How to upcycle your Christmas tree in New Hampshire after the holidays

Not sure what to do with your tree after Christmas? Luckily there are many upcycling alternatives including gardening, crafting, and heating.

By Stacy Milbouer

December 21, 2023

Our state has over 200 Christmas tree farms and that means a lot of pines left over after the holidays. I can’t be the only one who feels guilty disposing of my once-living Christmas tree after it’s served its purpose as a shining, fragrant symbol of seasonal joy. Luckily there are many upcycling alternatives including gardening, crafting, and heating.

Take it outside

While your tree is no longer the place under which you stash presents, doesn’t mean it can’t be a gift. Your backyard birds will thank you if you make a bird feeder by sticking the tree in the ground, or leaving it in its stand and “decorating” it with stale bread, dried fruit in bags, and suet. And don’t take off those popcorn strings with cranberries. Our feathered friends will feast on those too. Or you can simply drag your tree out to the yard, leave it on the side and it will provide a natural habitat for critters throughout the winter.

Since pine needles dry quickly and decompose slowly, you can use them as moisture- and mold-free mulch in your garden.

Pine boughs make a great way to insulate perennials against the ravages of winter wear and tear. Just cut the boughs off the tree and lay them around your perennials to protect roots from frost heaving.  They’ll break down over the winter and will help fertilize the soil, all set for spring planting.

Take smaller branches and use those to stake plants.

If you have your Christmas tree out in the yard when warm weather appears, there’s still a use for it. Burn the branches outside then spread ashes in your garden. They contain soil-enriching nutrients and minerals, and according to the non-profit, American Forests.


Inside options

You can burn pine logs in your fireplace, but make sure to remove the branches first to avoid sparks.

Recycling your tree makes good scents. Podcasters, the Green Divas, recommend filling your house with that Christmas-tree smell long past the holidays by filling a pot with pine clippings, orange slices, water, and a spice like cinnamon, cloves, or rosemary and let it simmer on a back burner on the stove. Add water as it evaporates to keep the good smells coming.


There’s almost nothing you can’t do with 1/3-to-1/2-inch wooden rounds sliced from pine tree trunks. From trivets to coasters – portraits to wreaths. There are plenty of ideas out there. Hundreds on Pinterest alone.



  • Stacy Milbouer

    Stacy Milbouer is an award-winning journalist and has covered New Hampshire for many publications including the Boston Globe, New Hampshire Magazine, and the Nashua Telegraph.



VIDEO: What’s Your IVF Story?

VIDEO: What’s Your IVF Story?

In Vitro Fertilization has become a political talking point—but there’s more to the story. We want to give everyday Granite Staters who have IVF on...

Local News

Related Stories
Share This