Repurposing Your Christmas Tree for Wildlife

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For most of us, taking down the Christmas tree is a dreaded time. The sparkling lights on the Christmas tree and the beautiful decorations make everything feel cozy and magical. There is also likely to be less offers to help take it down, than when putting the tree up.

What if you could repurpose that Christmas tree and give the kids something fun to do while on Christmas vacation? Instead of hauling off your real Christmas tree, why not considering adding it to your landscape outside.

Once your tree has been stripped of all the beautiful lights and ornaments consider placing it outside to help feed the birds. You could really up your bird feeding game by turning your tree into a large festive bird feeder. The tree will need to be anchored to a post or steel rod to ensure that it remains upright against the wind. Then the children can begin constructing the edible garland and ornaments for the tree. Here are some ideas:

  • Popcorn: Using a needle and thread string together natural (no butter or salt) popcorn and consider adding a few cranberries here and there.
  • Apple/ Orange Slices:  Cut thin slices of apples or orange. Hang each slice separately with colorful ribbons.
  • Pine Cones:  Collect big or small pine cones. Mix peanut butter and oatmeal for a thick consistency. Spread mixture inside and around the pine cone and roll in bird seed or sunflower seed. Hang with ribbon.
  • Crackers:  String the crackers together with a needle and thread to form a round bracelet. Hang them over the branches.Pine cone with peanut butter and birdseed ornament and popcorn/ cranberry garland

Different types of birds like different types of food, so the more variety you offer the more diversity you’ll have. This will be a great project for the kids and will offer excitement as they watch the birds fly in and out of the tree to feast. You could sneak in an educational activity by having them identify the different birds that visit. For help identifying the birds feeding on your tree, visit NC State Extension Gardening Wildlife.

Happy birdwatching to all and a very Happy New Year!