Your Holiday Mom: Karen

karen d dog picDear Holiday Child,

I am so happy to welcome you to my home for the holidays! My husband and I do not have children of our own, so we are honoured that you would be with us at this special time of year, thank you for giving us this gift. There are no secrets here, no shame, no hiding who we truly are at the core. You can be every bit of your beautiful self. You can talk about yourself, your hopes and dreams, your fears, your difficulties, your triumphs, your questions. We want to hear it all, as much as you care to share. Do you have a friend or a partner that you cannot share with your family? Please feel free to bring someone who is special to you, you both will be our honoured guests.

We have our Christmas tree set up in the living room (a real tree, of course!) and all of the ornaments are hung. We do have two large dogs though, so the bottom three feet of the tree have only unbreakable ornaments, as those tails have sent more than one ball flying across the room! Do you like dogs? Our dogs Zoey and Koda will love you, every single ounce of you. Isn’t that the magic of animals…they have no judgement, they just love and want to be loved.

My sisters and their families will be joining us for dinner, so I might need your help in the kitchen, if that’s ok? We will cook a giant turkey, so that we have leftovers for days. I have a special recipe for sausage stuffing, which is always a hit and makes the house smell divine, and also a pineapple casserole which is so tasty that my husband says it is more like dessert. I’ll get you to help me set the table, and we can use the good dishes (even though we’ll have to wash them by hand later). You can set the table however you want, just make sure there is room for two families of four, and our little family of three, plus your friend. It will be tough to fit twelve people around the table, but we can do it!

The holidays can be a tough time of year for lots of folks. I like to think of it as a time of reflection and renewal. I look back on the year that is nearly over and think about the hills and valleys I encountered, as well as looking forward to the new year and the fresh start that it brings. As a gender or romantic minority, you have probably encountered many valleys this year. I can only imagine how difficult it is to not be able to share your truth with your family, and to not be accepted for this truth. Please know that I accept and honour your truth, and I would be so very proud to be your mom. I encourage you not to alienate your family, but to also look to others to be additional family members. Your greatest allies may be in the form of friends, partners, mentors…let them fill your soul with the love and understanding that you may not find at home. Expand your definition of family so that you too will have a family that you can count on, that will nourish you in times of defeat, that will celebrate you in times of glory.

I will be thinking of you this holiday season, dear child. I will be wrapping my arms around you and giving you a safe space. I will be talking to you and listening to you, and also giving you moments of sweet silence, where you can just be. I will think of you as the gift that you are and I will hope for you to see yourself as such.

With much love,

Mom Karen


  1. Jamie says:

    Thank you so much for the letter. I have really needed something like this. Both sides of my family are very religious and homophobic so being a bisexual is not something I can come out as. I don’t even think they think there is such a thing. I just wanted to say thank you for your kind works and you have some of the most cutest dogs I have ever seen!

  2. Vincent says:

    thank you so much karen.
    ive been very depressed all winter but this letter really helped. i know my own family would never except me (as a nonbinary asexual panromantic living with transphobic/homophobic parents acceptance is something i cant really picture happening) so hearing that there is a family who would is really nice. also, you have the cutest dogs ever. i hope you have a magnificant holiday!

    • karen says:

      Vincent, I will be thinking of you this holiday season! I hope you can spend time with your extended family of friends and mentors who accept you as the perfect being that you are! Whenever I’m having a bad day, if I am not at home with my dogs, I look at photos of them and it really does help cheer me up in that moment. So I hope that the photo can bring you just a little bit of cheer over what can be a difficult season. They would love you and lick you and climb on your lap and ask for bum scratches and walk through your legs! And probably ask for a few treats in return 🙂

      Thinking of you,

  3. Holly says:

    hello! thank you, mom! I also LOVE dogs! I have 3 cats of my own, even though I’m allergic to cats.

    as I haven’t told my parents that I am pansexual yet, I don’t feel very close to them. I feel like it’s part of the reason I have such bad anxiety.

    thank you !! =^.^=

    • karen says:

      Hi Holly,

      I wish I could have both cats and dogs, many of them! They bring such joy to our lives, don’t they? I’m sorry to hear that you aren’t close with your parents. I can imagine that feeling like you have to hide your true self must cause a lot of anxiety. It can be hard for pansexual teens because not only do they have to tell their parents about themselves, but they often have to also educate their parents on what that means, which can feel backwards! I wish you the best of luck for when you do decide that the time is right, and I hope that they react with love and acceptance and interest. Maybe they will surprise you, but until then, know that there is nothing wrong with any aspect of you!

      Holiday hugs,


  4. Jenn says:

    Thank you, Karen for a beautiful letter, I love the invitation to expand definition of family to include friends, partners and mentors…so wise and full of truth.

    • Grace says:

      I thank you for this. I am a pansexual girl and, while my parents don’t exactly care about my sexuality, that’s their problem. They don’t care, at least not when it counts. I am diagnosed with depression and anxiety and, while I am a year clean from self harm, the time around December 17th is always hard for me, as that is when I was placed in a mental hospital. You’d likely treat me better than my own blood relatives do, and yes, I would love your dogs.

      • karen says:

        Grace, I’ll be thinking of you this holiday season, and especially on the 17th. I am so proud of you for being a year clean – that is a really amazing accomplishment! I wish I could give you a hug right now. I’ll give you a virtual hug and please know that you are in my heart.

        • Grace says:

          Thank you. I think your kindness has given me a little more hope about my future. Thanks for being an amazing person and holiday mom.

Leave a Reply