Eat your Christmas tree (and five other top tips)

image source, Getty Images
image captionChristmas is officially over - but your tree can live on

There are pine needles all over the floor, the decorations are falling off and the base is starting to rot away.

Sadly it's time to throw out your once beautiful and carefully put together Christmas tree before it falls over and injures someone.

But what else could you do with it instead of adding to your local council's landfill?

Here are six top tips just for you.

1. Eat it

Yes really.

Fancy some pine needle cured salmon, pine nut tea or even ice cream?

Julia Georgallis, who set up a supper club called How To Eat Your Christmas Tree and also has a micro bakery, has come up with a menu based on all things spruce and pine.

She says there are many ways to make your tree appetising.

"Spruce tastes a little bit like vanilla, so it actually makes delicious ice cream.

"You simply make a custard, infuse the custard with spruce needles and then churn or freeze it, it's really simple to do at home."

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Other ideas include using the pine for smoked vegetables or pickles, and to spruce up jam and cordial.

But she warns: only spruce and fir trees are edible - if you have a yew tree, these are poisonous and should not be eaten.

Also if you're making tea - make sure you've bought an organic or FSC-certified tree.

Many commercial trees will have been sprayed with chemicals to kill pests or disease and to keep them alive longer.

2. Recycle it

image source, Getty Images
image captionRecycling a real tree will help the environment

Around eight million Christmas trees are sold in the UK over the festive period.

The Carbon Trust says that real trees have much lower carbon footprints than artificial Christmas trees.

If a two-metre tree is recycled, rather than ending up in landfill, it will reduce your carbon footprint by 80%.

Recycle Now has a list of places you can recycle your Christmas tree, or check whether your local council has a special collection in January.

It's usually turned into chippings, which then get used on woodland paths and walkways, or used in coastal defence schemes.

The Forestry Commission England says local authorities pay nearly £100 for every 40 trees sent to landfill - but dealing with it yourself can cut that by half.

3. Re-plant it in your back garden

image source, Getty Images
image captionPlant your tree so it can live on until next year

Become a gardener and re-plant your Christmas tree.

Then next year, you can decorate it for that festive feel.

As a bonus suggestion - use your Christmas tree needles in your compost. They're acidic and so balance out alkaline, like wood ash.

Or why not learn how to do some woodwork, and carve next year's presents out of this year's tree.

4. Use it to freshen up your home

image source, Getty Images
image captionTurn your Christmas tree into nice smelly stuff around the home

Keep some of your Christmas tree around in a new life form: nice smelly stuff.

Why not use the needles to give your front room a pine fresh smell by mixing it with some pot pourri?

If you search for a way to do it online, you can also make pine resin oil from the needles to go in soap, candles and lotions.

5. Turn it into a bird sanctuary

image source, Getty Images
image captionTurn your Christmas tree into a feeder for the birds

Extend the life of your tree for the birds during the winter.

Stick it in a heavy pot that won't blow over and decorate the branches with some suitable food items, such as strings of berries, popcorn, and chopped fruit in bags.

You could also turn the tree into chippings if you have a garden, or chop it into logs for your fire.

6. Give them to your goats

image source, Getty Images
image captionGoats are big fans of Christmas trees

If you're lucky enough to own goats, you'll probably know they love chowing down on old Christmas tree branches.

Weird but true.

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