Your Holiday Mom: Elizabeth

Elizabeth casparian picDearest Holiday Child,

I am such a complete sentimental bundle of emotions at the holidays and so as soon as Thanksgiving ends, I am all about letting the people around me know how much I love them and how very much I am looking forward to celebrating with them this holiday season and YOU are not gonna get away without having to tolerate all my gushy, mushy emotions!

We have always had ‘extra’ people around our table during the holidays -sometimes because they cannot get home for the holidays, or they have no place to go. I have three children – one gay son who is 24, one straight son who is 22 and one queer daughter who is 18. I cannot imagine how hard it would be for them not to have a loving, welcoming, accepting, and joyous place to be at the holidays – so if you want to be in our warm, boisterous, loud and food-filled home, please join us! Our kids keep coming back and bringing their friends, so we feel we are doing something right! YOU will fit right in and will be laughing along with us right away.

We will decorate our tree on my birthday, which is December 11 – I’ll be 52. Our eldest and his boyfriend will join us – there is nothing like having two very dapper gay men (both of whom work in retail!) to help with decorating – ha ha – they know I’m kidding, but they are both better at untangling the lights than anyone else. Typically we will order take out and sit next to the tree when it is all done. This year, I am going to bake my own cake – mostly because it is really the only cake I want to eat. Chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate and a family recipe.

Our middle son will join us after his college exams are over. He loves to bring home other kids (two for Thanksgiving) and he also loves to cook – mostly meat – such a carnivore. He will sleep alot over the three weeks he is home and have a ton of friends over and they will stay up too late at night. We will all play Cards Against Humanity together. The kids like that their Dad and I have somewhat dirty minds and do not get offended by this great game! Have you played? Hard to describe, but “Bees?” and “Assless Chaps” are my favorite cards. I suggest to get a group of friends together and play sometime.

We have a ton of family coming to celebrate Christmas with us too. I am so grateful that everyone is loving and accepting of all of our kids – although my daughter has not come out to her grand parents yet….it took them some time to completely accept our older son, so she just wants to wait. It is a little hard when my mother-in-law wants to know what kind of guy she is interested in – but she also keeps trying to buy my great, smart daughter cashmere sweater sets, and , trust me, that’s not happening either. My kids are just who they are, and because we love, adore, respect, admire and support them as such – the rest of the family learns to do so as well.

We all love to EAT and have many holiday traditions around food. Everyone is required to help cook and/or tidy up. We make chex mix and buttercrunch toffee as gifts and we make all kinds of special foods for dinner – always meat – not many vegetarians in this house – but so many vegetable side dishes and desserts that no one has EVER gone hungry.

We also have dogs – two big ones. They love everyone and will out their big, soft heads in the lap of anyone who needs a little extra comfort. Dogs’ ears are therapeutic!

I am sending you love and hugs because you are special and valued.


Your Holiday Mom, Elizabeth

Your Holiday Mom: Mandy

Christmas leftovers Jeff S.Dear Holiday Child,

How happy I am that you can join us for Christmas. Whether or not this is what you celebrate personally, we are glad to have you join in our celebration with us.

Our family celebration begins two weeks Christmas — we have a decorated tree in our living room, which you would have been invited over to help us decorate two weeks prior. Decorating the tree together is very important to us — we missed decorating it last year because I was ill, so this year will be a happy event for us. During the tree decoration, we snack together on gluten-free bread and hearty stew. I make bean-and-bacon soups or a beef-based stew with root vegetables, a little sriracha, and spices from our front-yard garden. I love making bread in my breadmaker, and steep rosemary in the oil for the bread so that the whole house smells of rosemary while we decorate. My son is fourteen and knows the story of every ornament on our tree — from the childhood ornaments that belong to my husband to the ornaments that we bought to commemorate the big events in our lives, or those gifted to us by friends and family. Last year’s present was a Doctor Who ornament, and a Minnesota Vikings one given by my mother. Decorating the tree is the first time we play Christmas music; we’ll put a Christmas mix station on and talk about the best things that happened to us during the past year. We are all very grateful for our lives and for your company and so we use decorating the tree as a time to talk about the best parts of the last year and how we can make next year even better. We have two big, black, peaceful dogs who will wander around and sniff hands, beg for crumbs, and snuggle with anyone who sits down — they are rescues and have so much love to give!

The night before Christmas, we take the dogs to the kennel in the morning, because we’ll be driving up to my mother’s house once work is over. We have a small dinner at our house around 3 pm, then pack up our car and drive up to the mountains where my parents live on 2 acres of mountainous forest in Pennsylvania. The house is small, snug, and smells of the wood stove that my parents use for their heat. My mom and dad make a cheese ball with gluten-free crackers and we eat this together while putting our presents under the tree and saying our hellos. My sister will have come up from the South with her tiny orange dog, and my other sister and her husband will drive out at some point during the evening. Some of us will go to the evening service at my parents’ small Methodist church — no one is obligated to go, but everyone is welcomed warmly there. My parents have been attending there for 25 years, and everyone there knows everyone by name and is warm and kind.

If you choose not to go to services, some of us stay home, and we usually play board games — Settlers of Catan, Trivial Pursuit, and Ticket to Ride are favorites — or watch movies in the basement, near the wood stove, so we’re nice and warm. Somewhere around midnight, everyone winds down and goes to bed, all bundled up warm as the house will get chilly over the night as the fire dies down!

In the morning, everyone gets up, takes their time getting coffee and getting dressed while my dad builds up the wood stove again. Be sure you have your warm and comfy socks because the floor is cold until the house warms up. My mom makes pull-apart bread with cinnamon and there is regular and decaf coffee. Once everyone has their coffee and is “picture ready,” we all go and sit down in the living room to open up presents. We do a round-robin so not everyone is responsible for buying for everyone — though the sole grandkid does get a little spoiled, and so you’d get to share in that, as a second grandkid! We have a tendency to buy practical presents for each other, nice things we would not buy for ourselves. Last year I got a coat that I never would have spent so much on myself — but I will wear it for the next twenty years. The price of the presents isn’t what’s important — it’s the thought we put into each one — but we do like spoiling each other a little in the way we wouldn’t spoil ourselves. I look forward to knowing what you’d like to have for yourself that you can’t bring yourself to spend the money on, and helping you enjoy that.

After the presents are opened and the wrapping paper cleaned up, we tend to relax and snack — pull-apart bread and cheeseball! — until dinnertime somewhere around 4 PM. My mother makes a huge turkey with gravy, sweet potato casserole, rolls… my brother-in-law makes several vegan options including home-made dressing for his salads, and at the end, my mother’s famous dark chocolate fudge with walnuts, peanut-butter oatmeal fudge, and at least three different kinds of pies including pumpkin, apple, and some sort of cheesecake. We take our time eating and spend a lot of time talking. Usually my sister’s dog will wander around our feet, pretending she’s not begging.

At the end of dinner, everyone helps to clean up, clearing away the dishes, helping wash by hand what can’t go into the dishwasher, and leaving my mom’s kitchen and dining room looking as clean as it does every day. Once that’s finished, we go back to the living room to play board games, drink coffee, and spend time together. We love to talk about our lives and you are an important part of our lives, so as we play board games together, we’ll be talking about your plans and ours for the upcoming holiday of New Year’s, and what you plan for the next year.

Late in the evening, we pack the car back up, and drive home with leftovers and full tummies. Usually we listen to NPR in the car, but on Christmas, it’s Christmas music all the time. We talk about what we enjoyed best about the day and go home to have a nice warm snooze after a long day spent with you – and the rest of our family.

I’m so glad you chose to join us for our Christmas celebration. We love you and are glad you chose to spend your Christmas with us.



Your Holiday Mom: Chrissy

DrLisaTo My Dear Holiday Child,

Family events can be very difficult for many reasons, many talk about everything you’ve done and can be either supportive or discouraging. I’d like you to know you’re not alone during these holidays, you have someone who cares about you and I’m very proud of how far you’ve come; you may have made some mistakes but it’s made you into the incredible person you are today. Please know that I, as your adopted holiday mom, recognize that as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning community, this time of year can be especially trying for you… You are not alone, and you have my thoughts during these holidays.

Your family may not be very accepting of your sexual orientation, which is very sad. I’m sorry that you cannot be with your true love when you’re with the people that are supposed to love you unconditionally. If you cannot be with your partner at work or in public I’m sorry the world isn’t ready to witness that, it’s incredibly unfair and very upsetting. Your rights shouldn’t be taken away just because you’re different, love is love and one day the world will be ready to understand and accept it. Please during these hard times imagine coming over to my house, bringing your partner and being accepted whole heartedly. I look forward to you and your partner showing up with hugs and empty stomachs! I want to tell you how much I’ve missed you and give you lots of compliments of how cute you two are. I know it’s hard when the world looks down on you for something so ordinary as who you love but I wouldn’t and won’t ever; so when you’re sitting with your family please think of me because I’m here and I accept you; we are in this together.

If you haven’t had the chance to come out yet and have to constantly hide a huge part of who you are I want you to know there are people who accept you and love you still. You have to constantly live your life to impress your family, which is incredibly exhausting… Just so they see what they want in you. Please never give up hope on coming out, you will make it there one day; even if it’s just to your friends that’s still a huge accomplishment. Getting gifts may also be a problem for you, which I’m sorry for. I wish you could get the gifts the real you would like, I’d like nothing more to see your face light up with happiness. Please remember there are many other who are facing the same problem as you and understand; one day I hope you never have to worry about faking that smile and “thank you” again. Your gender identity is very important to me and I want you to be comfortable, so please don’t hide who you really are. You’re beautiful to me, so I want you to think you are. Please go stand in front of the mirror and see your reflection. Look past the flaws you see, point out one good thing and start from there; everyday point out something you like about yourself and start seeing yourself the way I do. Feel my hugs as I tell you how proud I am of you, as I admire your bravery, and as I send my love.

I know someone who currently had the courage to come out to her parents, she knew she was bisexual for a year but was terrified to tell anyone- even her best friend. So when she turned 19 she waited until she was off to college and sat with her mom and dad and told them she likes both men and women. It went fairly good, considering so many others have had non-open minded parents. Her mom took it as a joke- as an excuse for “being hurt by so many men. Her father fully accepts her though, which is incredible; she hasn’t came out to any of her family outside her parents but one day she will, she will be brave and I hope that she’ll receive the love she gives to everyone she meets. I’m writing you this letter on her behalf, she has openly spoke to me about how she feels around her mom and I realize I don’t want anyone feeling that way. Everyone should be loved, no matter who they love. She’s an amazing girl and I always have her in my heart, as I do with you. I will think of you during this holiday season, and family events further on. I wish love for you, happiness, and acceptance. I hope you know that someone sincerely cares about and knows how your feel. There is no one like you and that makes you special. Never forget that you’re one of a kind and you are not alone.

All my love,

Holiday Mom


Merry Christmas, my child…

heather gHello Dear Child

I am writing to you to wish you a Merry Christmas.

Although this may not seem like a very merry time for you, I would like you to know that I am a “mom” writing to you to tell you that you deserve to have a Merry Christmas.

You also deserve to be happy, Blessed and loved.

And although, we have never met, I have met what you stand for. I have seen young people struggle as they attempt to figure out who they are, kids who have had a difficult time, who couldn’t find their way because of the road blocks in their lives.

I tell my own teenager, he can overcome anything but he has to know that he can do it and so can you. I tell him he is not alone and nor are you. He has the love and support of me and so do you. He will find his way, even though it seems so dark and so will you.

I want you to be assured that you have someone in your corner, someone who will be thinking of you this coming Christmas and the days after. Wrap yourself in that knowledge. When you are lonely remember this letter and the woman who has written it to you. Please feel the love and acceptance that I am writing into every single word and paragraph. Try to remember this letter when things seem so desperate and sad.

Remember my letter and the words you deserve to be happy, Blessed and loved.

Merry Christmas my Child.

From your Holiday Mom, Heather

Your Holiday Mom: Tina

mamabear cookieHappy Holidays to my INCREDIBLE  Holiday Child!

I want you to make sure you first feel comfortable and welcome in our home. Holidays are for family–whether it’s the family you were born into or the family you create.

I warn you that the holidays are certainly an EVENT here. Charlie, my 3 and a half year old, has been singing Christmas songs DAILY since he turned two, so it’s been tough to hold out and not play them until December. I hope you are okay with nonstop rounds of Jingle Bells and as Charlie says “You Better Not Pout!” (Personally, I prefer to listen to Christmas music from The Jackson Five, the Temptations, Harry Connick, Jr. and Stevie Wonder but I’m always interested in adding more to the mix–you are welcome to contribute your favorites or perhaps we can discover some new ones together.)

If you were here, we’d definitely be planning some movie nights to watch Elf, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and my personal favorite, the animated, stop motion Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie from the 60s. I sometimes identified with the redheaded doll from the Island of the Misfit Toys and Hermey, the Christmas Elf who just wanted to be a dentist (feeling like I didn’t fit in). That movie reminds me to look out for the overlooked and see the value and recognize the identity of each individual.

We also celebrate Hannukah here with lighting the Menorah and going to a party of adopted friends and family at my in-laws. Although I’m not Jewish, I’ve been working on my Jewish baking skills. I’ve gotten latkes, matzoh ball soup and babka down, but perhaps you could help me nail a brisket recipe or, better yet, we could make a copycat of those gorgeously decorated dreidel and menorah sugar cookies I saw at Williams-Sonoma. (With my art skills, this would probably be a big Pinterest fail, but it’s certainly a dream to be able to recreate those.)

I feel very fortunate that when I was a teen about to start college, my mom sat me down and said “I want you to know that your dad and I love you and will always accept you. It’s okay if you–or any of your siblings, for that matter–are gay. We don’t ever want you worrying that you won’t be loved.”

My LGBTQ friends always joked that it was wasteful to pair such accepting parents to a straight kid, but I want you to know it gave you a fiercely loyal ally and advocate and it means you’d have a warm and loving home to come to. We spend Christmas Eve and Day with them. Christmas Eve is time with our extended family (all the aunts and uncles and my grandmother from my dad’s side) and Christmas Day is with my brother and sister at my parents’ house. It’s crowded and loud and we used to listen to the Christmas music QVC played (yes, the shopping channel) until my mom figured out there was a Christmas music station on the TV. There will be lots and LOTS of teasing and joking and laughter. Maybe even some games. Definitely with lots of my mom’s Christmas cookies (she probably makes a dozen or so different kinds).

I don’t know about you, but I also like to take advantage of some quiet during this season to reflect–I like doing that early in the morning while it’s still dark with the Christmas tree lit or on New Year’s night after all the hustle and bustle from the holidays has passed. Whether you’re 17 or 70, I think it’s important to recognize how far you’ve come and where you hope to go. For me, this year was a bumpy one and I learned the lesson that “progress not perfection” is the way to go. I’ve been looking at my circle of friends and family and identifying who lifts me up, supports me and helps me be a better person. My hope for you is that you also can identify these people and have the foresight to invest your time and energy into those people while letting the energy vampires in your life take a back seat for a bit. After all, that’s what you deserve.

Oh… and one last thing… Santa is bringing Charlie a set of drums for Christmas. So you may want to bring your earplugs. If you don’t have any, I suspect Santa could wrap some up for you.

Love Your Holiday Mom, Tinamamabear cookie

Your Holiday Mom: Lori

lori and sam

To hear Lori read her letter to you, click here.  

Dear Holiday Child,

Please allow me to step in over the holidays and in some small way fill the role of “mom.” I am just a regular mother of two teenage boys, one 16 years old and one 14. Both are in high school. The youngest is a natal female, but is transitioning into his true gender as a boy.

We live in the Nation’s Capitol, a very urban environment. Yet we have lots of wonderful holiday traditions (we celebrate Christmas), including the White House Christmas Tree, trees representing all the states down on the Mall, and the Capitol Christmas Tree. There is ice skating at the Sculpture Garden (just off the Mall), as well as in Georgetown. In fact, Sam (my youngest, in the picture) will be headed to an ice skating birthday party Thursday with friends from his school. So even though we live in a city, there are many outdoor activities around the holidays here.

We’ll be having most of the family over on Christmas Day. They are a very silly bunch, bringing a lot of laughter, goofy jokes, and good-natured teasing for all. They will bring food (my oldest brother Rob is great at smoking turkeys, his daughter makes delightful pies and cakes, and his wife Marianne bakes the best Christmas cookies on the planet). And they will arrive late. They are always late. Maybe this year I’ll invite them an hour earlier than I really want them to arrive (!) Also on-hand will be my mother, and two other brothers and their families. Plus I invited the graduate student who lives next door; she can’t travel home for the holiday. It will indeed be a full house.

The holidays to me are about pausing just a moment from our busy lives to look around and be grateful for what and who we have in our lives. I am proud of you, holiday child, for being true to yourself and having the courage and conviction to live an authentic life. I admire and respect your ability to know yourself deeply and recognize what life means to you, even when your path is different from that of most. That takes guts.

I hope you find a healthy way to surround yourself with love and laughter over the holidays. Wrap yourself in the warmth of true friendships, and perhaps reach out and help others who can use a hand.

I will pause over the holidays and think of you, wish you well, and hope you are enjoying the precious company of good friends.


Your holiday mom


Your Holiday Mom: Karen

Image 4Hi there.

Come in. Come in.

It’s a little chaotic here – with the dog, and the cats, and the boys. But as long as you don’t mind the noise, and the toys, and the fur, you’ll be fine.

Hot chocolate? Marshmallows? Oops. Spoke too soon – we don’t have any marshmallows.

… We tend to stay put over the holiday season. Our little family – we don’t venture far. But when neighbours, friends, and loved ones choose to visit, we enthusiastically welcome them. I’m so, so pleased to welcome you.

We are building some holiday traditions with our young boys: fires in the family room fireplace; the boys with their own little tree – which they decorate without any interference (or at least limited interference) from me; stockings for the dog and the cats; baking – even though I’m terrible at it. Nothing fancy, but we just want to celebrate and appreciate the fact that we have each other.

The holidays can be wonderful. And cozy. And full of laughter and joy. But they can be hard, too. And lonely, even when we’re not alone.

I want my boys to revel in all the fun the holidays can bring. But, more importantly, I simply want them to feel loved. Not because they’ve been “good” throughout the year. Not because they’ve met any expectations. But because they are incredible. Just being themselves. Every child deserves to be loved. Everyone has gifts to be celebrated. Everyone should have the freedom to be himself. Or herself. Every child, every young adult should be cherished. I know the world can be harsh. I get that there are tough lessons to be learned. But I want my children to know my love will always give them a soft spot to land. I want my children to feel loved. Cherished. Always. And I want that for you.

You have so many gifts, so much to show the world. I want you to feel free to be yourself – because you are incredible. I know it sounds cliché, but you are amazing, just as you are. I want you to find your gifts, share your gifts, celebrate your gifts. I want the very best for you. Because you deserve it. You really do. During the holidays, and always, I want you to know you have a soft spot to land, with me. I will be thinking about you. I cherish you.

Your holiday mom,



Your Holiday Mom: Sandi

Keep-Calm-and-Eat-Latkes-Hanukkah-Plate_31120-lTo My Dear Adopted Holiday Child,

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! In our house it is always a little more complicated. I was raised in a Jewish family, my husband in a devout Catholic household; this translates into a melding of chaotic festivities and lots of love and laughter. Whether you call the tree in our living room a Christmas tree or a Chanukkah bush, it really doesn’t matter when we are gathered around with all of our family and friends.

It has taken years to feel comfortable with these perceived differences. Growing up in a neighbourhood, where we were the only Jewish family, I couldn’t help but feel “different.” I know this is the time of years those feelings are magnified. I hope that you know this year, I see you shyly in the corner of my living room, until I spot you and make room for you next to me. Know that I love you, and the best present is having you with my family and me where you can be your authentic self.

My goal is to have you to feel safe and able not only in my home but in life. When you look in the mirror- see the truly wonderful person that I see as you to be. Know that no matter who you love, what you do, I am there to support your choices. From this day forth, know that I see you, I hear you and I love you. Know that although I don’t know you – that I do know you and am there for you. Think of me and read this letter when you are sad and unsure, when you are happy and triumphant.

Now please pass the potato latkes!


Your Holiday Mom Sandi


Your Holiday Mom: Gail

gail pic

Click here to hear Gail read her letter to you!

My Dear Holiday Child,

Thank you for being the perfect Holiday gift to me this year!

I’m not a mom myself, but I love and cherish all children; my nieces and nephews, my friends’ children and my neighbor children. Some are grown up now with children of their own. I feel blessed whenever any person comes into my life.  All beings are special and worthy of love.  As are you.

There are times in everyone’s life when we feel we are different or not enough.  Well let me tell you, that you are just fine and you are enough.   I don’t ascribe to labels. Every person has feelings.  Every soul that has walked on this planet has felt emotion. Everyone loves.  It doesn’t matter to me if you are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer or straight, a cat lover or a tuba player, you have the ability and right to love and to laugh.

Some people do have a little trouble letting go of biases from their upbringings. Our job is to just be ourselves and love them.  If you are missing your mom for whatever reason this holiday season, I want you to know that I care.  If we let go of our own fears and biases and just put love and joy out, the joy will reflect back to us.  Laughing is the way to a joyful heart.  So here is a story for the two of us. One I hope gives you a chuckle.

This is a story of what it was like growing up in a family of 9 around the Christmas Holiday. It centers on the Nativity Scene we always placed atop our piano.

Being obviously geographically challenged, the children rolled out the cotton “snow” across the piano top and placed numerous pine trees around the setting. It looked just like Montana, but perhaps not quite Bethlehem!  I, in my 8 yr old mind as a major scene designer and director, would often place one of my younger siblings’ stuffed toys under that snow to create mountains.  This would naturally illicit wails of protest and my Dad having to say, “Gail, give the elephant back to your sister, we don’t need mountains in Bethlehem”.  But one by one we ceremoniously unwrapped the precious little figurines and placed them just so at the manger. Now of course the Baby Jesus had to live in a tea cup high up in the china cabinet away from tiny hands until his arrival Christmas morning.

 My biggest joy was rearranging the figurines on a daily basis. Sheep would wander, Shepherds would trail after them.  The Kings would jostle for front position. Sometime Melchior would go hang out with the Shepherds because he and Casper were not getting along!  Mary, being the only almost mom there would have to send them in different directions until they could “speak to each other in a civil manner”.

Sometimes the figurines would be laying down with some pieces of fabric over them, resting.  People have to get their sleep you know!

One day, my father asked me what had happened to Mary. How he knew I was the cause of her mysterious disappearance, I’ll never know!  “Dad, Mary had to pee”, I replied in a forthright nature.  “She what?”, my Dad responded. “Well, she’s been sitting there for 4 days waiting to have a baby, Dad!  She had to go!”, I offered.  Hesitantly, and certainly worried about the answer, my father asked, “And where did she go?”  “Behind the pine tree Dad!”  I whispered with obvious indignation. “Look at all the boys!”  “Well, uh, put her back ok?”, his voice wearily responded. 

Later that day, my father would again come to me and ask just why was Mary now in a bowl of water inserted into the cotton snow?  “She had to wash her hands Dad! There’s no sink. She’s at the pond”.  Goodness gracious, how my father got to be a grown up man and that clueless was certainly beyond me!  Luckily at that point one brother was tormenting one sister and my dad had to go do policing duties and leave me alone in Montana, Bethlehem.

I think growing up with a lot of family and one bathroom made me a bit preoccupied with the call of nature. Pounding furiously on the bathroom door to get in was a common occurrence at our house.  So naturally I felt it proactive to get my brother’s Lincoln Logs and build a few more structures to that Nativity scene on the piano.  “Let me guess, my Dad wagered, outhouses?”  Well, finally my father the engineer was showing a modicum of intelligence!  “Yes, His and Hers”, I proudly exclaimed!   “But do Angels pee, Dad?”

Christmas Eve arrived and after our tradition of unwrapping one gift, which somehow always turned out to be new pajamas, my father bellowed from across the room, “Gail, where is the Baby Jesus?”  Now really, there were 7 other people who lived in that house, how did he KNOW I had taken it? His powers were truly super human.  “Dad, the baby was cold. He’s in the doll house bed.  God can’t sit in a tea cup you know!” , I said rather too forcefully. Thankfully, “Mmmmmm,” was the only answer to that one he had.

And the next morning when we awakened, Baby Jesus was rightfully in the manger by his mother’s side. Joseph was looking on proudly. The 3 Kings were getting along and presenting their gifts and all the Shepherds and animals had come by way of the blue Christmas light star above the manger. And the Angel smiled.

As the Holiday season approaches, whatever you are doing, wherever you are, you can read my story and smile, and I’ll read it and think of you.  We will both laugh and that laughter will connect us.

Give yourself two hugs, one from you and one from me.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha



Your Holiday Mom: Sophie

angel candlesTo my dearest holiday child,

I know the holiday season, whichever holiday you celebrate, can be a tough time, a lonely time.

The thought that you are out there, maybe on your own or surrounded by people who don’t understand, or don’t want to understand what you have been through and maybe still are going through, saddens me.

So, this year, join me and my family in our Christmas! Now, I’ve experienced basically three different Christmases: Christmas with my biological family, with my step family and Christmas with my in-laws. I’ll just run you through all three – you take your pick where you want to go this Christmas. Or even if you have a different idea altogether, it’s all open to change!

In my biological family, we meet up at my mum’s. For you and me, that’s quite a drive, but we’ll happily make it – trust me, it’s worth it!  Once we get there, the rest of the family arrives, dragging food, chairs and a huge table along. Prepare for some hugs and kisses; everyone will be so happy to see you there. We all contribute a little to the dinner; you could join in if you want, or help me make my signature cake (I’ll share the recipe with you)! Before we eat, we’ll catch up. Everyone will be asking you questions too: where have you been, where are you going? It’s alright if you haven’t figured that out yet, it took us a long time to figure out what we wanted to do too. And some of us are still unsure about it! After catching up, we’ll make the last preparations and set the table. In between the courses, everyone has to pitch in and do some dishes. We could team up if you’d like. I’ll give you the choice: washing or drying? I don’t mind either. I’ll ask if you’re having a good time (I really hope so!), and remind you that you are welcome to be who you are here. We’re an open family and we love you no matter what. During the whole dinner, my family will get a bit loud. I hope you don’t mind. We don’t really do gifts, but as I’m so happy to have you here, I’ll get you something regardless. Something small, something personal. I’ll probably spend the whole year trying to think of the perfect gift, something that suits you and will remind you of the family you have here. After dinner is over, the family will be departing, everyone has to get home, and will be told to drive safely. I’ll give you the choice: we can either make the long drive home, or stay around my mum’s for the night.

With my step family, things are a little different. We meet at my step-mum’s house; the whole family gets together there. We’ll talk about anything and everything, whatever you want to talk about. Anything goes, so feel free to speak your mind. My biological dad makes the dinner – he’s a fantastic cook! There’s something for everyone, so don’t worry about having to eat something you don’t like. You can pick what you like and eat as much as you want. My step-mum will have got you a book of some sorts, and like the rest of us, you’ll be asked to open it at a random page and read out a small bit. Even if you don’t like reading, she’ll find you something that suits you!

With the in-laws, it’s more of a “typical British Christmas”: my mother-in-law makes a fantastic Christmas dinner: a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, all kinds of vegetables – you name it, it will probably be there. There will be a lot of presents underneath the tree. Knowing me and my mother-in-law, most of them will be for you. We like to spoil our children, and this year and any other that you choose to join us, that includes you. I will try my best, but her presents will best mine any day – she’s just that awesome. We will have dinner, watch some tv, unwrap the presents and share stories, experiences. We’ll have a laugh, we’ll have a cry, anything goes!

One thing all these family get-togethers have in common is that the family is accepting. We accept you, your decisions. Your dreams, your hopes, your fears and your flaws. Everything and everyone is welcome, we won’t judge you, we accept you. If there is a special someone in your life, they are welcome too!

At the end of the holidays, you’ll probably have to get back to your life. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but you’ll have loving memories to keep you warm in dark, lonely times and our support and our love continually, in the good times and the bad.

I know holidays can be tough, but this season, know that you are in my thoughts, in my heart and in my family. I’ll light a candle for you each day, that you might find what you’re looking for and live life the way you want to.

Know that I love you and think of you, my wonderful child,

Mum Sophie