8 Festive and Kid-Friendly ‘What to Do With an Old Christmas Tree’ Ideas

When the holiday season winds down in January, most families find themselves wondering what to do with an old Christmas tree. 

Sure you can just throw it away, but for many that feels wasteful.

Lucky for families everywhere, here are eight festive and creative ideas for what to do with an old Christmas Tree to keep the holiday magic alive as long as possible. 

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How Long Do You Keep Your Christmas Tree Up After Christmas?

The rule of thumb is that you can keep a cut, live tree in your house for 4-6 weeks. After that, it’s considered a significant fire hazard. 

Be sure to water it every day to keep it from drying out prematurely. And keep a close eye on the needles. If they seem excessively dry and brittle, it’s time to get rid of the tree. 

What to do with an old Christmas tree

How Do You Repurpose an Old Christmas Tree?

Here are eight unique and festive ideas to answer that question of what to do with an old Christmas tree. 

Christmas tree ornament

1 |  Start a Christmas Tree Ornament Tradition

Get some of those clear, fillable ornaments and add a few snips of one of the branches. For inspiration, check out the product image photos. Accessorize it with a few pieces of tinsel and snowflake glitter and it will be a work of art! 

Use a sharpie to add the date to the outside of the ornament and you’ve started a wonderful tradition! 

WHat to do with an old Christmas tree

2 |  Fresh Up Drawers

Add some fresh pine needles and branch snips to an empty drawstring tea bag

Then simply place the bags throughout your house in clothing drawers and in kitchen cabinets to keep everything smelling fresh and piney for weeks. 

What to do with an old Christmas tree, make Potpourri

3 |  Make Potpourri

The Green Divas have a great recipe for DIY Pine Needle Potpourri

Simply use some clippings from your old Christmas tree, add some festive spices, and simmer in a pot of water all day long to keep your house smelling gorgeous and amazing! 

4 |  Make Coasters and Trivets 

If you’re handy with a circular saw, try to cut off thin slices of the trunk to make rustic coasters or trivets. 

You can decorate them with sharpies then apply a thin coat of polyurethane to seal.

5 |  Make a Tabletop Tree Centerpiece 

You can turn your large tree into a tiny one for a gorgeous winter centerpiece. 

Use a bow saw to cut 12-16” off the very top of the tree. Then place the mini tree you’ve created into a tabletop tree stand. Add some aerosol decorative snow for a wintry touch. 

Line paths

6 |  Use Branches to Line Paths 

Cut all the branches off the old Christmas tree and break them down into mostly linear lines. 

Use the pine branches to line your outdoor paths and walkways.

Mulch pine needles

7 |  Use the Pine Needles as Mulch

Collect as many pine needles as possible to use as mulch for a flower or garden bed. 

Since they decompose slowly, pine needles do a great job at holding moisture in the soil. Additionally, since they dry out so quickly they don’t run the risk of molding. 

8 |  Make a Bird Feeder

Garden Answer has an awesome video of how to turn an old Christmas tree into a giant bird feeder – complete with lots of edible ornaments and garland to tickle birdy taste buds!

Of course you can make your own homemade ornaments, but Amazon also has these pre-made birdseed hearts, adorable owls, and bell ornaments available for purchase to make your life easier. 

Such a cute and fun idea! Guaranteed that kids will have a blast watching all the birds visit the tree.

DIsposing of an old Christmas tree

How to Dispose of a Tree?

Even if you try to reuse, recycle, and repurpose as much of the old Christmas tree as possible, chances are you’ll still have some to throw away. 

While the exact method of Christmas tree disposal varies by location, many towns offer specific days for tree pick up. On the scheduled day, drag your tree (or what’s left if it) to the designated location, often to the curb. 

Another option is to bring it to your local recycling center or other location for lawn waste collection. Make sure you call first to ensure they are taking drop offs. 

One year I even read about a neighborhood that borrowed a chipper to create mulch for walking paths in their common area. 

Be aware that in many locations, burning your Christmas tree is highly discouraged. 

About Author


Hi, I’m Jo!

I have two small children, Ry and Lily, only 19 months apart. It’s usually crazy around my house, but thankfully my wonderful husband is around a ton and helps keep the peace.

I also own my own business and work full-time. I’d love to list all these amazing hobbies I have, but honestly I can barely handle keeping the kids entertained, the house clean, and food on the table. Although on days I’m too tired to do housework, I love to pour a glass of wine and watch Supernatural or Murdoch Mysteries on Netflix.

My husband and I like to stay very busy and drag our kids everywhere with us. Weekends often include relaxing at wineries, festivals, exploring Washington D.C. and other short getaway trips.

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