The solution came when I was passing an arts supply store. They were having a 50% off sale on artist easels, which of course are made of wood, fold out into the perfect triangular tripod and best of all there are no needles to clean up. I bought a bunch of long screws and wingnuts to create hooks for the decorations and ledges for the lights. A few strands of white fairy lights later, and we had all we needed to get cozy against the early dark nights.
But what REALLY makes my tree this year are these fabulous sheep decorations from The Knitting Goddess.
At the time of writing, she still had some sets left on her site. All proceeds are going to charity so you'll also be supporting some wonderful causes. I think some British Breed wool pom poms are the next thing I need to make.