • Auntie Hay says:

          I am in my 30s now, and I still find new beginnings intimidating. Often the best things in life start out the scariest, because we have to open our hearts for a chance at them.
          Sometimes the pain we feel when things don’t go as we hoped can be devastating, but the joy that can be found when they do is worth the risk.
          I was scared to come on here, and send out random messages to people… but it was so worth it- I got to meet you.
          Don’t fear sweet heart, we are here with you either way. You are so strong, but when you don’t feel like you are you can lean on me and the rest of your holiday family. We can all lean on each other.
          Thanks for your hug! (((hugs right back at you!))) I love them too :>
          Hot cider is the best! It’s really just heated up apple juice with some cinnamon and maybe other spices too. It’s like liquid apple pie… I think the best part is how the smell of it fills the house.
          What do you like to drink this time of year? Is it cold where you are?
          Wherever you are, I hope you are taking good care of yourself

          Auntie Hay

    • Mama Lisa says:

      Dearest Kayelynn,
      Your little sister got sick last night, so I couldn’t write back until now. I apologize. I am so glad to hear you are feeling the warmth from my letter. I believe sending good energy, even from afar, can work. I know it’s hard when you are young to not see the light at the end of each tunnel, but I want you to know that you can make it through anything. One day at a time sounds so cheesy, but it is so true. You’ll look back one day and be a stronger, better and wiser person making it through each storm. There is love out there in the universe waiting for you. You made me smile with your sweet, long message 🙂 Hugs, Mama Lisa

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