5 Ways to Recycle Christmas Trees

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Christmas TreesRather than simply throwing your Christmas tree out when the season is over, why not try something different this year and have a little fun? Here are 5 ways to recycle Christmas trees that will keep the year’s holiday memories alive well into the new year and beyond!

1. Dry the Needles for Sachets and Natural Air Fresheners

By the time you take your tree down it is usually dropping many of the needles. Sweep these up or gather the dropped needles from the tree skirt and place them in a breathable container such as a coffee tin with holes poked into the top of the plastic lid. If you are using a tree bag to dispose of your tree, once the bagged tree is outside shake vigorously or use your hands on the outside of the bag to crush the branches to loosen the needles. Remove the tree and gather the needles from the bag. Allow these to dry in a breathable container or basket before stuffing into small fabric bags for sachets.

2. Make a Temporary Bird and Squirrel Feeder

Place the tree or a portion of the tree in the snow or leave it in the tree stand and position it near a window where you can easily watch the birds and squirrels play. Hang handmade pine cone bird feeders, left over strings of popcorn and cranberries or slices of fresh fruit from the limbs. Pine cones bird feeders are fun and easy to make. Simply coat a pine cone with peanut butter or solid vegetable shortening and roll in birdseed and hang on the tree with string. Before you know it birds, squirrels, and other wildlife will gather to feed right in plain view.
*Be sure to remove all ornaments and tinsel from the tree before bringing it outside.

3. Use your Christmas Tree for Mulch

Once the tree is outside, cut it into smaller pieces with a saw. Place the smaller pieces into a wood chipper to cut it into mulched-sized chips to save for spring gardening.

4. Cut the Trunk to Make into Christmas Ornaments

Cut the trunk of the tree with a saw into slices approximately 1- 2 inches thick. Paint a Christmas scene or decoupage a picture on to both sides of the circle. Add glitter if desired. Allow to dry before drilling a small hole at the top of each slice and string with festive ribbon.

5. Cut the Trunk for Firewood

Cut the branches away with a saw and split the trunk into fireplace-sized logs. Bundle the branches into small bunches and tie with string. Stack the wood and branch bundles and allow it all to season for firewood the following year.
Check Yankee‘s Wood Heating Chart to find out which types of wood burn the best.


  • If you live in a beach community with beach/dune erosion see if your town reuses trees to help prevent beach loss.

  • Allison

    I second Paul’s statement! My husband is a stone mason who builds and cares for chimneys among other things. Pine can cause a buildup in the chimney that can lead to a chimney fire. We reserve pine for outdoor bonfires and such.

  • We keep ours in the backyard until the Summer Solstice then we toss the whole tree on the bonfire. It puts on an amazing show. It’s become a fun tradition friends and family love.

  • With all due respect, one should not encourage the burning of pine in fireplaces and wood stoves. Not only is it a poor heating fuel, it is not good for your chimney. Item #5 would be just fine if you suggested it for an outdoor fire pit.


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