The jolly sounds of jingle bells are now replaced by another seasonal tradition — Christmas tree needles dropping on your floor.
Before you tote the tree outdoors, be sure to remove all its lights, ornaments and tinsel. Beware of capturing too many needles with your vacuum because they can clog it; empty the bag outdoors around acid-loving plants such as camellias, gardenias and azaleas.
Never burn the tree in a fireplace or wood stove because the dried evergreens are highly combustible and can cause creosote buildup in your chimney, warn fire-prevention officials.
You can use your the tree in your yard. Use a small hand saw to remove branches and place them around plants that need extra cold wind and temperature protection. A neighbor with a chipper could ground it into mulch for you.
"Place your live-cut tree, no ornaments or tinsel, near shrubs in your back yard to provide shelter for birds and other wild animals," suggests Debbie Blanton of the Hampton Clean City Commission.
Decorate the tree with fresh orange slices, strung popcorn and old bagel slices toasted and covered in peanut butter and wild birdseed.
Other uses for old Christmas trees include: soil erosion barriers, fish habitats in ponds and lakes and paths for hiking trails.
In Hampton, residents with curbside collection can set trees out on collection day. Residents in apartments, condos and townhouses without city collection can take trees to the Hampton Yard Waste Transfer Site, 100 N. Park Lane, off Big Bethel Road. Info: 727-8311.
In Williamsburg, the city collects trees for recycling Jan. 7 and Jan. 14; place trees curbside before 7 a.m. Trees are ground into mulch that the landscaping department uses. Info: 220-6140 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In Gloucester, residents can take trees to any
In James City County, trees will be accepted now through Jan. 31 at the three county convenience centers:
In Poquoson, there is a live Christmas tree drop-off location at the Municipal Pool parking lot now through Jan. 11. Info: 868-3590.
Note to readers: Beginning in January, the Diggin' In column appears in the Sunday Good Life section of the Daily Press.
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