December 23, 2013

5 Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

by Toni Leland

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree! Your branches green delight us!

Celebrating the holiday season with firs and pines and spruces bedecked with baubles or strings of cranberries and popcorn is an ancient tradition dating back to the 16th century. But even before that, ancient peoples decorated their homes with boughs of evergreens to keep away the bad spirits, and celebrate the coming renewal of life after the winter solstice.

Today, once the season has passed, our lovely trees pose a quandary as to what to do with them. Most cities and towns have curbside recycling, but her are other ways in which you can recycle your own tree and choose how it will return to our beautiful Earth.
  1. Enjoy the tree for several more months by setting it outside and draping it with goodies for the birds. Pinecones dipped in peanut butter and birdseed make lovely ornaments.
    Courtesy Mark Walma
    Strings of berries, grapes, and suet will last for weeks in winter weather, providing a lot of much needed nourishment for the critters and a lot of entertainment for you. Once the weather warms, or you are tired of looking at the tree, use one of the following methods to recycle.
  2. If your back yard lends itself to providing habitat for wildlife, cut the tree into pieces and push them back into the underbrush or shrubs at the edges of your property. These skeletal structures will provide a base for the plants and vines that come up in the spring, as well as shelter for numerous critters.
  3. Use a wood chipper to make your own mulch for gardening season, or dry the chunks and use them for fire-starters.
  4. Rural folks who own a pond – especially one stocked with fish – can submerge the tree into the deepest water to provide a habitat for the fish and other water creatures.
  5. The most obvious use of the tree: cut it into firewood, dry and use for fuel. Use caution with this type of wood, as it is very combustible and could be dangerous in an open fireplace or small stove.
Do YOU have a unique way of re-using your Christmas tree? Share it here!

Happy Holidays to all!


  1. We always used to put our tree upright on the back deck, where it could be used by birds for cover as they flitted back and forth to the bird feeder.

    1. Great idea, Holly. Shelter near a bird feeder is important to birds, and this is an excellent way to enjoy your feeder close by the deck. Thanks for sharing!