Christmas trees aren’t just homes for baubles and fairies. They can also house garden birds, insects and small mammals – not in your living room of course, but once your tree has served its festive purpose moving it outside is a great way to help wildlife.

Pop your tree in a heavy pot full of soil and you may be surprised at its resilience. Even those that have had their roots chopped off can go on to thrive.

Choose a relatively sheltered area to reduce the risk of the tree blowing around in the wind. Small animals may seek shelter within the branches in cold and windy conditions, so a quiet corner of the garden is ideal.

Once you have found a good spot for your tree, it’s time to start decorating. Christmas may be over, but that’s no reason to leave your tree undressed!  Here are some natural decorations that you can make at home…

Orange baskets – first you need to halve an orange and scoop out the flesh. Secondly, make three or four little holes through the side of the orange and thread string through each of them to create a hanging basket. Now fill the basket with bird seed and hang it up on your tree.

Peanut pine cones – find yourself a pine cone and then attach a piece of string to it so you’re able to hang it like a bauble. Dip the cone in peanut butter, cover it in bird seed and you’re done!

Suet shapes – mix suet with plenty of bird seed, squish it into cookie cutters and then push the shapes out onto greaseproof paper. Unwind a paperclip and embed it into each shape to create a hook for hanging. Pop your shapes in the freezer to set and then hang them up on your tree for the birds to enjoy.

Fruit fandangles – use string to make delicious décor from old fruit. Even if it’s bruised or partly rotten, it will be gratefully received by garden birds.

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