Oh Tannenbaum, Oh Tannenbaum, why do you have to be a fake one?
Up until two years ago, every Christmas tree I've ever had has been real and I prefer it that way.
As a child, my mom would take us to the tree lot and we'd walk around in the cold, and sometimes snow, to find the "perfect" tree. We typically got a Douglas Fir as that seemed to be the only option. Typically it wasn't more than about five and a half feet tall. We would put it into the trunk of the car, bungee cord the lid shut and head off for home. Of course, my sister and I could hardly wait for the tree to be put into the stand and the lights on. My mom would get out the saw, cut off the bottom, put it in the stand and bring it in. She then put the lights on and they were the colored bulbs that were probably two inches long and they had a clip on each one so it was a slow, painstaking process.
The next step was slowly decorating with the ornaments and as kids will do, we put all the ornaments in clumps at our eye level. My mom would always rearrange and put the fragile ornaments on the top out of our reach. The final step was always putting the felt tree skirt around the base. Some years we put on that static-filled silver tinsel, but that seemed to get all over the place. Other years my grandma would put on these solid clear plastic "icicles" that were probably six to eight inches long with a small hook on the one end to hang up on the branches. They were quite attractive with the lights reflecting off of them.
After we married, my husband and I purchased a tree each year. We preferred Noble firs because they never really lost their needles making cleanup so much easier, but they also had such lovely spaces just right for placing the ornaments. After watching my feeble attempts at putting lights on, he informed me that he would do it. That meant setting the tree up in the stand and wrapping the lights around each branch....another painstakingly slow process. Then I was given the all clear to decorate as I saw fit. We have three large plastic totes filled with ornaments and depending upon the size of the tree, I haven't been able to use all of them each year.
After a decade of dragging a tree home from the lot and paying more exorbitant prices each year, my husband finally convinced me to get a pre-lit artificial tree. He wanted it pre-lit to avoid the hassle of lights and I wanted one that looked real. We finally settled on one from Costco and we have been quite pleased. Below is a photo of my dog, me and my pregnant belly taken two years ago with the new tree.