The Bailey's is finished, fairy lights packed away and leftover turkey bound in clingfilm at the back of the fridge. Your drooping tree standing, bare in the corner... Christmas is over. But this is no reason to feel down! The Arb Team are here to fill your January days with fun as we show you seven sustainable activities to repurpose your Christmas tree! Turn that frown upside down and read on to find out more about these eco-friendly activities for winter weekend family fun.
The majority of Christmas Trees are pine or spruce and, once dried, these make great firewood! You can spend a Saturday stripping the branches and sawing the trunk into smaller logs to fit into a wood burning stove or open fire. If you don't have a fire in your home, you can always store the logs in a dry place and enjoy a campfire with the family one evening. Don't forget marshmallows for toasting and hot chocolate to drink!
TOP TIP: If you save some of the branches with needles still on them and dry them, they'll create wonderful Christmassy aromas when you burn them on the campfire!
Winter Wreath Making
There's no reason why you can't decorate your door with a seasonal winter wreath. For many years cultures have been decorating their homes throughout winter with evergreen foliage, why not use the branches of your Christmas Tree to make a simple wreath. Pop your favourite music on and clear the kitchen worktops... it's time to get creative and make your very own evergreen wreath to celebrate midwinter!
If you have the means to compost in your back garden, needles from your Christmas Tree make an excellent mulch. They can be used either as an acidic addition to your current compositing system or mulched down separately to make a nutrient rich ground covering for acid-loving plants such as Vittatum, Blueberries and Acers. Spend a Sunday afternoon in the garden getting your hands dirty with this wonderfully self-sufficient way to reuse the natural goodness in your Christmas Tree!
Make a Bug Hotel
Bug Hotels are great fun to make and educate children about the natural wildlife in their gardens. They not only offer shelter and sustenance to mini-beasts, insects, hedgehogs and more, they also raise awareness for caring for the natural world. Use the branches of your Christmas Tree and parts of the trunk to help with the construction of the shelter and to create little hiding spots for wildlife to see out the winter months.
If you fancy a day of rustic crafts and aren't afraid of power tools this is the winter activity for you! After stripping the branches off your Christmas Tree, you are left with the trunk. Using a reciprocating saw (or a hand saw if you're feeling strong) slice the trunk into 2-3cm thick slices and use them as rustic coasters for hot drinks. Alternatively, you can get the family involved and paint patterns and picture onto the log slices to make rustic table decorations!
Create a Natural Frame
Strip the trunk of every other branch and remove the needles to create a natural climbing frame for plants such as Sweet Peas and Clematis. The base of the tree can be firmly planted in the ground in a location of your choice and the climber trained up the tree with garden string, as it grows. This makes a more sustainable and stronger alternative to traditional, bamboo canes which can become brittle or rotten with adverse weather. Plan your garden this January and enjoy watching the seasons change and your hard work come to fruition.
Make Winter Potpourri
Using the smaller branches and sprigs leftover from your Christmas Tree, make a bowl of winter potpourri! Pick a large, decorative bowl that suits your style and fill it with the sprigs and smaller branches of Christmas Tree, accompanied by some dried oranges, cinnamon sticks and powdered nutmeg. This will create a sensational smell in your living room and only take a few moments! If you want to make it a little more decorative, why not include some small pinecones and decorative bark? There's nothing like creating your own, signature winter scent for your home.
So, there's seven great ways to sustainably repurpose your Christmas tree this January; your biggest choice is which one to try first? The Arb Team are here to brighten your winter weekends with activities that encourage sustainability, gardening and enjoying the natural world as a family! We're also here for all your tree preservation and gardening needs, let us know if there is anything you need assistance with this winter.