Your Holiday Mom: Mama Tracy

Hello, beautiful child,

We are so happy that, wherever you are, you are with us this year. Can you feel the hug I’m giving you right now? Maybe you feel seven pairs of arms hugging you. It’s like that here.

I hope you don’t mind that it’s a bit chaotic all the time–Molly, Maggie, Rory, BonBon, and ET (plus Emmy the dog), plus Daddy and I agree that comfort is more important than rigid cleanliness, and chaos is more fun than order.

I’m handing you a box of ornaments so you can decorate the tree with us on Thanksgiving. Touch everything and ask questions! Mostly the decorations are the ones the kids made in school–you’ll see Stars of David mixed in with holly and snowmen. If you sit down long enough, someone will tell you the story of each one!!

Speaking of stories–Thanksgiving starts with the traditional McDonald’s breakfast. Is that a terrible tradition? Then we go home and cook. Mashed potatoes, soft and buttery. Rice, too, because most of the kids don’t like mashed potatoes, and it’s no big deal to cook something else, too. Turkey roasting in the oven. We’ll have corn and I’ll make sure I have rutabaga, which I will insist is delicious but no one else will taste! I’ll fill up a plate for you, and please—eat your fill, because even though there will only be 10 of us (you, us, and my sister and her wife), there’ll be like a metric ton of food, so come with your appetite!

Some years, we use paper on the table so we can draw and I’m not even gonna lie. The boys (and I) will wind up drawing ridiculous, inappropriate pictures, and Daddy will roll his eyes and pretend he doesn’t see.

Then, when we celebrate Christmas Eve with you, we don’t even have a proper meal. We just make the best junk food. Potato skins, mozzarella sticks. Chips and queso. Chips and dip. What’s your favorite, because we’ll have that, too. Then, and this is my hard line in the sand: we put the gifts under the tree just before bed. ET is 13, Molly is 23, and I still insist, because gifts must be a surprise! Plus, everyone has a gift for everyone, but we believe homemade is the best.

On Christmas morning, my ridiculous children still get up at 7, and we open gifts before breakfast. And then, it’s one person at a time, so we can appreciate the thought and love in each gift. Last year almost everything was boxed in some sort of graham cracker box because Daddy eats a lot of graham crackers. It became a huge joke–maybe this year, I should actually give someone graham crackers.

We’re not a typical family–visitors knock and walk in without waiting for someone to answer the door. If you don’t expect it to be clean, you won’t ever be surprised. And you will be hugged and fed. Your brothers and sisters will love you and support you. When you leave, you’ll have food for the road, hugs for your soul.

We have a tradition here: my sister believes that butterflies are our mother come to visit. My mom passed away in 1996, and whenever I see a butterfly, I say “Hi, Mom,” and I smile. Not too many butterflies in the winter. So—whenever you see something red, will you please think of me? I’m choosing red because it’s everywhere—and I want you to remember all the time that you are loved by so many, but most of all, by me.

With much love and many kisses,

Mama Tracy


  1. Sebby (they/them) says:

    I positively bawled when I read the bit about remembering you when I see red. The holidays are often quite difficult for me, lots of misgendering and deadnaming, and reading these letters have been such a relief, to now that there are all these wonderful people supporting me and who I am. Really, truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for being a part of that. I can’t wait to come home and help with the tree <3 – All the love, Seb

  2. Mordecai (He/Him) says:

    Hiya mama Tracy!
    Im so excited to spend the holiday with all of you! These ornaments are super cool. Cant wait to hear about all of them. And thank you so much for the warm welcome! Id love to mix around some junk food ideas to see what we could all make. As for the Red idea its perfect! I looked beside me and saw my red heart pillow. I gave it a great hug for you, dad and my wonderful brothers and sisters!
    I cant thank you enough for welcoming me to your homr. The holidays have always been really rough for me. Especially when most of my family dont know i am FTM panoramic asexual, and for the few who do.. its never fun. But im glad that here in your home, it will be so much fun!

  3. Cassidy says:

    Hi Mama!

    I’m so excited to be spending the holidays with you! I never know how to even begin decorating, so you’ll definitely have to help me there. As for food, the more mozzarella sticks, the better! I’d love to help you cook, too, if you need the help.

    Thank you for the kind words & happy holidays!

    -Cassidy (xe/xir)

  4. Rachel says:

    Clearly, you possess a beautiful soul and family, and it warms my own heart to know you took time to write me. I certainly won’t mo d the chaos, and it is always a bit more fun that way anyways. I’m thankful to have you and I hope your holidays reflect as much love back to you as you have for all your global children.

    • Shannon (she/her) says:

      I’m glad you have fun with chaos, Rachel! In my home, you’re a holiday niblet to eight aunts and uncles. We’ve got chaos down to a tee! You also have a couple of holiday siblings, and a handful of holiday cousins. Sending you holiday momma hugs! We are thankful to have you, too. <3

  5. Jasper says:

    Hi mama Tracy,
    Thank you so much for welcoming me into your home. Holidays are tough for a lot of us and it’s bittersweet to read so much love. I try to focus on the love that I receive in any form rather than the lack of it. I’m about to turn 18 and am genderfluid and gay and have been in the closet for nearly 5 years so it’s tough but I’m going to keep going so that one day I can send love to my own holiday children to keep the cycle of love going. Thank you so much to all the holiday mamas, papas, nb-parents and siblings for giving us a place to be loved.

    • Shannon says:

      Wishing you much love, Jasper. In my home, you’re a pot of gold big sibling to two rainbow kids. Mike is a trans-masculine gay teen, and my tween Aidan just likes to wear nail polish and keep his hair long. It sounds like you already have a heart full of love to share with your holiday siblings and you will make a great holiday parent one day. You are treasured by your holiday family, and your holiday siblings look up to you.

  6. Dean says:

    Hey. I wanted to say thank you. A friend showed me this after I have gone through a family wedding were i was not accepted and not even invited or told of any thanksgiving plans. I am a transmale. I go by Dean and I am 20. I go to college and work fast food till I save enough to move to my boyfriend. He is my biggest support and loves me for the man I am. I loved being a part of some sort of holiday. Thank you so much. Dean he/they

    • MamaL says:

      Dean- you will always have a welcoming place for every holiday. You are loved, you are important and you matter! So proud of you for going to college and working at the sane time – what an awesome accomplishment.
      – much respect – MamaL

    • Celeste says:

      Hi, Dean – I just want to point out that you have some amazing things going for you- you’re in college, with a job, and a boyfriend! Well done. Losing family hurts (I know, personally), but I see you being true to yourself – and you are building a new support network that will move you through. I wish you the very best and am sending a giant mama hug!

  7. J says:

    I went on this site expecting it to be kinda cheesy and it is, but I didn’t expect to be crying for real. Y’all are a great family thanks for this and this site. Wish I woulda found this sooner. I got kicked out at 15, it’s about about 4 or 5 years since then a lot of issues I still need to work out tbh but I’m finally not ashamed of myself anymore, and knowing there’s people like you out there and feeling like you’re not being left out in these is really cool

    • Celeste says:

      Good morning, J. Surviving 5 years on your own as a teen is no small thing. I’m proud of you. Thank you for sharing yourself with us, and I’m beyond grateful that you have shed the shame and can be proud of who you truly are. Well done, you. This mama send you giant hugs today!

  8. James says:

    Hey Mama Tracey!
    This year has been rough for me, a lot of arguments due to my gender and at one point I was worried that my parents were going to split up.
    I’m trans male, and I’m supposed to be going to a gender clinic soon, but they haven’t contacted me back. They’re a child clinic, and because I’m turning 18 in January, I worry that I’ll be taken off the waiting list once I’m 18. One of the newspapers in England (where I live) made an article about our clinic, and referred to transgender guys as girls – I was one of the “girls” they referred to in their statistic. I was very mad, but I was able to calm down because I know they’re just ignorant.
    I’ve been having nightmares a lot. I think I’m dreading turning 18, because I’ll be off to university in September next year. A lot of my friend’s are younger than me, so I worry about being left out of their group. But I’m trying to stay positive! There will be a lot of cute people at uni!
    I’m so glad I have a vritual place at your table, mama. Whilst we have Christmas over here, it often gets tainted with a lot of arguments, which can be scary. I’ve never actually had a Thanksgiving dinner, but I always thought it’d be cool to have one.
    Anyway, I hope you enjoyed Thanksgivin – and Black Friday!

    • LT says:

      Yay for another brother! James, I’m sorry you’re having a rough go of things right now, but university can be such a good experience! Have a seat, have some pie, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your dealing with the gender clinic <3

    • Paula says:

      James, my dearheart,

      Did I ever tell you about your great grandmother’s remedy for Nightmares? The secret is: turn your pillow over! You were sleeping on the wrong side of the pillow. LOL. Gotta love great grannies.

      But seriously, sweetie, when you wake from those bad dreams, just feel my fingers gently smoothing your forehead and hear my voice telling you how much you are loved. I’ll sing you your special lullabies that’s just for you, as special and beautiful as you.

      Hugging you with all my heart,

  9. Link says:

    Hey Momma. My name is Link and Im almost 18. It’s hard this time of year, since my family don’t completely understand (Im a demiboy and queer). Thank you for including me in your family. The turkey smells delicious!

    Link ~ he/they

    • Shannon (she/her) says:

      Sending you love, Link. In my home, you have two little holiday siblings: Mikey, a trans-masculine gay teenager and Aiden, a tween who just likes to wear his hair long. I understand that you are yourself, Link, and we love you for being your amazing self. <3

  10. Alex H says:

    This is My first time coming across this blog, and I have to say it is greatly appreciated. My name is Alex mama Tracy and I am a 31yr old trans man. I moved to California in hopes to better my life and my two sons lives but I left them behind in Florida with my parents to finish school last year and move out here by summer this year. I was outed to my parents and in return they filed for custody of my children because they wanted nothing to do with me. The holidays are an especially rough time since it’s also the time of my kids birthdays. This touched my heart and made me feel loved even if I am alone. Thank you and I’m greatful to be included in your family.

    • Shannon (she/her) says:

      My heart hurts for you, Alex. No parent should lose their children because they have the bravery and strength to live authentically. I’m sure your children miss you immensely, too. You are not alone. You are an important and loved member of my holiday family. <3

  11. Peter V says:

    I thank you so much for doing this! It was great to meet everyone. It was such a fun time. I felt so loved I really wanted to cry. I held them back though, didn’t want anyone to get down because of my crying. But thank you for the food. My boyfriend and I will enjoy it a lot. Can’t wait for next year!

    (I think this is a wonderful thing you and other moms are doing! I wish I would have found this when I came out two years ago. It was so hard. Keep up the good work….Mom. 🙂 )

    • Celeste says:

      Hi, Peter – You and your boyfriend have each other to be thankful for, and that’s a lot. I certainly am thankful for both of you, having the courage to be true to yourself with coming out 2 yrs ago- even though it was hard. (Doing a hard thing anyway means you are brave.) I will hold you both in my heart this holiday season. Sending lots of love!

  12. Hayley says:

    I hope all of you had some enjoyable moments today and continue to enjoy the holiday season. Keep being your wonderful selves.

  13. Kristi M says:

    Thank you for doing this. Even in my early 30’s, I find the holidays extremely difficult. My parents disowned me at 17 when I came out as lesbian. I can’t express the importance of support for young individuals going through this enough. It is life changing. Sometimes I come to a loss at the amount of pain that comes with the holidays, and it has gotten more manageable with the wisdom that comes with age. So your words can literally mean life or death to a young adult alone during the holidays.

    • Celeste says:

      Hi, Kristi – Ugh, I’m so sorry your parents disowned you. And, man, I am proud of you for moving forwards anyway. It’s easy to forget how taking the time for a single kind word can make a difference sometimes, but it does. Hugs!

  14. Dylan B says:

    Hi Mama Tracy!
    My name is Dylan and I’m just about to turn 17
    Thank you for including me in your family this year
    It’s hard having to live with a family that doesn’t accept me for who I am (non-binary and pansexual)
    I can’t wait to decorate the tree!
    Love Dylan

    • Shannon (she/her) says:

      Sending you hugs and love, Dylan. We accept you here. I’m so proud of you for knowing yourself and being who you are. That’s no mean feat at the age of 17! <3

  15. Everett says:

    It’s going to be a great season! I love getting these letters and having a virtual family to be welcoming and supportive. There’s lots of love in my real life, but things can be hard. I wish everyone the best thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years/everything else in between!

    • Dana says:

      Life can be hard, even with love and support. I’m glad you’ve found a place of welcome among us – we’re your family! We love you and see you. You are unique and that gives you such a special place in our hearts. You are living life as you are and that takes courage. We are so glad you could join us for the holidays! It would not be the same without you. You add so much to our joy!

  16. Toby says:

    This is my first year joining and I’m very excited. The food looks amazing and I’m happy to be here with the whole family. I’ll try all the food even if I know I don’t like some of it, and this is my first thanksgiving with turkey to eat. I’m excited for Christmas season to come

    • LT says:

      I’m not a mamma, just a sister, and new here myself, but i want you sit by me. Plenty of room! I think two bites is enough to decide if you like something or don’t, but we’re certainly not going to MAKE you eat it. We’re so glad you could make it this year!

  17. Your Holiday Ciocia says:

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am so happy to be with all of you again this year. I missed you all, how are you doing, what’s new? I’m trying out a new tradition for thanksgiving with my significant other, our parents are getting older, and our family traditions are changing a bit, so we are making some new ones together but keeping the aspects that we like. We will bring some cookies and pie for dessert tonight and will save you some. 🙂

  18. Sean l says:

    Im happy to be joining you on this day im so happy to see all of you guys im so excited for the food everything sounds amazing. I cant wait to decorate the tree with you guys it will be fun i havent decorated a tree in a few years so i may not be very good. I cant wait to help out in anyway even some of the cooking. Im looking forward to spending the holidays with you.

    • Shannon (she/her) says:

      The best part of decorating a tree is that you don’t have to be ‘good’ at it. When you place that last ornament on the tree, Sean, we’ll be thankful that you could join us for the holidays. Now, come sit next to me at the table, and let’s get to peeling these potatoes! <3

  19. Freddi F says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Mama Tracy. I’m excited for today’s meal. I will try the rutabagas, hopefully I like them as I’ve never tried them before. I will bring some carrots, cooked carrots are one of my favorites for the holiday meals. I will also bring a dessert of some kind. I love baking and contributing to the family meal. Thank you for sharing your family for the holiday season.

    • Celeste says:

      Hi, Freddi! I hope it was as delicious as it sounds. I don’t know about the rutabagas, but I’m the one who loves the sweet potatoes. Roasted, with butter and salt. And who doesn’t love dessert? Thank you for sharing it with us! Hugs!

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