This Old Christmas Tree Gets a Brand New Life

Clever ideas for families keep a special season close all year long

It served you well and played a big part in your family’s celebration of Christmas 2016. Your Tannenbaum — your Christmas tree — was chosen so carefully, with so much scrutiny.

What a difference a week makes! Most of these once-beautiful trees will end up by the side of the road very shortly, if they haven’t already — garbage to be collected with the trash. I always find this a little sad, the tree on the curb. It’s a sure sign Christmas is over. I like to leave the tree up as long as possible, but when there are more pine needles on the floor than there are on the tree, it’s time to let it go.

How beautiful is a tree full of bluejays, or a cardinal and its mate?

So what to do with this symbolic part of the holiday season?

Related: Why Christmas Isn’t Over Yet

Rather than toss it out like yesterday’s garbage, here are some great suggestions for repurposing your tree:

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1.) Create a bird sanctuary with it.
When you’ve made the decision to take down your tree, stripping it of all ornaments and lights, take the tree outside, right in its stand. Place it in front of a window so that you get the “birdseye view” of how you are now helping local fowl make it through the winter.

“Place your tree in its stand outdoors,” advises “Fill bird feeders and hang them from the boughs, or drape the tree with a swag of pinecones coated with peanut butter.”

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How beautiful is a tree full of bluejays, or a cardinal and its mate? So beautiful against the white backdrop of snow-covered ground. While you are enjoying your favorite morning beverage, you can watch the birds swoop in for a ready-made snack. When they start chirping for their friends to join them, you’ve got a wonderful display of nature right outside your window. Hang your bird feeders, and enjoy the show.

2.) Cut some boughs from your Christmas tree and place them on top of flower beds for insulation.
It’s a blanket for your sleeping plants until the spring — how nature does provide.

We all know we can’t keep the entire tree inside, but select a few branches and use them to stake up your indoor plants. I love this idea because it’s simple and it keeps your tree with you a little longer. Every time you look at that branch, you can’t help but remember your entire tree and the Christmas joy and meaning it represented. Christmas comes and goes so fast, it’s great to be able to keep the idea of it alive a little longer. With one simple branch, this is accomplished.

Winter can be tough, but it also allows us to get creative.

3.) Make wood chips from your tree.
While this involves more effort, it’s a great way to reuse your tree. Spread the chips around your shrubs — it’s good for them, and so beautiful!

4.) Another clever idea: Slice 2-inch disks off the tree trunk and border your flower bed with them.
How beautiful to have your Christmas tree bordering your flowers, when they pop up in spring.

Related: Nature’s Abundant Gifts for Families

Your tree can become the gift that keeps on giving. Winter can be tough, even for the heartiest of us — but winter can also allow us to get creative. This is true especially if we repurpose or recycle items like our Christmas trees, which have helped us celebrate such a meaningful time of year.

Lisa Ferrari is a freelance writer in Nottingham, New Hampshire.

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