Christmas tree inside

In the 19th century, German immigrants to the US brought the tradition of decorating an evergreen tree around Christmas time with them.  Since then, this tradition has spilled beyond just Germans, and even beyond those who celebrate Christmas.  While they add a wonderful holiday flavor to the season, they also carry along an element of waste.  When the season passes and the New Year comes, you’re left with a gigantic (and messy) household chore, as you have to remove all of the decorations, drag the tree down to the dump and then sweep up the inevitable pine needles that now show up in your living room.  However, there are some great ways for you to recycle your Christmas tree; here are some tips from an article I found online, listed below:

1. While most Christmas trees are sawed off, those with their roots intact can be planted and ultimately enjoyed for many years.  Pack the ball of earth containing the roots in a bucket with sawdust or mulch, and plant the tree outdoors, along with the roots, as soon as you can after Christmas.

2. Christmas trees make for excellent bird feeders in your backyard.  Stick the tree in the ground or leave it in its stand, add some decorations such as stale bread and chopped fruit, and a whole array of birds will be attracted to the tree.  If you happen to grow sunflower seeds, hang the whole sunflower head on the tree.

3. Cut off all the branches and use the trunk to edge your garden.  This trunk can also be strategically placed in your garden as a resting spot for birds.

4. Put the boughs of evergreen onto perennial beds or nursery rows to provide them steady temperatures and protect them from winter freezes and spring thaws.

5. Plenty of communities around the country have tree-recycling programs, where trees are chopped up and used as mulch.  Call city hall to find out if such a program exists in your community.

6. The trunk can be sawed into logs and burned in your fireplace.  But be careful not to burn branches, since those send off sparks.

7. Trunks and branches can be used by woodworking hobbyists to make plenty of items, ranging from Christmas reindeer to candlesticks.

8. The needles can be used to make aromatic potpourris and sachets that can be enjoyed all year round.  After removing the decorations from the tree, strip branches of their needles, which will hold onto their scent indefinitely if kept in brown paper bags.

9. If you still have your Christmas tree out in the yard when it gets warmer, you can burn the branches and spread the ashes in your garden, which will enrich the soil through valuable nutrients and minerals.

10. While this isn’t strictly recycling, you can still make a tree for the holidays without spending any money.  You could have plenty of evergreens in your yard that need some pruning.  Just bundle a few large, pruned branches together and arrange them in a watertight container.