On Christmas Eve I decided to be completely spontaneous and book a flight home to surprise my family for the first time in three years! SMH

Let me back track a bit as the reason why I wasn’t planning on going to Utah was that I had just come back from a week in Palm Springs. Also, in January I am taking off for a week to a tropical destination [stay tuned 😉 ] so my travel schedule was becoming very tight. Aaaand, in my defense – I want to point out that when you move to LA from Provo, Utah – EVERYONE comes to visit you. Who can say no to the sun, sand, surf and most importantly…Disneyland?! That’s right. No one.

My sister, Ashley – you can call her Ash – left to Utah on the Monday before the the spirited holiday. Since then spent the next few days FaceTiming and chatting with my family. Realizing how much I miss home hit me like an avalanche at that moment all I wanted [and more importantly needed] was to be around my clan, crew, my family.

I grabbed my AmEx and called the concierge to book me the next flight to Salt Lake City, Utah. I am telling you right now that carrying the Delta Platinum American Express card really pays off! Within four hours I was at LAX ready to give my mom and the rest of my family a Christmas to remember. I. Could. Not. Wait.

One of my best friends, Britney, who lives in Los Angeles, has a cabin in Park City and had been staying there all of December. Selfishly I hoped her cabin fever was kicking in and she would be pining at the chance to collect me from the airport and drive the hour and fifteen minutes in the snow to my homestead.

It was a single text to Brit telling her I was toying with the idea of coming home for Christmas, when the reply, “OMG, how thrilling! Can I will come pick you up and hand deliver you myself?!” was sent back. Jackpot. Everything was falling into place. The flight home, a ride to my mom’s and the most important part…my FAMILY!

Thanks to the 4-matic drive of my girlfriends Benz, I swiftly arrived upon the doorstep of my mom’s home just an hour after my flights landing gear hit the icy tarmac. My heart was pounding. I swear I could see the beats through all four layers I was wearing. Including one heavily filled down and fur bomber from Ralph Lauren.

While standing at my red front door the sounds of cheer and excitement were thick in the frosty air. I couldn’t wait to walk inside. Just then – as if it were possible – my heart began to race even faster, almost as if he was the one who was going to knock on the door and shout ‘SUPRISE!’

This was it, time to go in. I took a deep breath and turned the brass handle, which must have been about seven degrees, and let myself in. I knew it would be unlocked…after all this is Utah on Christmas eve.

The next few moments were a bit blurry. Adrenaline took over my six senses. Vibrating and ignited with joy as I crossed the threshold, I began belting the hit Christmas tune, ‘There’s no place like home for the holidays’ as if I was Ewan McGregor in a Moulin Rouge holiday spectacular for the ABC network.

Finally my eyes focused on just what I needed, MY family! All sitting around a roaring fire, a beautiful tree and laughing about holidays past.For the first time in years, I was home.

The look on my mothers face is something I will never forget and more importantly, treasure. Her eyes were full of pure joy, unconditional love and bliss. Her son was home. And yeah, she stared crying. TBH…she wasn’t the only one. Yes, that’s right – even this big lug manages to let his cheeks get wet. Something I learned is you never know what you need until you are surrounded by your entire support system. A Christmas to hold onto.

The photos below were taken at Sundance Ski Resort where I learned to ski a couple decades ago. All the shots were taken from my mom and let me tell you, to be photographed by the woman I have been inspired by throughout my my entire life was the ultimate gift. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!