Sure, you COULD compost your Christmas tree, or set it on fire, or weave its branches into a hat (we’re really only condoning the first one). But why would you do that, when you could donate it to a local restoration project?

Your old, dry Christmas tree nonspecific holiday foliage can do everything from preserving fish and bird habitats to generating electricity. Way more exciting than just sitting in your yard waste bin, right? For instance, in Louisiana, more than 350,000 old Christmas trees have helped protect shorelines and prevent erosion since 1991:

Here’s a list of community restoration programs across the country, courtesy of the National Christmas Tree Association:

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You can also Google “[your city or county] Christmas tree community restoration” to see if you can volunteer at or take your tree to a local restoration project. If not, well, we’re sure it’ll make a lovely hat.

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