As a busy reporter who lives in a one-bedroom apartment, I really don’t have much to do in the way of decking my place out for Christmas.

I see all the decorations on other people’s homes and in town and that’s usually enough to put me in the spirit for the holiday at hand. But this Christmas, I’ve already had a double dose of Christmas tree decorating and before the big day arrives I expect to have a total of three trees to my name. One at the office, one at my apartment and one at my parents’ house.

Of those three, my parents’ tree probably is the most entertaining and, at times, embarrassing and infuriating.

My folks are the frugal type, so the artificial tree they bought 20 years ago is still in use and certainly shows its age. In fact, the thing has lost so many of its plastic needles over the years, I’m amazed it still even resembles a living tree. And with it’s branches becoming increasingly bare, wrapping them with lights can feel like sticking your hand into a tangle of barbed wire. My arms have the cuts this year to prove it.

They also hold onto some old ornaments, many of which my sister and I made when we were in elementary school and younger. I can pretty well handle those that feature my comically-crude artwork, but those that include old school photos of me sporting a chili-bowl haircut and Hawaiian shirt generally end up on the backside of the tree.

But we also have a lot fun putting up that old tree. We’ve collected ornaments from our many vacations and milestones over the years and it’s fun to think about them again when it comes time to decorate. And in recent years, we’ve adopted what I believe to be the German tradition of hiding a pickle somewhere in the tree. Of course, we use a glass ornament in place of the real thing, but the idea is that whoever finds it gets some good luck sent their way.

I’ll see my parents’ tree a few times over the holiday season and while it might be a pain to set up and make some of us cringe, it’s been a part of our family about as long as I’ve been around. So I can’t imagine Christmas without it.

Happy birthday Tuesday to Bonnie Ertel of Denison; Sandra Holt, Clarice Coffee and Mika Zuerlein, all of Sherman; Sheraya Adanho of Durant; Kay Jarvis White of Austin; and Marilyn Fulenwider Hobbs of North Richland Hills.