When I was in high school (late 50s) my mother (ignoring Dad's vociferous protests) bought us a REAL tree. Up to then we had had a series of really BAD silver tin-foil trees with an annual changing of the color of the ornaments to be used. One year they were a horrible magenta!
However, (yep, you knew the however, was coming) what she failed to consider was the budgie cage filled with 6 young parakeets. Our loving couple had blessed us with 8 eggs that fall, 6 of which hatched into adorable little trouble-makers. We thought it would be cool to watch the process but, hadn't a clue as to the problems we were inviting into our lives.
The first thing that happened is that the male (Sam) dropped dead a few weeks after we purchased him a beautiful yellow mate (Samantha). Apparently, we had waited too long to get him a mate. He couldn't handle the stress. I guess he knew what was coming as the brood that hatched was a real rowdy bunch.
One day, one of them figured out how to open the cage door (my mother swore that I left it ajar after feeding them) and the whole lot escaped (except for Samantha, who was glad they were gone). I heard my mother yell, "Noooooooo! Nooooooo! The Christmas Tree!"
I rushed into the front room to find her shooing the flock from her precious tree. They were busily plucking off the flocking and pine needles. The front room was more flocked than the tree. Thank God my mother didn't have a gun because she probably would have shot the birds, me, and then herself!
By the time we caught all 6 (took about an hour during which time my mother was uttering all kinds of obscenities) the poor tree looked a little sad. There was white flocking and pine needles in every part of the house. My mother was livid.
The next day the parakeets were gone (all of them) cage and all. I never had the courage to ask her what she did with them. I had visions of her taking them to the Chinese restaurant at the shopping center down the street (Sorry, was that not politically correct to say?).
We went back to fake trees the next year. A green one this time!