We have almost always bought a Christmas tree. As a "stickler", I prefer that it not be up until Christmas Eve, and not taken down until the 13th day after Christmas. This usually doesn't work. Barbara loves having a granddaughter help with trimming the tree, and she will not put up with my delaying tactics. When the tree dies, and starts shedding, Barbara complains about the mess, and the tree has to come down ahead of my preferred schedule. So be it.
This year, I was shocked when she brought home an artificial tree. I would as soon use the wrong fork to eat my salad. She said something about "saving a tree". I began reminding her about the materials and the energy that had been used to fabricate that wretched excuse for a tree.
I explained that most Christmas trees now came from Christmas tree farms. All these trees-and there are millions of them-help to absorb carbon dioxide. I pointed out that we had friends who had developed a Christmas tree farm, about fifty miles north of San Francisco. The wife was a CPA, and in a year of high earnings, she shrewdly spent a lot of tax-deductible dollars on setting up a small forest. (We never did learn whether they came out ahead when the trees matured.)
Brian and Marlene came to our rescue. After the family Christmas Eve celebration at their house, they brought up their real tree, and helped us find and use the stand, so that it was ready for decorating. Granddaughter Justine helped to add the ornaments and lights, and we were all set.
Fortunately, I guess, that artificial tree was defective, so Barbara could return it for full credit.
I was happily waiting until the end of the Twelfth day of Christmas, but while my back was turned (Justine and I were in church on Sunday) the tree came down, the floor was swept, and the ornaments stored for next year. Win a few, lose a few.
Several years ago, we bought a small living Christmas tree, and it was still alive when we planted it, waiting for next years Christmas season. The tree still lived, but did not seem to be thriving. One day, Barbara complained about this to our wonderful Japanese gardener, George Sujishi. His reply, in his still-accented English "Christmas tree! I make it bonsai."