Your Holiday Mom: Mom Courtney

My Dear Holiday Child,

I’m so excited you are here!  Toss your coat on the couch, and leave your shoes at the door. Our home smells toasty and sweet because I’m in the kitchen cooking up my holiday salted caramel sauce. Will you help me stir it?  Just keep it moving, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.  I’m making a double batch this year, so you can gift some to your friends.  I’d love to meet them some time!  Ok, the candy thermometer has reached the magic temperature, let’s take a taste to see if the caramel is done…mmm, yes, I agree, let’s pour it into the mason jars.  Go ahead and choose your favorite holiday ribbon to tie around the lid.  They look very festive! I can’t wait to gift them…and to pour some caramel over ice cream later tonight! Yum!

Let’s go sit in the living room where your Holiday Dad, Chris, has set up the Christmas tree with your Holiday Brother, Xander, 13.  He’s downstairs playing video games, if you’d like to join him.  But, look! Here comes your youngest Holiday Brother, Phoenix, 9, who has been waiting for you to hang the ornaments.  He’s been asking me every day if today is the day that you’d be home.  Dad already hung the twinkling lights, but we saved our boxes of special family ornaments to hang with you, dear Holiday Child.  Here’s the ornament my grandmother made for me on my first Christmas, and this ornament smells like gingerbread!  That heart shaped one marks the day your Holiday Dad and I got married. Can you find the one that you made?  Do you want to make ornaments again this year?  The craft box is right over there with paints, glitter, tiny bells, ribbon, and feathers. Now that the tree is up, I can pull out the gifts I’ve been stashing in my room and place them under the tree.  I love to pick up the wrapped presents and try to guess what’s inside, don’t you?

For me, the greatest gift of the season is to witness your becoming who you are, such a beautiful soul! Oh, how I love to see your face and notice how you’ve changed since the last time we saw each other.  I love the way you wear your own personal style!  I want you to know that my heart bursts with love to see you develop into the unique person that you are.  Tell me about what you have been doing, what you want to learn about, where you’d like to visit, or do one day. What brings you the greatest joy in life?  I want to share in that with you dear one. I also want to hear about the challenges and the things that worry you.  You are not alone. I am here to listen with open arms and an open heart.  Please know that on the day I became a Mom, a love deeper than any ocean and wider than any imaginable universe was born in my heart!  Dear Holiday Child, this love extends to you with so much warmth and acceptance.  I love you always and forever, no matter what and because of everything that you are.

You are welcome to stay as long as you’d like, so I made your bed with soft flannel sheets and your favorite warm blanket.  Drop off your bags, then pile into the car with me, Dad, Xander, and Phoenix for a ride around the neighborhood to look at everyone’s holiday lights! We especially love to sing along at the yards that have music!  I’ll go get the hot chocolate ready.

With Much Love to You,

Mom Courtney


  1. Tristan says:

    I am struggling with how I’m going to let people know I’m not who they thought I was but I’m the same person I have been, my Bisexuality and being Trans. This really made my day.

    Also, I love caramel.

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear Tristan,
      Yum, I love caramel too! In fact, I’m making another batch today. No matter how you decide to let people know, I hope you do so with a deep love of yourself so that no matter how they respond, you know that you are a beautiful soul of value. Not everyone will understand, but here in your holiday home you are always loved and accepted. So, come back and visit us if you need to anytime.
      Much Love, Mom Courtney

  2. Liza says:

    Dear Mom Courtney,

    I’m so grateful for this letter. I’m 22 years old, but I’ve never felt so lonely at the holidays before. I am preparing to come out as nonbinary to my family, and it’s terrifying. Coming out for the first time as lesbian was really painful for me, and it left my family with gashes that have yet to heal. I have been gearing up for returning home from college for Christmas, and I’ve been at a loss. It’s really difficult this year. I just want to say, I’m incredibly grateful for your letter. It brought me to tears. I haven’t been so moved by anything in a very long time. Your love and compassion and kindness is much needed–not just by me, but by people like me of all ages. I appreciate everything that you and the other Holiday Moms do.

    Much love,


    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear Liza,
      You’re welcome. Our letters are filled with our mother’s love for you and all of our holiday children. It gives me joy to know that some of my love reached your heart. I’m proud of you for being who you are. Remember that no matter what others think or believe about you, that you are a beautiful soul with worth, beauty, and gifts to share with the world, including your own love and kindness.
      Much Love to you my holiday child, Mom Courtney

  3. MJ says:

    Dear Momma C,
    Thank you for everything. I am 27 years old, and this is my first year without my mom and her tree. Decorating the tree and setting out her holiday village scenes on the mantle were always special, and really made the holidays the holidays, and I cant tell you what it means that you waited for me.
    I feel loved and wanted and important. I can’t wait for ice cream and caramel and climbing into bed.
    It’s nice to feel at home for even just a moment. Thank you for giving me that gift.

    • Shannon (she/her) says:

      MJ, sweetheart, you are loved and cherished.
      The wonderful thing about traditions is that they can start small… Like having ice cream and caramel with your holiday family, or maybe next year, setting out a holiday village with the family of your heart. I’m glad you feel at home, because we’re proud of you for being who you are.

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear MJ,
      You are very welcome and you are deeply loved, holiday child. Being here for you is the most meaningful gift that I’ll give this year, so thank you for receiving it. I’m so sorry that you miss your mom. Your memories sound beautiful! We also used to decorate the mantle, but we placed my mother’s 12 Days of Christmas bells and hung our stockings. At my house, we toss the stocking on the back of the couch because we have no mantle, but we make it work! Visit us here anytime you need to feel at home. I love you and wish you peace and joy.
      Much Love, Mom Courtney

  4. Meg P says:

    Dear Mom Courtney,

    Thank you this. I was so unaware of how loved I could feel.
    Coming home to caramel after 13 hour university days sounds amazing!

    Thank you for this once again, I normally lock myself away in my university room but it feels good knowing that people like you are out there.

    I am so happy that I can be myself around you, Mom and I’m so glad that even this is only for the holidays, I couldn’t ask for a better family.

    So much love, your holiday child

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear Meg,
      Yes, we are out there, and we will be right here throughout the holidays to share our love with you, so come back to visit. We also live our lives in the real world along side you, but unfortunately it’s not that obvious who we are in the day to day. Please believe that there are many loving people in this world who will embrace you for who you are. I remember spending my university days alone in my room too. Things will change, as they always do, and I hope the change brings you much joy.
      Love, Mom Courtney

  5. Reina says:

    Dear holiday mom

    I am absolutely speechless. I never knew I could feel more welcome by a stranger than my own family. I cried while reading this and it made my day

    Thank you so much,
    You holiday daughter Reina

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear Holiday Daughter Reina,
      You’re very welcome! I’m glad your heart was able to receive my love. I wish you many more blessings this holiday season!
      Much Love, Mom Courtney

  6. Freddi F says:

    Mama Courtney.
    I’m so happy to help with the caramel. Holiday baking has always been something I love doing! I’m so excited to spend time with my holiday brothers…I will make one to hang ornaments and play video games. I hope my little brother lets me win a couple of times as I’m not always good at the games. I would love to make a new ornament this year for the tree. I love doing crafts, and I hope it’s okay with the family when I put to much glitter on mine and end up wearing some too…I just love glitter! Thank you for welcoming me in your home for the holidays. I know I am loved and valued there.
    Your holiday child,

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear Freddi,
      We are so happy you joined in on our fun this season! I have always loved holiday baking, especially cookies, but now the caramel has taken center stage. Also, I’m a huge fan of glitter…lots of it! So enjoy creating your ornament for this year and no worries if glitter gets everywhere. That’s what happens at Christmas, and that’s what vacuums are for…after New Year’s Day when the festivities finally wind down. I’m not too good at the video games either, but your brothers still keep asking me to play, so I think you’ll do fine!
      Love, Mama Courtney

  7. Alex says:

    Dearest Mum Courtney; thank you so much for accepting who your children are no matter what, and for taking the time to listen and hear us out. Also, caramel is delicious! -Your holiday son, Alex

    • Mom Courtney says:

      My Dear Holiday Son Alex,
      You are welcome in our holiday home here anytime! I know the other holiday Moms and family members who will be visiting us here will also open up the same accepting and loving welcome to you, so come back to visit us often.
      Much Love, Mum Courtney =)

  8. Danny A says:

    Thank you so much momma Courtney,
    I feel so welcome. I started crying when I read this. I’m so excited I can have a home I feel welcomed in.
    Love, your holiday daughter,

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear Holiday Daughter Danny, You’re very welcome and I’m so happy that you feel welcome through reading my words. This was my intent when I sat down at my keyboard to put my heart on the screen for you and all of my holiday children, so that you could feel my love for you. I hope you carry this warmth with you through the season. There are many more Moms and holiday family to come, so visit us often, here at your virtual home!
      Love, Mom Courtney

  9. Jamie says:

    Hi Mom Courtney,

    I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful letter. I didn’t make it all the way through without tears in my eyes. The support you and dad have given me through this time of self-discovery has meant the world to me. I couldn’t have done it without you backing me all the way.

    Accepting me as your daughter after all these years of being your son is the best holiday gift I could receive. Speaking of which, I think I’ve decided on the name Jamie! What do you think? I took the unisex version of my middle name, and made it my first!

    I can’t wait to help with the holiday cooking, and I’m sure everything will taste great (despite me helping)! It sounds like everyone is doing wonderful and I can’t wait to see you, dad, Xander and Pheonix.

    With love,
    your internet daughter,

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear Holiday Daughter Jamie, You are so very welcome! It gives me great joy to know that you can feel our love and support, because this is exactly why I am here. I want you to know that you are loved and accepted for who you are. I am honored to witness your journey and to see you blossom into yourself. I love your name, Jamie! I hope it brings you joy, comfort, and a sense of true identity over the years to come.
      Much Love, Mom Courtney

    • Shannon (she/her) says:

      It seems to me, Jamie, that you have always been my holiday daughter… I just didn’t know until you were ready to tell me. I love your new name and I’m so proud of you for how self-aware you have become. Jamie, you have grown up to become a strong and brilliant woman. <3

  10. Kim says:

    Mom Courtney
    Your letter had me in happy tears…
    I come from an alcoholic family…abuse in so many ways…
    6 yrs ago I stopped all contact with them and have been much happier since…always wanted happy family holidays
    Thank you

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear Kim,
      I’m proud of you for taking action to give yourself more happiness in life. We all deserve to live without abuse, and not only that, we deserve to feel love…love for and from others in our lives, whether it’s with our biological family or our chosen family of friends. Holiday child, you always have a loving home here, with us holiday Moms and others! Come back as often as you’d like to enjoy more happy family holidays with us.
      Love, Mom Courtney

  11. Cassidy says:

    Mom –

    Thank you so much for writing. I am beyond excited to spend the holidays with you, and would love to help with the cooking! There is nothing better than homemade sweets – the caramel sounds fantastic.

    I hope you know how much I appreciate your unrelenting support for me. It absolutely means the world to me. Speaking of which, I’ve been thinking about changing my name – what do you think of CJ? I couldn’t pick between Charlie and Jordan, so it feels like a nice mix of both.

    I hope you, Dad, Xander, and Phoenix are doing well! I can’t wait to spend this holiday season with you. 🙂

    -Cassidy (xe/xir)

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear CJ,
      Oh yes, I love homemade sweets! My great aunt used to make us peppermints every year for Christmas, and we looked forward to enjoying them. Now, I’ve created my own tradition of the caramel sauce. It’s a lot of stirring, so I really appreciate the help in cooking!
      How did it feel to be addressed as CJ? I’m hoping this will give you some insight to choosing a name for yourself. When I chose my child’s name, I wrote down a bunch of my favorites on a white board in my kitchen, then crossed off the ones I got sick of seeing as weeks went by. I wanted a name that I would always love to say. The one remaining was it!
      Whatever name you choose, even if it remains Cassidy, you will be the beautiful person that you always have been inside and I will love you always and forever.
      Love, Mom Courtney

  12. Kae says:

    I’m new here, and this is the first of these I’ve read. I’m a rather marshmallow-hearted individual, so you had me bawling quite quickly; while my family is still in my life, the relationships have always been rocky, with much of my childhood feeling like torture (berated and belittled by narcissistic mother, then beat up and later crippled by my brother), so I’ve never really known what a wholesome and loving family is like.
    I want to read this over and over to feel that warmth and love as long as I can.
    I’ve always wanted to learn how to make caramel. My stuff always ends up wrong lol

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear Kae, *passes tissue box* I’m also quite marshmallow-hearted and new here too! I cry at the drop of a hat, for happy or sad or joyful things, and especially to moving music. That’s the beauty of being us. =) I messed up the caramel a bunch of times before getting it right. One time it was SO salty, I could not possibly gift it to anyone or eat it myself. And every year, I burn at least one batch, so I keep extra ingredients on hand in case I have to toss it. I’m very sorry to hear about your family situation. You are not alone in that, and we are here to let you know that you are loved and part of our virtual holiday family. We may not be perfect, but we have so much love overflowing to share with you.
      Sending you warm virtual hugs, Mom Courtney

    • Mama Rebecca says:

      Welcome, Kae! I’m so sorry to hear that a beautiful soul like you has suffered so much sadness in your life, but please know that here, you are always accepted and loved. Wishing you so much peace and light this holiday season! You are a wonderful person, through and through.

      Mama Rebecca

  13. Rachel W says:

    Thank you… So much…
    I cried going though the letter…

    I’m only 20, but I’m a trans Army vet and firefighter. I was disowned at gunpoint nearly a year ago…

    I can’t tell you how much this meant to me to read it. Thank you so much.

    • Amy says:

      Thank you for your service, past and continued! Please know that there are so many people in this world who will love and accept you, even if your own family doesn’t. You are worthy of love. You deserve support. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

    • Mom Courtney says:

      My Dear Rachel,
      Can you feel my arms virtually wrapping around you in a big loving hug? I’m so sorry about what you experienced. It sounds quite frightening, and I hope that you feel safe now. I want you to know that we all love you very much in this family. I am grateful for your service in the Army and as a firefighter, and most of all, I am grateful that you are here with us now.
      Much Love, Mom Courtney

    • Stephanie says:

      You are an amazing human being. Not only for your past service but for your continuing service as a firefighter. I am so sorry you had to go through something so disheartening and heartbreaking as being disowned, especially in that way. Sending all the love to you this holiday season Rachel!

    • Mama Rebecca says:

      Welcome, Rachel. Thank you so much for your service and bravery. I am so proud of your accomplishments, and of the person you are. You are accepted and loved. I hope you have a holiday season that is as wonderful as you are!

      Much love,
      Mama Rebecca

    • KC says:

      Thank you for your service. Sending you hugs. there will be anew letter now till Christmas so keep coming back to feel the love we have for you. I am so sorry you were disowned know that we see you and love you.

  14. Moe H says:

    I am new here. I am not a young person, but I am a genderqueer, non binary human who is alone again this holiday. My mom is gone and everyone lives far away. I get varying degrees of acceptance from members of my family, or did as a lesbian. Now I’m out as genderqueer and they don’t know what to say.

    • Shannon (she/her) says:

      Moe, even though you aren’t a young person anymore, you are still my holiday child and I love you for who you are. That’s the thing with parents. Our babies will always be our babies, even when they have grown into wonderful adults like you.

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear Moe,
      I am new here too! It doesn’t matter to me what your age is, I will love you always and forever, no matter how old each of us becomes. As a matter of fact, in my career, I work with older adults, so you are more than welcome to join my virtual family. =) Here we say, “I love you” and accept you exactly as you are, so visit us as often as you’d like.
      Much Love, Mom Courtney

  15. Jessica says:

    Ms. Courtney,
    Thank you for posting this wonderful letter here for myself and other LGBT kids. It brought big, fat tears to my eyes as you led me through a wonderful night with family. My heart is singing after this, andill do my best to pass on these good vibes to others as well.


    • Mom Courtney says:

      Dear Jessica, I’m so happy that you could feel my love moving through my words to you and all of my holiday children. Each one of you is an amazing blessing to the world, bringing your unique gifts, talents, and love to everyone your encounter. Yes, please pass on the vibes!
      Much Love, Mom Courtney

  16. Reese says:

    I read this and started crying. My family doesn’t know that I spend a good chunk of my time as a boy or that I’m gay but deep down i think they they know I’m different because I’m always the outcast. Thank you so much for writing this and I love caramel allot.
    Your holiday child,

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Reese, Oh, the caramel smelled so lovely today! I can’t wait to give it away as gifts. I snuck in a few spoonfuls to taste while we were making it, and this was an excellent batch! You are welcome here, never an outcast, with your holiday family who loves you dearly. Witnessing your becoming the beautiful person that you are is an honor, and I’m so happy that you can be yourself with us.
      Lots of Love, Mom Courtney

    • LT says:

      Reese, when it’s time for your family to know, you’ll know. In the meantime, you are strong (keeping two lives/identities going can’t be easy) and you are loved

    • Mama Rebecca says:

      Welcome, Reese. I’m so glad you’re here! I see you and accept you for exactly who you are. I’m so proud of you, and you will never be an outcast here. I am sending so much love your way!

      Much love,
      Mama Rebecca

  17. Dakota says:

    this is amazing! i’m very happy to be here as i’ve not found the right time to come out to my family yet, and i don’t have the most open minded people in my extended family. i think it’s wonderful that you’re doing this and helping so many people.

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Hi Dakota, welcome to your holiday home! There are so many loving Moms and family members here to share our love with you. Visit us here as often as you’d like.
      Much love to you, Mom Courtney

  18. Jace P says:

    So, I am new to this but I read this and it had me in tears… My mom kicked me out and has hated me being openly ftm transgender since I came out. I just wanted to say thank you

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Jace, I’m new to this too, but I’m not new to love. On behalf of your entire holiday family here, I say “we love you.” Hate has
      no place here and you are welcome to visit us every day this holiday season for a little infusion of love and acceptance of you exactly as you are, beautiful you!
      Much Love, Mom Courtney

  19. Emma says:

    I love this and I can’t stop crying and coming back to read it. I feel like coming out has been welling in the back of my throat for so long and I want them to love all the beautiful people I date but I don’t want to ruin their holiday. Please never stop doing this. I am so grateful.

    • Mom Courtney says:

      *passes the tissue box* Emma, my eyes are full with tears too and my heart overflows with love for you. Whenever you decide to come out, whether it’s this holiday season or when you feel the time is right, know that you have a supportive community here and there ARE people like us out there in the world who love and accept you for who you are. Your holiday family is here for you whenever you need love in the coming days or years.
      Much Love, Mom Courtney

  20. Sarah T says:

    OK, now I am crying. It is so nice to be accepted, to be normal. I’m just 15 months transitioned and miss my family.

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Sarah, I’m crying with you, my dear one. I’m wrapping my virtual arms around you in a great big hug of love and unconditional acceptance. You are such a beautiful soul and the world is blessed to have you in it! I can’t wait to see what you do with your life! Keep me posted. =)
      Much Love, Mom Courtney

      • Sarah T says:

        62 yrs old and feel like a lost child sometimes. I am in a relationship with another trans-woman but we both feel alone for other company, for other friends, for family. The letters are so nice to get.

        • Mom Courtney says:

          Dear Sarah, I’m so glad the letters are able to bring you our love. There are other accepting people like us out there in the non-virtual world too. Until you find them, you are welcome here any and every day. We love you.
          Love, Mom Courtney

  21. Sean says:

    Thank you mom so much for the caramel it smells amazing i cant wait to find out whats under the tree im really happy to be here with you guys this year and im hoping that this year willbe one i never forget

    • Mom Courtney says:

      Sean, I saw you by the tree moving the gifts around in curiosity! haha! This year holds many great things to come to you, and I’m happy to give the gift of my Holiday Mom love!
      Love, Mom Courtney

  22. JJ says:

    Wow this was such a beautiful thing to read waking up. My family has not turned from me due to the fact that I’m bi but none of them know, I’m scared to tell them because the comments they make about it. This letter was a big help getting my day started and I hope there is more to come

    • Mom Courtney says:

      JJ, I feel joy knowing your day started on a high note because of my love for you. I will always love you, no matter what others think or say.
      Love, Mom Courtney

  23. Dylan says:

    Dear Mom Courtney,
    Mmm caramel is my favorite, how did you know?
    I’m so thankful for being included in your family this year
    Thank you
    Love your holiday child,

    • Mom Courtney says:

      I am thankful that you are in my family as well! My heart holds space for you and all of my holiday children.
      Much Love, Mom Courtney

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