I am never going to be one of those bloggers that have their holiday posts up before Thanksgiving. Mainly because I do not have my holiday décor up until well after Thanksgiving. The thing I noticed is that I do not enjoy the holidays when I am in them as I do after the fact. Once the rush is over, I like to come down slowly by leaving everything out, up, and under the tree, so I can relish and relive a lot of what I unable to savor in the moment.

So yes, today is January 25, 2021, and both my Hanukkah and Christmas décor is still up*, my holiday table is still set, and I am still basking in the warm glow of the season. BONUS! Austin snowed about a week ago and it did feel like we were having an actual White Christmas!

*For those who may have missed my IG pre-holiday post, I grew up celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas, and have figured out a way to honor both equally, including how I dress for festivities. Read more here.  When deciding what to wear every holiday season (and most days TBH), I go vintage. 

The dress below is one that I have had forever, and I will keep forever as well. FUN FACT! The zipper on the dress broke right before this shoot and we had to get busy with safety pins. Since then, I purchased a new zipper and will be dropping it off at the tailor for repair this week. And this was such a great find, I paid a lot more for the zipper than the dress. I styled this vintage beauty with satin mules from Banana Republic in a fun, hot pink, which ties directly with the pop of color in the beaded flowers.

I have included a few more vintage dresses that were on rotation this holiday season. Follow us on Instagram if you missed it!

There is another reason we keep our tree up for one month after Christmas. Today is my little guy’s 11th birthday and his asking if we could keep the tree up until his birthday is one tradition that I was happy to embrace for a couple of reasons:

  • His birthday is one month after Christmas, and like anyone whose birthday falls within a certain “distance” of the season, whether before or after, gets the proverbial shaft on presents, the party, etc. Sorry, bud.
  • Finn’s due date was March 8th. Now, as most moms know, a due date is not an exact science, but no matter how you slice it, January was too early.

On December 25, 2009, after a day of debating whether my water had in fact had broken early, or I lost ALL ability to control my bladder**, I trip to the ER confirmed the former. I was around 27-28 weeks at the time. So rather than a nice holiday at home before becoming a family of four, I was whisked to the labor and delivery part of the maternity ward, where I was monitored and pumped full of everything from drugs to stop labor, steroids to get his lungs to inflate, drugs to deal with the RH negative of it all, and so, so much more.

We were able to stop labor from progressing and after 2-3 days in L/D, I was moved to the recovery portion of the floor where I lived, on bed rest, for about a month. On January 25, 2010, a 4 lb., 6 oz. squish of a thing came via emergency c-section and lived in the NICU as one of their biggest patients until he came home after a month. Finn was what they call a late-term grower/feeder and I still love that term. When people asked me what he was like, I honestly equate it to when you are baking a cake and you pull it out to check if it is done but immediately return it to the oven because you can just tell it needs about 10 more minutes. Well, Finn was that cake in baby form.

My story is very calm compared to so many, my family support, health insurance, a job that treated me like family, the most wonderful medical staff on the planet, etc., etc. Most importantly, 11 years later you would never know Finn was ever a preemie. He is completely healthy. But it was still an incredibly stressful time for our family and leaving the hospital on January 31st without my baby was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. For the first few years, the month between Christmas and Finn’s birthday brought up a lot of negative emotions. Add to that the post-holiday funk and feeling any pressure to take down the decorations….. It was a lot.

One bright spot to leaving the hospital after over a month was returning to my home and seeing all the holidays untouched. So, we lit the Menorah, plugged in the tree lights, finished opening presents, and sat on the couch sipping hot chocolate, just the three of us, talking about all the things we were excited to do with Finn once he came home. So when Finn asked if we could keep the tree up, it was an easy YES!

Everyone tries to be present and “in the moment” for so much, but what about days like Christmas (or on your wedding day), where the joy, energy, and happy chaotic nature of the day makes that nearly impossible – for good reasons. And while newlyweds have their photos and videos to help relive the day, the Masons keep their tree up for the month after Christmas, savoring the spirit of the holidays, reclaiming one of the most stressful times in our family’s history, and celebrating simple pleasures with one special birthday boy.

** And if you missed this Fun Fact, Jennifer and I met when she hired me to work for her. We bonded at the interview and somehow shared we both had preemies, including discussing the lack of bladder control. In a job interview. After about 15 minutes. I remember saying to her that since we are now discussing peeing our pants in a job interview that this will either be the worst interview or the greatest job ever. We all know how it turned out!

Photography by Breezy Ritter