RSPB Scotland's Molly Martin shares some ideas for what do to with your Christmas tree when twelfth night rolls around.

Make your Christmas tree go the distance

Twelfth night happens on the 5th or 6th of January, depending on which traditions one follows. It is traditional to take down all your Christmas decorations, including the tree, by twelfth night, or you’ll have bad luck for the rest of the year!  

crested tit perched on pine branch

It can be sad taking down the tree and fairy lights and cards that have been brightening up your midwinter, but all is not lost, and it’s a great chance to start sprucing up your garden for the year to come. 

How to use your tree after Christmas:  

someone carrying a christmas tree

Living trees can happily be kept in a pot outside ready for next year. Easy. 

Plastic trees can be dismantled and shoved back under the bed or at the back of a cupboard for another year, waiting for the moment when you remember how fiddly they can be to put back together. Simple.  

And there are plenty of things you can do with your tree if youre not keeping it for next year too! 

  • Make a bird feeding station 
    If you prop up the tree in your garden, it’s a great place to hang birdfeeders off, and more timid birds will be glad of the cover 
    of the branching, which provide shelter from the cold and predators. 
  • Use it for support 
    If you take of the branches, you
    re left with a great pole which can be support for climbing flowers or vegetables, such as sweet peas and beans. The branches can be used to insulate flowerbeds with hibernating bulbs in! 
  • Compost it 
    If you have access to a 
    shredder, you can put some of the chips and needles into your compost, you can also spread the chips over beds, paths, or around growing things. 
  • Donate it 
    Garden centres often take Christmas trees and turn them into woodchips or mulch to use on plants or sell.
  • Get crafty 
    Parts of the trunk can be cut into candleholders or coasters
    , or ornaments (if you’re very crafty). And the pine needles can be used as potpourri, or put into homemade soap or candles.