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The favorite focal point of most Christmas celebrations is the Christmas tree. It provided a place to put your wrapped gifts, likely is the backdrop in most of your holiday photos and has served its purpose well. Now the question is what to do with it after the holidays.

1. Put it out with the trash

Check with your trash or disposal company for any rules or requirements they may have before you put your tree out by the curb. Some companies have a small extra charge for tree pick up, and others will require you to cut it down into manageable parts. Of course, you will want to make sure all the lights, decorations and tinsel have been removed prior to putting it out with your trash. For people without a yard or gardening area this may be the only logical option.

2. Check out local recycling options

Many Colorado counties have recycling days from the end of December into January for dropping off your tree. In some counties there may be a small fee, usually .00 - .00. You may also check into local charities that are holding tree disposal and recycling events for a small donation. My favorites are the ones where you drop off your Christmas tree, give them a donation, and then load yourself up some free mulch.

The El Paso County website has information on their TreeCycle program.

Rocky Top Resources is also offering tree recycling and have Saturday hours.

3. Christmas trees are for the birds

Although I don't usually put the whole Christmas tree in my yard due to the size of my back yard and the high fire danger and drought we have experienced in the front range the past few years, I do cut off the top to provide a convenient spot for birds and squirrels to grab a winter time snack. The branches are perfect for hanging suet, strings of popcorn, strategically placing nuts, hanging dried fruits and pinecones smeared with peanut butter and sprinkled with birdseeds. Your wildlife will appreciate the holiday meal enjoyed in the safety of the pine boughs.

4. Check with your homeowner's association

With the recent Waldo Canyon and Black Forest wildfires, some neighborhoods are being more active in brush removal in their neighborhoods and frequently sponsor pick ups of cleared trees and dead underbrush. Check with your homeowner's association to see if they have a pick up scheduled or if homeowner's in the neighborhood get a discount on tree and underbrush removal.

Suggested by the author holiday pet safetyChristmas trees: Does 'going green' mean buying an artificial tree or cut tree?PointsettiasHoliday’s and guests: a time to impressRecyle, Reuse and Use It Up Tips
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