So the festivities have ended, at least for now. The wrapping on the presents have been torn asunder, and the dishes from the holiday feast are waiting their turn in the dishwasher. The family is nestled on the couch, the food coma taking hold, and there you sit, staring at your wonderful, natural pine tree.
And you’re wondering what the heck to do with it now. Sure, you could hall it out to the curb next week, add it to the thousand of other cut trees that exist in our nation’s landfills, but don’t you wish you could do something else? If only with a little part of it? Fear not,here are a few ideas on how you can “recycle” your natural pine tree — or at least parts of it.
Simple Air Freshener
The scent of pine is one of the most refreshing and yet calming scents there is. Nearly everyone recognizes it, and when they smell it on the air, a smile will often grace their face. Why not keep that feeling going? Simply break off a few small twigs and tie them together with some cotton twine. Then, if you prefer place the bundle in a cloth bag or simple hang it in your closet, your coat room, or anywhere else where the scent of pine would be welcomed. This is a simple two minute idea that can last for a long time!
Food for the Animals
One tradition that I have always liked is to “decorate” the trees outside with little tidbits for the animals to eat during the cold winter months. Let’s face it, just because it is near the end of the year doesn’t mean that winter is over– far from it. If your Christmas tree has a few pine cones, it’s an easy task to make some small animal feeders to hang out in your yard. All it takes is some bird seed, some peanut butter, some wax paper, and some cotton twine. Simply spread some birdseed out on the wax paper, slather the pine cone with peanut butter, and roll it around in the birdseed until it is well coated. Then just simply tie a piece of cotton twine around one end, and make a loop on the other end for hanging on the tree. Trust me, the birds and squirrels in your neighborhood will be grateful.
A Soft Light to Keep the Bugs Away
If you ever go camping, your holiday pine has another use hidden within it’s branches for you. Pine resin — that yellowish thick, sticky substance that exists just below the bark can serve as a great general bug repellent and light source. Start by scraping it off your tree if its relatively fresh, but if needed, cut into the bark area with a sharp knife. Gather what you can, and place it in a small metal tin. Then, the next time you go camping, take out your tin, and spread a little bit of the resin on a few branches and place them at strategic locations around your campsite. The smoke from the burning resin will keep the bugs away. Another option of course is to keep it in the metal tin- just be careful about it getting too hot to handle.
Help for Your Garden
If you walk in any pine forest, one of the first thing you notice is the blanket of pine needles that cover the floor. The second thing you might notice is the amount of rich, fragrant earth that you find beneath. Pine needles and branches are some of the best friend that an avid gardener can have. If you’re worried about your old holiday pine tree becoming an eye sore, don’t worry too much. Simply break out the pruning shears, cut the branches into smaller pieces and lay the branches and needles over your garden area. The pine needles will help to keep weeds away and help the soil retain the moisture that is so vital for new growth in the spring.
So the next time you wonder what to do with your old natural pine tree after the holidays, try a few of these ideas!