That last statement is not entirely true -- in the taking-apart-battle the tree was coming out ahead, so we compromised. Here is the problem: my artificial tree has three legs which make its stand, and they are hard to wiggle out of their slots. When I fought with the first one, twisting it and pulling it, it suddenly came free way too fast. I now have a small hole in my upper gums. It could have been worse: at least I don't have a puffy lip. That would be embarrassing to explain at my interview.
I struggled with the other two legs for awhile, but decided I didn't want to do any more damage to myself. Thus, the compromise: it is now in its box with the two legs sticking out. This won't last though, because it's annoying. Next time I'm in the basement I'll try again with a small hammer. And a mouth guard. That should do the trick.