Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Re-purpose Your Christmas Tree Into Wildlife Habitat

It started with the biggest of crocodile tears, "Mom, can't we leave the Christmas tree up a little bit longer?" My sons truly hate to part with anything!  Yet, the tree can only stay inside for so long.... So how about we share it with the wildlife in our backyard?  We'll put it out near the bird feeders, where we can see it from our kitchen table.  Every Day!! We'll give it some special decorations. It'll be awesome! And they agreed to try.

First, we used our favorite cookie cutters and some of our own templates to trace shapes onto pieces of dismantled cardboard box.  Mom cut the shapes out and poked a hole in with the awl on a swiss army knife.  After I looped the ribbon through, I passed the cardboard shape to my son and instructed him slather it with peanut butter. He tested it first to make sure it would be tasty for the creatures.

(yes, that is peanut butter all over the table... this is a messy project!)

Next, he pressed the peanut butter covered shapes into bird seed. I put the seed in a small baking tray for convenience.

Wha-la!  A peanut butter moose is born!

We set our finished ornaments on a larger cookie sheet so we could easily carry them outside.

TELL your child beforehand that squirrels and birds (and pets?) will eat the treats to avoid disappointments...

Our dog was a big help in cleaning up the peanut butter artist...

Time to decorate the tree!  We had some cheerio-threaded chenille stems to add to the decor.

A finished re-decorated tree and a happy child.  Was all the mess worth it? You betcha!    It took about 8 minutes for the first chickadee to find it.  In the end, the squirrels ate most of the decorations.  It has been interesting to find the cardboard shapes far from our yard... use biodegradable ribbon!  My son had the energy to re-butter and seed the shapes with me one more time. It is March now and the tree is still outside. The birds still flock to it if something startles them from the feeders, and hop through it in their daily forages. It still looks green!


  1. Okay that last picture is great! Fabulous idea, Thanks for sharing!!

  2. How fun! Your little guy looks so pleased!! What a fun thing to do on any tree...but the Christmas tree is classic, because it is so sad to get rid of it! Thanks for the great idea!