The Perfect Way to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Happy Monday! If you're like us, then this year you bought a real Christmas tree, the kind you need to water to keep alive through the holidays. If you're even more like us, you feel bad that you spent hard earned money on it to just put it in the dumpster once you're ready to take it down. not to mention that you could be doing something environmentally positive about it, but you can't think of what!

My mother used to take the tree out into yard after the holidays and make bird seed ornaments to hang from its branches. She would put it near the window so that we could watch the birds perch while they ate a little snack. It was wonderful! I remember helping her in the kitchen when I was little, cutting out cardboard shapes and slathering them with peanut butter.  

Today, I'm going to show you how to do just that! But instead of using cardboard, we're going to use things that you can easily find in your kitchen. The ornaments we made are put together with food items we already had on hand. If you don't have some of these things, you can most likely improvise! Here's what we used:

  • bird seed
  • left over/older slices of bread
  • shortening/lard
  • peanut butter
  • an apple 
  • twine

Don't let those cookie cutters fool you! We thought we would be using them, too, but after cutting out the bread, the ornaments were just too flimsy. This is what we did instead:

Taking your slices of bread, (we used the last couple of pieces in the bag) put them in the toaster. In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix up a cup of the peanut butter and a cup of the shortening. Once the bread has finished toasting, crumble it up into bits over the bowl with the peanut butter and shortening mix. Mash it all together until well combined into a thick paste. It's going to be messy! If you need more of any of the ingredients, go for it. These aren't exact measurements nor is there any particular science behind this recipe!!! you could say it's for the birds...

In a small bowl, pour out about a cup of bird seed. Begin rolling the bread, pb, shortening mixture into little sized balls, similar to if you were making cookies. Roll the ball around in the bird seed to coat the outside and place accordingly on a cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for an hour or until hardened.  

While you're waiting, you can start on the second ornament. Take your apple and cut it into slices. With a knife or spatula, spread a thick layer of peanut butter over one side of the apple slice. Sprinkle some bird seed over the top of the peanut butter.

Optional:  We cut star-like shapes into the center of the slices to create an opening to thread the twine through and make them a bit more decorative. You can make a hole wherever/however you like! With the twine, cut it into lengths a good size to thread through the apple slices to hang as ornaments. Tie up the ends, and you're done!

When you're cookie-like ornaments are hardened, take them out of the freezer and cut more twine. You are going to use this to wrap around the balls and tie so that they can hang from the tree. You've finished your bird seed ornaments! time to hang them outside. 

This is such a great way to be environmentally friendly and have fun with your family. Whether you've kept your tree up until now or you took it down long ago, you can still make bird seed ornaments to hangs in your trees/bushes outside so you and the kids can watch the birds happily eat a treat you made for them! 

- Jill