I put my Christmas tree up over the weekend. I brought into the house from the garage a mangy five and a half foot pre-assembled pre-wired artificial tree and plugged it in.
Voila. I bought it last year the day after Christmas at a hardware store where it was the demo model.
That was the same day that I brought my seven and a half foot tall fir pine artificial tree, disassembled, to the thrift store, closing a chapter in my life where for a decade I had expansive yuletide decorations in my house in hopes that my family soon would be there. Since that hadn't happened since 2002, it was time to get rid of all that junk.
Now no more unclaimed presents under the tree for the boys or stockings hung by the fireplace with care. Only a slightly leaning tree in the corner with a single strand of lights upon it and some scraps of tinsel and a few ornaments hanging down from it, mostly memorializing my various trips around the country like the miniature gateway arch from St. Louis (2010), tiny Seventh Cavalry trooper figure from the Little Big Horn battlefield (2011) and Oregon quarter keychain from Crater Lake (2012).