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Reusing your Christmas tree -- creatively & green!

Christmas is over, it's almost the New Year, and you still have your tree sitting proudly in your living room.  I almost feel bad for Christmas trees...last week, they were the centerpiece of the holidays, decorated with garland, lights, and ornaments, with presents beneath it and children excitedly gathering around it.  Today, it's a reminder that the holidays are nearly over and that you need to remember to discard it.

Most municipalities offer Christmas tree pickups in January.  However, I have a few fun alternative things you can do with your old tannenbaum: 

  • Make mulch!  If you have access to a wood chipper, you can also make mulch out of the whole tree.  Otherwise, you can just use the pine needles.  
  • Make potpourri!  Save the pine needles, mix with cinnamon sticks, cloves, essential oils, pine cones, and cranberries for a wintry potpourri. 
  • Toss it in a body of water!  It creates a shelter for fish and provides the water with nutrients. Christmas trees will float and you'll need some sort of weight attached to it to sink the tree.  If you're planning to throw it in a public body of water, you'll need to check with the city first.  
  • Feed the birds!  (Without paying tuppence a bag!)  Put the entire tree into your backyard and string berries or popcorn on the branches to attract birds.  You can also attach pine cones with peanut butter.  Birds will also use the tree for shelter.
  • Warm your garden!  Cut the boughs off and put them over perennials in your garden. It can help protect plants from temperature fluctuations and frost heaving.  
  • Get decorative!  Save the tree trunk to edge your garden beds.  
  • Get crafty! You can do a lot of crafts with the trunks. I read about someone who makes coasters out of the tree trunks.  There are plenty of other crafty ideas out there, too!  
  • Grow tomatoes! Save the tree trunk until the springtime and reuse as stakes for things like tomatoes in your garden.
  • Get toasty!  Use it as firewood in an outdoor fire pit.  [Note:  Don't burn a Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove.  Evergreen trees have a high content of flammable oils, which can cause chimney fires!)

Happy New Year!