Goodbye, Old Christmas Tree!
Your Christmas tree was the focal point of your living room for over a month, but now the Holiday season is behind us, what to do with it? Don’t get rid of it yet! Here are some interesting re-purposing ideas.
A little project to do with the kids. Trim off the branches. Cut the trunk into ½ inch thick discs. Leave the discs to sit for a week or two, to let any residual sap flow out. Next, give them a light sanding and apply a coat of varnish. Give the discs a day or two to dry fully, and voilà, you just made some rustic coasters out of your old tree!
In the Garden
Those branches that you trimmed off can be useful in the garden. Cut-off boughs can be laid over perennial beds to capture snow and protect the plants from winter ravages. You can also choose to add them to your compost pile. The needles will decompose, and eventually the branches will break down. An alternative idea if the branches are stripped of needles is to use them as stakes in the garden next spring.
Bird Shelter/Feeding Station
Another possibility in the garden is to use the whole tree for sheltering birds and as a feeding station as well. The tree can be left in its stand or secured to something solid, like a fence or deck. You can then hang bird feeders you made with the kids, or conventional feeders sold in stores. Birds will also use the old tree as a shelter from inclement weather.
You can make simple fire starters using 3 items: dry evergreen needles (spruce, fir, etc.), empty cardboard egg cartons, and wax. Any wax will do (you can melt old candles or paraffin). Use an old soup can to melt the wax, instead of one of your good pots. Fill each cell with needles, pack down, and then add melted wax to just below the rim. Let the wax cool for a few hours, separate the cells, and you now have great fire starters with a Christmassy smell!
Well, it is wood! Simply limb the branches off and cut your tree stem into short logs. A standard tree can supply enough wood for one good fire. Not recommended for a fireplace or wood stove, but great for the outdoor fire pit! The branches will make lots of sparks, so feed them into the fire slowly. Here’s your first chance to use your homemade fire starters!
As you can see, no need to get rid of your old Christmas tree. It can have a second life right at home with a little effort and imagination!