Getting that lovely Christmas tree into and out of the house is a big pain. Especially out. The removal of our aged Christmas tree this year is commonly referred to around our house as Needle Storm 2013.
This year I wanted our tree to earn its keep. Here's what we did.
Stage one: typical Christmas decorations
Ornaments, lights, star, what have you. (No photo of this part.)
Stage Two: New Years Eve Tree
This is one idea from my vast Pinterest boards that actually came to fruition. White lights + balloons = minimal effort and big impact. I didn't buy anything special for this, just grabbed whatever was around the house, which explains the colors of the balloons and why one of them says "happy birthday." You'd think the branches would pop the balloons but they don't. I did the decorating at night on Dec 30th after my kids had gone to bed, and their excited chatter the next morning was more than worth the effort.
Stage three: Bird feeder
This stage is a little more work, but still not manageable. After dragging that tree outside and standing it up next to our yarn scrap bag, we made birdseed ornaments. Here's a recipe to make them, and another that uses flour and corn syrup instead of gelatin. We made ours in my silicon mini-muffin tins, which made them easy to pop out in one piece. We pushed straw pieces into the mixture to make holes for stringing. This is an easy project for small children: scoop and smash.
Within about 20 minutes after hanging the ornaments, we had dozens of birds all over our backyard. Word gets around, I guess.
My kids were a little young for the yarn tying, and I got bored with it pretty quickly myself, but you can see that the holes for the yarn also work for skewering the ornaments on tree branches.
Stage four will be as firewood for our firepit.