Hello fellow readers,
When I see a Christmas tree tossed curbside right after New Year’s Day, my heart sinks. I want to knock on the door and share that it’s not even the twelfth day of Christmas yet.
Most know the legendary carol The Twelve Days of Christmas, which begins – “On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, a partridge in a pear tree.” But many don’t know that the Twelve Days of Christmas begins Christmas Day and ends on January 6th when the three wise men come upon baby Jesus.
The twelfth day of Christmas is also called Three King’s Day, the Epiphany, or Little Christmas and surely justifies keeping your tree standing until at least a few days after that. That is unless you used a living balled and burlap or container tree, my favs, in which case only seven to ten days inside a heated home is suggested. (Check out the previous column on Live Christmas Trees for a how-to.)
How to Extend the Joy after January 6th
Even after January 6th, it still feels sad to see Christmas trees thrown on the side of the road; unless your township gathers them to turn them into mulch rather than putting them in a landfill. Beyond mulching them, though, there is more joy these beauties can provide.
Why not move your undecorated tree outside, keeping it in the stand. Then add heart-shaped ornaments for Valentine’s Day, shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, or any other wintery decorations or finds from your garden that tickles your fancy.
Or adorn your retired Christmas tree with bird food such as suet and birdseed made into ornaments. Or frost pinecones with natural peanut butter then roll them in birdseed. Even unbuttered and unsalted, strung popcorn looks charming.
After a winter of enjoying your tree outside, turn it into an animal shelter come spring. If you have a wooded area or permission to add to someone else’s, place it in a brush pile. Or, create a habitat for fish or water insects by sinking your tree in a pond, with permission, of course.
Jason from Washington, NJ, saves his tree to use as a structure on which to grow climbing beans or cucumbers. Great idea, Jason. Santa would be proud. Garden Dilemmas? AskMaryStone@gmail.com (and now on your favorite Podcast App.)
There’s a nifty article on how-to make Bird Seed Ornaments on https://onelittleproject.com/birdseed-ornaments/