Yes, there are inherent difficulties between holiday wants from a human perspective and the natural needs of cats. But all is not Scrooged as long as you think creatively and...wait for it...COMPROMISE! Happy (and safe) holidays, #teamcatmojo!
Important Information about Cats and Christmas Trees
There is some stuff that I think is common sense but I want to make sure I drive it home.
To avoid encouraging your cats to play with your fragile and potentially hazardous decorations (especially if they shatter into pieces), keep your lights and ornaments tied up close to the Christmas tree branches, not dangling loosely. Another word for "dangling shiny thing" is "cat toy". Also, to deter cats away from the tree, take the peels of any citrus fruit and put them in a ziplock bag. Poke holes in the bag and put them around the base of the Christmas tree, almost like ornaments - these will act as a natural cat repellent.
Consider a fake tree. It helps reduce the dangers of a real one, like the sappy water bowl that cats might drink from, or the pine needles they may end up eating. If you are going to use a real tree, make sure that you anchor the tree to something sturdy like the wall; you can't ask a cat not to climb a tree, and the worst thing on a Christmas morning is and having to explain to your kids why Santa knocked over the tree!
Beware that many holiday plants (including holly, mistletoe, poinsettia) are toxic to cats.
Remember to always monitor open flames like candles or fireplaces. We've known cats to either swat a candle over, or accidentally light their tails on fire when they walked by (!)
Holiday candy is human candy. For example, chocolate can be lethal to cats so be sure to keep a close eye on your treats to make sure they don't fall into the wrong hands (or paws!)
Cats get into Christmas trees and will sometimes chew the wires for the lights. You can treat the wires with substances like "Bitter Apple." Also. use any of my suggestions for keeping them away from the tree in general OR don't use electric lights.
Also, there are products like LUME where you can feed electric cords through them from the tree to the outlet and your cats won't be able to chew through it.
Turn off your tree, put out your candles, and incense when you can't supervise.