Don't Throw Out That Christmas Tree! - FamilyEducation

Don't Throw Out That Christmas Tree!

by Elizabeth Holthaus

Christmas may be over, but your tree doesn't have to go to waste. Discover the satisfaction of recycling.

Christmas Tree Feeder

I finally solved my love/hate relationship with my Christmas tree.

The dilemma: I love having a decorated Christmas tree in the house, but I hate to toss the tree in the landfill when the holiday is over.

The solution: Recycle it. Pass it down the food chain by making a tree for your friendly, neighborhood birds.

Make sure the tree is completely free of ornaments, lights, and especially tinsel. Then take it out to your yard, a school playground, or a park. Stand the tree up in a pail filled with stones, or sand, (or water for an ice-base if weather permits); or bring your indoor tree-stand outside.

Trimming a tree for the birds
The trimmings on this tree are limited only by your holiday leftovers and your imagination. These are the favorites of the birds in my back yard:

  • pine cones spread with peanut butter and rolled in bird seed (use only natural cones -- no paint or glitter)

  • orange halves, hollowed-out and filled with crumbs and seeds

  • popcorn and berries on a string

  • donut on a string (sandwiched between 2 plastic lids for stability)

  • stale bread cut into shapes

  • scraps of ribbon and yarn for nesting materials

This project provides a real feel-good closure for the holiday season -- it's fun, it's free, and even the littlest kids can get involved. And the birds (and squirrels) will have a feast they'll never forget.

HINT: For a slightly more manageable project: Do the same thing with your wreath.