365 Days of Christmas
A real tree can be more than a beautiful emblem of nature in your home. After the holidays are over, it can serve as a gift to wildlife year-round.
Wildlife-friendly ornaments are easy to make, and the rewards for both birds and birdwatchers are great. String garlands of unsalted popped popcorn, cranberries, unsalted peanuts still in the shell, apple slices, and orange segments to attract titmice, jays, and mockingbirds. Pinecones spread with a mixture of peanut butter, suet, and cornmeal and rolled in birdseed will bring woodpeckers, grackles, blue jays, and nuthatches flocking. You can also fill cups, made from the rinds of halved oranges, with sunflower seeds, which will entice chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and purple and house finches. Millet seed stalks twisted into the shape of wreaths lure goldfinches and pine siskins.
If you don't have enough yard to put your leftover tree to work, many towns have Christmas tree recycling programs with designated drop-off points or curbside pickup; many nurseries and botanical gardens also accept spent trees. They're typically chipped up for mulch, which you can pick up to use in your garden in the spring. Your thriving yard will be a holiday gift to yourself and to wildlife that lasts way beyond the 12 days of Christmas, all year long.
|TIP: The National Christmas Tree Association provides a listing of tree farms and retail lots, as well as tree recycling centers, throughout the United States. Simply use your ZIP code to locate the ones nearest you.|