In my house, xmas is not a big deal. It is more like another Thanksgiving but without turkey. We don't even exchange gifts, although I provide "stockings" in the form of little gift bags of goodies. I don't expect anything myself, as I already have everything (a benefit of being old).
But my two-year-old granddaughter changes everything. There still won't be a gift exchange per se, but there will be the gift bags plus toddler gifts big and small. And a tree.
I have not put up a tree in years. The only xmas decorating I would do was to exchange the nature wreath over the fireplace for a plastic xmas themed one, hang another plastic wreath on the front porch, replace the family photos on the mantel with any ornaments that can stand on their own and surround them with twinkle lights. If I was feeling particularly festive, a poinsettia might appear on the dining room table.
This year I wanted a tree. I contemplated buying a pre-lit fake tree - they looked so pretty in the sales flyers and I thought there would be no needles to vacuum and no swearing at the lights - but they looked so ugly in the store and a co-worker disabused me of the idea that there would be no needles and never any lights to hang. So instead, I pictured buying a "live" tree, creating handmade winter-solstice themed ornaments, wrapping the branches with strings of cranberries and popcorn, etc. You get the picture. I looked at real trees, but for some reason not one found its way into my car, let alone my home. On the spur of the moment, I bought a cheap pre-lit one at Home Depot instead.
I had my misgivings on assembly. It really was ugly. But something magical happened once the lights were lit - it become less ugly.
Add the ornaments and now it is actually pretty. It sits by the dining room window, providing a bit of cheer on not-yet-really-cold nights.
Yes, a few needles fell off, but as of right now, all the lights work. It does not need to be watered and the nearby hot air vent can't dry it out. The heavier ornaments do not bow the branches. The pets appear oblivious to its enticements. There is no piney aroma, so I bought a decorative spray of greenery at Lowes.
There is even a poinsettia on the dining room table.
All I need now are some holiday flamingos.