My wife and I have long disliked the idea of cutting so many trees for the holiday, and though we both love the scent, the tradition, decorating with ornaments that have been in our families for generations and the "realness", we just couldn't keep bringing home a cut tree. A brief tangent; two years ago we did bring home two root ball tress so we could replant them, but the tree used inside was not able to hibernate properly through the winter due to the warmth inside our house and did not make it after we replanted it outside.
SO - Back in 2000 we came up with the idea of the "Tree -Less" tree, here it is in a nutshell...
Step 1: Make a Base
You can use anything you want, wood, aluminum, what have you. Be creative. You can even make a corner if you want to put your tree in a corner, or a hemisphere to go against a wall. Try a square! The important thing is to secure the lights in place around the edge. We used safety pins to pin the lights through the fabric and cardboard. You will need to run the string down to your base, attach it, run it across the base by your desired space, attach again, then send it back up to the top - sort of like lacing a shoe.