During the Christmas season, one of my favorite parts is the excitement of selecting the perfect Christmas tree for our home. The wandering, the debating, the selecting, the decorating and having our tree grace our home with its pine scent during the holidays makes my holiday experience complete. But as the New Year inevitably approaches, I’ll often get asked the question, “What are you going to do with that beloved tree?”

I thought it would be helpful to share with everyone the top 5 ways you can make use of your Christmas tree after the holidays.

misc_mulching_3001)  Feed your perennials. Cut-up branches from your tree can be used as winter mulch to create spring flowers. Some cities even offer mulching programs where they will create mulch from Christmas trees.

2)  Create a habitat for the birds. A recycled Christmas tree can create shelter for sparrows, finches, and other small birds. If you do not already have a brush pile, prop the tree up next to a garage, shed, or fence where the birds can easily flit into the branches.

3)  Plant your tree. If you have a potted live Christmas tree instead of a cut tree, nurse it through the winter for spring planting. Check out this video which explains how to transplant your tree correctly.

4)  Recycle your tree. To find a local Christmas tree recycling center, enter your ZIP code at Earth 911.

5)  Use it to make post-holiday treats. No, I’m not kidding! From cookies (Check out this recipe for Douglas Fir & Orange Blossom Cookies) to sorbets (Or, check out this recipe for Douglas Fir Sorbet), you can turn your tree into a tree-t.