Mama always took the tree down on New Year’s Day. New Year, newly clean house, fresh start. I tried to imitate her, but rarely accomplished it all on The Day. Then I heard about leaving the tree up until Epiphany. What? An excuse to procrastinate? Bad luck if you take it down before the Magi get to see Baby Jesus? Count me in!

My first child was born on January 5th, and that was the end of that. Unlike my December-birthday mother, MY baby’s day was going to be all hers. No presents in Christmas wrapping paper for her, and for goodness’ sake, we would get that tree down and all trappings of the holiday put away by the end of January 1st so we could turn our attention to the birthday girl. Then it was piñatas, costumes, guests, cake, and party dresses. Hooray!

Not too long ago, she and I were looking at Christmas trees together. “I always wished we could leave our tree up for my birthday,” she said softly. “It would have been so pretty.”