Christmas Tree Upcycling

After the holidays are said and done, it’s time to take down the tree and start a new year. In years past we’ve always recycled our Christmas tree either at the curb, where our recycler picks it up, or through a local Boy Scout group who also recycles it. This year, we decided to try something new. Before we recycle, we’re up-cycling our Christmas tree into a wildlife feeding station! See below for a picture of the finished product and to learn more about how we created this up-cycled Christmas tree!

The first step was to remove all the ornaments, lights, and the tree topper. Next step, move the tree to the backyard. We tried it against our fence, attaching it with twine so it would stay upright, but ultimately decided it would work best if we put it back in a tree stand and set it up in front of our kitchen window so we humans can maximize the entertainment value! 

Once the tree was set up, we started re-decorating it. We had stopped by our local “Backyard Bird Shop” the day before and purchased a mix of seeds pressed into the shape of bells (seed bells), some really beautiful nesting balls made of woven grape vines with the centers filled with local Alpaca wool, and a thistle sock filled with black nyger thistle seed. The nesting balls are really great because they can be refilled with nesting material and hung out again and again over the years.

My husband and son joined me in hanging all our new wildlife ornaments on the tree outside, creating a wonderful new family tradition. It was fun to have a second shot at decorating the tree, especially since we knew these ornaments would be so very appreciated and probably short-lived. 

The finishing touch was adding some liquid suet to the branch tips of the tree. I melted about a cup of organic virgin coconut oil in a stock pot, added a 36 ounce jar of Adam’s crunchy peanut butter, and about two cups of corn meal, and slowly stirred over low heat until everything was combined. 

Next, I split the suet in two. One half I poured into ice cube trays to freeze and use later. I used some garden twine cut into approximately eight inch lengths to create hangers for the suet cubes to make it easier to hang them from the tree after they freeze. I folded the twine pieces in half, gave the ends a twist to hold them together and dipped them into the suet cubes before they set up in the freezer. The other half of the suet I put in a large glass measuring cup, took it outside, and poured it all over the branch tips of the tree.