Last year, as the Muffins were becoming increasingly - and rapidly - mobile, J and I decided to bite the artificial tree bullet and forgo the joy that is bringing a live tree into the house, only to clean up needles until the following Christmas. At first, I didn't want to be one of "those people" - I'd always felt a little sad for people who had artificial trees and was convinced that those who chose not to have a real tree were somehow missing out (maybe it's because fake trees were so ugly for so long?).
I was wrong.
A decent looking artificial tree isn't cheap, and we'd figured that we'd need to get at least 5 years' use out of it to justify the expense, but so far it's been worth it. Certainly, set up and take down are much easier, but the tree's really nice, too. Add to that the fact that it's pre-lit and that I can have it up, though not yet decorated, and still enjoy it to a large extent, and I'm a happy artificial tree owner.
I've always found a bare tree somewhat depressing, but I haven't had time to pull out the ornaments and garland to appropriately decorate yet - no worries, though, since the tree at least sparkles with a ton of white lights and isn't just a green blob sitting in the corner of my front room. That would depress me. I'll get around to decorating this weekend, and I'll love it. We're in for another storm tomorrow afternoon and are supposed to get clobbered with another on Sunday. Overall, I have to massively scale back my house decorating for the foreseeable future (read: the next 4-5 years) because the kids would destroy pretty much anything within reach.
Still, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...