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Homesteading

16 Ways to Repurpose Your Christmas Tree After the Holidays

Why not reuse your tree on the homestead?

Homesteaders know the benefits of reusing and repurposing items around the house. Scraps go in the compost pile or fed to the chickens. Old newspapers can be used as mulch for the garden.

But too many of us often toss the Christmas tree immediately after the holidays. 

Each year, a majority of the 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees sold in the United States end up in landfills after the holidays.   

There are far better options for your tree after the holidays are over. Check out this list of 16 ways to repurpose your Christmas tree on the homestead. 

1. Compost

After you have taken all the ornaments and lights off the tree, you can place the whole thing in your compost pile.

While you can compost the whole thing, you will need to cut it down into smaller pieces.

If you don’t want to use the entire tree for compost, make sure you at least use the Christmas tree needles for compost.

The Christmas tree needles will take a while to break down, so don’t put them all in the pile at once. 

[Related Read: A Guide to Year-Round Composting]

2. Turn It into Mulch

If you have a wood chipper—or know someone in your homestead community who does—turn your Christmas tree into mulch.

Use your Christmas tree mulch in your garden. It’s not too early to prepare your garden for bounty!

3. Use It for Insulation

Remove the branches from your Christmas tree and strategically place them around your garden to protect perennials from snow and winter weather. 

Two orange fish swimming in a tank with a brown and green plant.

4. Give It to the Fish

Used Christmas trees make great fish habitats.

If you have a pond or live near a lake, consider “drowning” your Christmas tree. Add a brick to the trunk and watch it sink. 

In addition to becoming part of the aquatic system, it will work as a refuge for smaller fish from predators. 

5. Let It Burn

Chop the wood and use it for outdoor fire pits. Or host a bonfire and burn the tree in its entirety.

Two green pine trees against the exterior wall of a building, lined up for recycling.

6. Replant It

If you’ve taken good care of your Christmas tree—in other words, it is still alive—consider replanting it in your own yard.

If you continue to take good care of it throughout the year, you may be able to bring it back indoors next Christmas, or at least have a beautiful outdoor Christmas tree to decorate.

7. Allow It to Help Climbing Plants

Take the trunk and use it as a pole for climbing plants, such as beans and cucumbers. You can also use it for flowers with climbing vines. 

8. Make a Bird Feeder

Give the birds a little post-Christmas treat!

Take some of the branches off your Christmas tree and cover them with peanut butter and birdseed. Place them on other trees outside and watch the beautiful birds flock to your yard. 

9. Create Fence Posts

Collect Christmas tree trunks and use them to create small fence posts wherever you may need them.

10. Add Pine Needles to Animal Beds

Take the extra pine needles and add them to animal beds. This extra stuffing will provide more comfort and insulation.

Plus, the pine scent will keep insects away. 

Four small wooden coasters on a white background.

11. Do Some Woodworking

There are many DIY woodworking projects that utilize Christmas trees.

For example, thinly cut the tree trunk and turn small pieces of wood into beautiful wooden coasters.

12. Make DIY Potpourri

Don’t let those pine-scented needles go to waste! Collect them and use them to keep your home smelling fresh all year.

In addition to making your own pine-scented potpourri, you can also use pine needles for fragrant sachets. Simply add pine needles to small fabric bags, tie them closed, and place them in drawers around your home. 

13. Mix Up a Household Cleaner

You can use your Christmas tree to make your own pine-scented household cleaner.

Start by infusing plain white vinegar with pine needles. Place 1/3 cup of pine needles in a jar and top them with vinegar. Let them soak for three weeks, then strain to remove the needles.

You can use this pine-scented cleaner for cleaning everything from stovetops to bathrooms. 

14. Enjoy a Foot Soak

Pine is believed to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Try mixing pine needles with Epsom salt and hot water for a relaxing foot soak.

A small, gray goat eating from a pine tree next to a barn building.

15. Feed It to Goats

Do you have goats on your homestead? Or know someone nearby who does?

Christmas trees are a tasty treat for goats. Just make sure your tree hasn’t been treated with anything toxic and all ornamentation has been removed. 

16. Donate It

In addition to all these creative things to do with your Christmas tree, you can also donate it.

There are many organizations that take Christmas trees once the holiday has passed, such as a local scouting troop.

Here are some other places that accept Christmas tree donations:

  • Wildlife refuges
  • Zoos
  • Farms
  • Coastal communities fighting erosion or rebuilding sand dunes
  • Some biomass power plants

[Related Read: Month-by-Month Winter Homestead To-Do List]

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