Then I get out my loppers and go to town.
I started doing this years ago when I would get frustrated by the incredible mess I made trying to haul the entire tree -- by this time quite dried out -- through the hallway and out the front door. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dried pine needles would cascade to the floor, to be swept and/or vacuumed up later. There would always be some that we would not get, though, and some of those would invariably announce their presence via stabbing foot pains as they lodged themselves in the socks of the unwary shoeless walker.
I figured the fewer total needles falling to the floor, the fewer total little green daggers would afterwards lie in wait to stab our feet. I think the math works… sort of.
So I got a big pair of pruning shears -- what I referred to earlier as "loppers" -- and started cutting all of the branches off the tree before trying to move it outside. This allowed me to take small piles of branches at a time, and made for a much less chaotic transfer of the former Yule tree to the outdoors. I also was left with a naked tree trunk, and I have been storing these with the idea that someday I might make walking sticks or something out of them.
This year, I decided to set up my little Pentax camera to take a series of interval shots so that I could get a time-lapse movie of the process. I think it came out pretty well.
At the very least, it made Jeannine chuckle several times, which I thought was a good thing, as she always feels a little sad to see the tree come down. -- PL