Growing up as a kid, we had live trees for Christmas. My dad would get one around Thanksgiving, set it up in the living room and we'd decorate it with all of the old style lights and ornaments. I recall the house smelling of pine tree for weeks. When we moved to New Jersey in the early 60s, we started a whole new tradition - a live tree. Not the cut down and stick in a pan kind, but a real live, ball & burlap tree with roots. We would bring it home before Thanksgiving, store it in the garage for a week or two, and then haul it upstairs to the living room in early December. Set it up in a washtub full of water and decorated it with all of our ornaments. After Christmas, we would take it back downstairs to the garage and keep it watered until the ground thawed out and then we planted it along the back of our property. We did that for about 5 years in a row. Last time I was in the area a few years back, all the trees were growing strong and well over 40 feet tall.
When my wife and I set up house in Germany, we had very little money and lived in post housing on the 3rd floor apartment. We bought a cut tree every year at the PX and hauled it upstairs to our apartment and decorated it with new ornaments that we started collecting our own ornaments (still have many German made ornaments). It started it out as a Charlie Brown kind of tree but with a couple of cheap string of lights and few hand made ornaments, it was a beautiful tree. It wasn't much, but it was our first tree together. I think I am going to have to scour my photo albums to find a picture of it. Of course, after the holidays were over, I used the express method to get it downstairs. I simply opened our big bay window in the den and tossed it down 3 stories to the ground floor.
Nowadays, with kids and dogs, we are totally into the artificial trees for simplicity. The older one has been losing needles each year and it is time to let her go. I got a new one that is a bit skinnier and hope to erect her this weekend. We used to make an event out of decorating the tree (wassail, Christmas music, wearing silly Santa hats) but since junior has left home and momma is busy taking care of her parents, looks like it will be me and the dogs. Maybe I'll crack open some Christmas beer....
What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? - Claus-trophobic