We've had an artificial Christmas tree for a number of years. We lived in a third floor apartment for a long time, and carrying a live tree up the stairs, and then carrying an almost dead tree dripping needles back down the stairs a month later, and then having to go vacuum up all the needles from the stairs so the neighbors didn't complain... well, it all just got to be a bit too much. So, we made the investment in a pre-lit fake tree, and it serves our purposes just fine.
I do miss the smell of a real tree though, and today I gave in and bought a cute little one from Lowe's. It came with its own little temporary tree stand, and smells just like Christmas. I didn't want to spend a whole lot to decorate it, since it's going on the back porch, so I went simple - just lights, bows, and some gold stars. I have to say that I'm extremely pleased with how it turned out.
Rather than a star on top, I used a couple of wooden ornaments from Pier One (also where I got the gold stars) that indicate exactly the emotions the Great Outdoors generally evokes for me. It looks nice at night, but I think I actually like it even better during the day. It's really nice when something you envision turns out exactly like you planned!