Definitely corny, but that was expected, it's basically the rule when it comes to holiday-themed content so I don't mind at all. Quite the opposite, really.
Some minor pacing issues but nothing too severe IMO, mainly the party
scene and the snow war
scene that could maybe have been compacted into one scene? This is also where I felt Tempest's character was the weakest IMO.
The lead-in was amazing, with her lost in thought and friendly, but still "bad" enough that she planned on throwing out the next pony she encountered and seize the room for herself
. She's conflicted and reformed, but still definitely Tempest.
The gem hunt
onwards, up to and including the end, was also fantastic and on point. For the first time in a long while she actually has someone who gives a shit about her, and you handled it expertly instead of needlessly dwelling on it and turning it into unnecessary drama. Tempest's handling and swift defusal of the situation after her return seems very much in-character and was very well-written.
I get the theme you were going for, and Tempest's internal struggles work very well for the first and last part, but I don't think it works exceptionally well for the middle part, and the party scene
and snow war
both say the same thing. There she's more or less a "shy nerd" stereotype who's eventually dragged along and comes out of her shell. It does the job and is believable given the scenario, but it's not great and doesn't give us any deeper look into Tempest. Aside from somehow combining those two scenes into one, I can't really think of a better way to handle it though, so maybe you did the best possible thing given a very limiting scenario, because *a* scene is definitely needed there between beginning and end.
Aside from that, a few spelling errors here and there, but nothing major. Loved it, it's definitely a recommended read