PhotoIt's all winding down, the sweets are almost gone along with the relatives, and that translates to your tree being ready to coming down as well. Instead of just chucking it to the curb, why not spread some of that Christmas cheer to other places?

 Mulch it! You can cut off the boughs and run it through a chipper to make mulch. Most cities have a pick-up day when they will take your tree and use it for mulch. You can also cut off the boughs yourself and place them over plants in your garden now.  It will protect plants from an early spring frost and also keep the wind off of them during the winter.

Boughs of evergreens also can be used over compost piles to help retain heat, allowing the compost to continue working during the winter.

Your Christmas tree can become a playground for birds in your yard. Just stick it outside in its stand or put it in the ground if you prefer and let the birds come and enjoy. Birds will be attracted by suet, cranberry and popcorn strings, stale bread and dried, chopped fruit in mesh bags. 

The smell of Christmas can last all year if you make potpourris and sachets. Just strip the branches of the needles and throw them in paper bags. They won't lose their smell as long as you keep them in the paper bag.

Fish food

Fish will love your tree. Not the goldfish in your house but if it is placed in a lake or pond (do this with permission), it can become a habitat for fish and insects. In some shallow wetlands trees can become a barrier to sand and erosion.

Check with your city because some will use trees for hiking trails and they may have a specific drop-off point for that.

If you just felt this was the best tree ever and you would like to use it again. You can just replant it!. Living Christmas trees that come with their roots intact can, of course, be planted. Pack the earth ball containing the roots in a bucket with sawdust, potting soil or other mulch. Keep the soil continually moist. Plant outdoors as soon as possible .

Whatever you do don't burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. You could burn your house down if you throw even a few pine branches into the fire. Dried-out evergreens burn like tinder. Their needles go quickly, sparks will fly, which can shoot  across a room or onto the roof and set your shingles on fire.

Plus, the pitch in the wood creates huge, fast-moving sparks that can jump right out of the fireplace and into your room, or up the chimney and onto the shingles. The combination causes flames, heat and smoke to pour out of a fireplace opening with no warning.

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