I always stick our Christmas tree in a small, galvanized steel bucket, as I have never found a stand that I liked. At last, Austrian designer Matthias Lehr has designed the perfect stand. His X-Mas-Tree-Stand is made of wood with a stainless steel tube and is easily folded for storage. View at Raumgestalt (look under Christmas Box); available for €45.50 at Nennmann.
P.S . Growing up in the UK, we never put our tree in water; strangely, I find the tree lasts just as long without water. Update: A reader says: "The Nordman Fir, which is the most popular variety of Christmas tree in Europe, does not seem to require the water that North American varieties do. It is popular because it never seems to shed needles." Maybe that explains it.