Done with your Christmas tree… now what??

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Live Christmas trees are only more sustainable if they’re not disposed of in the landfill when you’re done with them each year. You can read more about the benefits of choosing a live Christmas tree over a fake one in this article from The Nature Conservancy.


Let’s make a list of creative ways to “dispose” of your Christmas tree! Here are my favorite ideas. Please share yours in the comments at the bottom of this post.


  • Put them in our yard to provide winter shelter for the birds and other small animals that live in your yard. This is a great option if you decorated with natural decorations or want to redecorate it for the animals! Birdseed ornaments, popcorn and cranberry garlands, and dried oranges are all great gifts for the animals that live in your yard. You can find lots of great ideas in this article from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.


Christmas tree decorated for backyard animals. Photo from USFWS website referenced above.
  • Donate them to a local farm… goats LOVE to eat pine and spruce trees! Local friends, if you’re interested in this option please email me or comment below. I know several farmers offering to take your Christmas trees off you’re hands… one is even willing to pick it up from your house!


Did you know that goats LOVE to eat pine trees? Photo courtesy of a local goat farmer looking for trees to feed her goats.


  • Compost them in your backyard compost.
Turn your unwanted Christmas tree into useful compost for your vegetable or flower garden


  • Put them on the curb for pickup by your local municipality. Many towns and cities have specific days designated for Christmas tree pickup. Usually these trees get added to the municipal yard waste composting program.


  • Drop them off at a location designated by your town or municipality. Again, these trees usually get added to the municipal yard waste composting program.



Rockford, Michigan friends: The City of Rockford offers curbside Christmas tree pickup for two weeks after Christmas. Pickup does not happen on a particular day, so go ahead and leave your tree on the curb whenever you’re done cleaning up (provided its before January 8th)


Kent County, Michigan friends: You can find a list of curbside pickup and drop off programs, listed by city/township, here.


Note that you need to remove all decorations before using any of the above alternative disposal methods. Please share your questions and alternative disposal ideas in the comments!


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  1. Our tree will be going into a brush pile. Also, wanted to let you know that the link to the Nature Conservancy article isn’t working. Thanks for all your great suggestions!

    • Thanks for the heads up on the TNC link! It’s fixed now.

      And thanks for adding the brush pile to my list of ideas! We used to put our yard waste directly into our compost bin, right alongside the food scraps. This summer, Robbie created a second bin for yard waste and that’s really the perfect place for our tree in the spring once the critters are done using it for shelter. Thanks again!

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