First off, I'm psyched because it's real! My family has always had artificial trees (albeit very realistic-looking ones), because poor Andrew is allergic to something conifer-related and, of course, we'd rather have a healthy, happy brother/son/self than a genuine Douglas fir.
Secondly, we practically cut it down ourselves. Well, not really. We did do some market research, though. On the day after Thanksgiving, a whole bunch of Christmas tree vendors set up shop along the sidewalks, so you'll probably hit one every 10 blocks or so. In our area, there happen to be two that are across the street from each other, so we were able to price things out by walking 20 yards. Boy, did we get a deal. (I don't really know if it's a steal or not, but it was less than we counted on spending, so it's a deal, no?)
Thirdly, we made all the decorations ourselves (except the hiding hog). I wish I could say it was because we are uber-creative and had planned it all along, but we just ran out of time. Nonetheless, they are lovely and we both think it's a wonderful first Christmas tree (yep, we've never had one that was exclusively ours).
Here's how it all went down: