A real Christmas tree can be a significant fire hazard if it’s left indoors to dry out for too long. When the holidays are over and the time has come to take the tree down, you can always drop the tree off at a recycling center or tree drop-off area in your community, or even leave it curbside to be picked up on a designated pick-up day if applicable.
But there are other ways that you can recycle that Christmas tree that has added some festive cheer to your interior throughout the holidays. Here are a few ideas to help give you some inspiration.
1. Use it in Your Garden
Your garden can benefit from your old Christmas tree in a number of ways. For starters, you can shred it and use it as mulch to nourish the soil. The pine needles can add also some much-needed moisture to your garden since they are slow to decompose and aren’t prone to developing any mold.
They’re also great for insulating the garden if you live in northern parts of the state where it can get pretty cold outside. Wood chips from evergreen trees are also great for keeping unwanted insects and critters out of garden beds thanks to the scent.
2. Create an Animal Sanctuary
Whether you have livestock living on your property or simply have an affinity for animals and want to give them a place to rest comfortably, you can use tree chips made from shredding the Christmas tree to be used as bedding.
You can even leave the tree in one piece and place it outdoors to be used for birds. They can either use the tree as a habitat or can feed off of bird feeders hung from the boughs of the tree. But once the tree dries out too much, it should be safely discarded to avoid any fire hazards.
3. Add it to a Pond or Lake For the Fish
Local wildlife and other animals aren’t the only creatures of nature that can benefit from your old Christmas tree. Even the fish from a nearby body of water can take advantage of it.
If you live nearby a lake or pond, or if you have one on your own property, you can toss the tree in there to provide a natural habitat for fish. As the tree decomposes, it will attract algae which the fish can then eat.
The tree may even serve as a habitat for fish that are seeking shelter from the cold and protection against predators. Just make sure the tree hasn’t been chemically-treated and that all decorations have been removed. Also, get any necessary permission from your municipality if need be.
4. Make Something Crafty
If you’re the creative type, you might want to use the material from your Christmas tree to create something unique. You can saw the trunk into discs to be used as beverage coasters or even to edge your garden or walkway.
You might even want to place them around your yard in a decorative manner that can also serve as a resting place for squirrels, chipmunks, or birds. If you’re using the discs inside, make sure you seal them first to avoid any leakage from the wood.
With a little imagination and creativity, there are all sorts of things you can make with an old tree.
5. Steep Some Tea
Rather than toss the pine needles from the tree, save some of them to brew yourself a pot of tea. Just boil a handle of needles for a few minutes until the desired strength is achieved (usually no more than 10 minutes).
Not only will the wonderful aroma fill the space, tea made from steeped pine needles can be very healthy for you. Pine needles have tons of vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants, which have can help ward off chronic illnesses and keep your eyes healthy and strong.
Just make sure that no chemicals have been applied to the tree. In addition, identify what type of evergreen tree it is to make sure it isn’t a poisonous breed. For instance, Norfolk Island Pine and Ponderosa Pines are poisonous if consumed, so be sure to verify exactly what sort of tree the needles come from before you steep that cup.
6. Use the Pine Needles as an Indoor Air Freshener
Boiling a few pine needles as tea isn’t the only way to sweeten the smell of your home. You can also crush the needles and place them in bowls that you can leave out on tabletops, shelves, and counters.
They can be placed on their own or combined with other lovely-smelling things that give off wonderful aromas, such as cloves or cinnamon sticks. Just make sure to keep the needles away from any open flames like fireplaces or candles to avoid any potential fire hazards.
The Bottom Line
Your Christmas tree has done its job adding to your home’s holiday decor over the past few weeks, but it’s just about time to retire it. While it can be somewhat sad to take it down after spending all that time decorating it, knowing that the tree is being used for another purpose might help. Consider any one – or all – of the above idea to repurpose your old Christmas tree.