Christmas was lovely and your tree was beautiful. It held up perfectly for you and was the central point for all of your holiday cheer and family festivities. Then once the holidays wrap up and there is no longer a need for it, you toss it out on the street with the other trash, as though it never meant anything to you at all.
That’s cold, man!
Fortunately there are a variety of alternative – and less sad – methods of Christmas tree disposal.
1- Turn whole tree into a bird feeder
Take the tree to your backyard and stick it in the ground or leave in its stand. A variety of birds will be attracted by the suet. To make it better for the birds and little critters, hang dried fruit in mesh bags, popcorn strings, seeds, and stale bread from the branches. Chickadees, song sparrows, cardinals and a bunch of other outdoor friends will come for the food and stay for the shelter.
2- Donate to a goat farm or zoo
Yes, really. It turns out goats and camels love these trees. Contact the zoo or search for a local goat farm and see when you can drop off. There’s a decent chance their website will have info on this very matter, because apparently it’s sort of a thing now.
3- Use trunk to edge or decorate a garden
Cut off all the branches and use trunk to edge a garden, or strategically place it in your garden as a resting spot for birds, squirrels, and other critters.
4- Recycle into mulch
Many communities throughout the country have tree-recycling programs where trees are collected from residents and then chopped up and used as mulch for plants in community parks and gardens. Call your city hall to see if a local program exists in your neighborhood. Alternatively, you can have your tree chipped at a local garden center and use it yourself for ground cover or mulch, or gift it to someone who’s super into gardening.
5- Use in crafts
Woodworkers can use the trunk and branches in a number of crafts and projects. Or you can just use the boughs and branches as wintery decorations around the house and yard.
6- Use boughs to protect garden from winter freezes
Place whole evergreen boughs (that’s the fancy word for whole branch) on perennial beds or on rows of seedlings to protect them from winter freezes and spring thaws. The boughs provide the temps most plants need.
7- Make potpourri
Use the needles to make aromatic potpourris and sachets. After removing all the decorations, strip branches of their needles and place in brown paper bags – apparently by doing so they will retain their pungency indefinitely.
8- Use as firewood
Saw the trunk into logs and burn in your fireplace. Just don’t burn the branches since those have a tendency to send off sparks. Nothing will ruin a good dead like a horrible fire.
9- Use ashes in your garden
Now this one is probably only for the rural folk, but if it’s permitted, burn the branches and spread the ashes in your garden. The branches contain nutrients and minerals that will enrich the soil and help grow better flowers and vegetables.
10- Use a Living Christmas Tree
Skip the whole issue of disposing by just using a tree you will plant. You can either purchase one of these trees, where their roots come intact in a can, or you can put a young tree in a large pot yourself, then plant it in your yard after Christmas. See this article to learn more about Living Christmas Trees.