| January 2, 2014

Alas, the holidays have come and gone.

And if you have a real Christmas tree, you're probably thinking about taking it down.

READ: Christmas Tree Mold And 10 Other Post-Holiday Hazards You Didn't Know Existed

While it would be splendid to leave it up all year round, the hard, cold truth is that it's gotta go.

But instead of tossing it, our friends over at This Old House have some clever reuse ideas.

Who knew needles, boughs, and trunk can do more than hold ornaments?

READ: Best of 10 Uses for Common Household Products

Mulch With Needles

Pine needles dry quickly and decompose slowly, making them an excellent moisture- and mold-free mulch for ground-covering crops, such as strawberries, to rest on.

Create a Bird Sanctuary

Place your tree in its stand outdoors. Fill bird feeders and hang them from the boughs, or drape the tree with a swag of pinecones coated with peanut butter.

READ: 27 Reader Tips That Save Time and Money

Insulate Perennials

Cut off boughs and lay them over perennial beds to protect them from snow and reduce frost heaving.

Edge Your Borders

Cut the trunk into 2-inch discs and set them into the soil to edge flower beds or walkways.

READ: 100 DIY Upgrades for Under $100