What to Do With Your Christmas Tree After the Holidays

For many families, Christmas isn't Christmas without some kind of a Christmas tree. When I was younger, there was always a real Christmas tree in our home, and it usually lasted well past the holidays, decorations included. However, there comes a time when you need to get rid of your tree. How can you dispose of it responsibly?

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If you want to dispose of your Christmas tree, most communities have a designated pickup time for these trees. These times and dates vary from city to city, neighborhood to neighborhood, but by calling the city's garbage disposal number, you'll find out when and where Christmas trees can be easily recycled. Most neighborhoods have a local telephone directory where all of these numbers can be easily found. You can also find specially designated bins where you can recycle your Christmas trees. Check out Earth11's Treecycling program for more information on tree recycling programs near you.

Alternatively, you can elect to reuse the wood of your tree in a variety of ways. Create saplings by preparing a branch cutting from your tree. Place the branch in a plastic cup with vermiculite and keep it moist. Once there is a strong root system, pot in compost and soil. This can be a fun activity to try with you family and it's best to do this as soon as the tree has been cut.

If your tree is big enough, salvage it as fuel for your fireplace. It's true that you'd need to store the wood until it's dried up, but we've found that some pine needles can easily be used to fragrance a fire. Harvesting pine cones also yields seedlings if they are old enough.

Lastly, instead of buying a cut Christmas tree, buy a potted Christmas tree instead. This has the advantage of keeping the tree alive thanks to the pot. Keep it in your home until spring, and then transplant it into your garden. We really like this idea because it's the best of both worlds. You still get to have a real tree and then, you get an additional pine tree in your garden.

(Images: via Al.com by Press-Register/Victor Calhoun), Inhabitots)

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