Don't know about anyone else, but an unsung aspect of the holiday season for me as a child was always the introduction of an outside element into the domesticity of our household. As in what a trip it was to haul inside a real tree and set it up right in the freakin' living room. No ornaments on top or presents underneath could ever eclipse the primal presence of this reminder that our species - speaking as a city-dweller at the time - has lost touch with our animal roots. Oftentimes I would sneak out at night and just simply hang out with it, taking in the thick, rich sappy scent that infused the room. But it was always an inevitable bummer to put an end to the daily cascade of dead needles carpeting the floor by dragging the festive carcass out to the back yard, where it would live out a second life resurrected as a playground shelter for birds. It's an annual melancholic mulling that since moving away from home, and especially after my mom not being around anymore, I haven't yet ever set up a tree of my own. I suppose when I do, it'll be symbolic of finally settling down, and I can open up the boxes of carefully stored family ornaments, and spend a night threading cranberries, and cook up some ceremonial lentil soup as per my grandmother's traditional German custom.
And leave the tree up as long as possible.