“Mother, can we please go ahead and put up the Christmas tree?” I begged, not even trying to hide the pitiful look on my face. “No, Mark, we cannot!” she replied. From the tone of her voice, I knew any further negotiation was off the table. But, still, I tried by using my most persuasive arguments. “Mark, you know we always put the tree up closer to your birthday,” she countered, walking away to end the conversation.