Make Something Useful Out of Your Christmas Tree

This is a re-post of one of our earliest articles first published February 27, 2008.

Conversion of a Common Coniferous Conundrum

Pine Cone Photo by Petr KratochvilWhen we moved into our own home, my sister and I decided to make our first Christmas a memorable one, which included the purchase of a 7 foot tall Christmas tree. Another occasion which came with taking possession of the house was our going to the sanitation office and signing up for trash pickup, at which time we were warned that sanitation engineers would refuse to empty any trash container which was overfilled. To make sure we understood what it meant to overfill a trash container, the sanitation department employee showed us several photographs of a trash container into which a Christmas tree had been rammed with the lid in various half-hearted attempts at closure. Happily, this specific offense we will never be tempted to commit. For why on earth would two practical people like ourselves throw away (or reduce to mulch) a perfectly good used Christmas tree?

Almost as soon as we wrestled and tilted our Christmas tree into a position which passed for perpendicular, I began scheming at the potential uses of this sizable item which would become available as soon as December 26. However, to make the best of the purchase, we left the tree decorated well into January. After divesting the tree of it’s ornaments, we sawed off the branches while the tree was still standing, leaving a few attractive stumps. The branches were easily disposed of without upsetting the sanitation department. We then sawed off the part of the trunk that had been standing in water and were left with a 6+ foot tree trunk.

Pine Cone Photo by Petr KratochvilMy original plan was to convert the tree trunk into a coat rack for our entryway. This was to be achieved by inserting wooden pegs near the top, attaching to the base curved furniture legs to suggest tree roots, and possibly adding a wire bird nest in which to deposit objects like keys and fake eggs. The whole was to be painted a uniform color and varnished. I then shopped around for several months without finding the feet I had wanted and therefore the plan was changed.

My sister had begun playing the violin and was considering the purchase of a music stand. So, we decided to make a music stand instead of a coat rack. I measured the tree trunk and found that after cutting off the top for a music stand, the remaining section was just the height for a table. We had also been in the market for a small table. Each project took approximately two days and cost us next to nothing because we used small remnants of wood, leftover paint, and the only new materials were glue, nails, and screws. Although we painted the music stand blue and the octagonal table green, they make a very nice pair and we declare ourselves very satisfied with the results. But we are not skilled carpenters so you can form your own opinion from the pictures.

There really is no limit to what can be done with the nice piece of organically shaped wood that is a Christmas tree. One might turn it into a curtain rod, a chair, a stool, a ladder (decorative), balustrade, fence post, easel, or a rail to which to tie a goat when milking it to make cheese.

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