In past years, I’ve noticed a lot of houses adorned with Christmas lights well into February and March. Though it may seem a bit tacky, I can sympathize. After all, it takes a lot of effort to string those darn things around every edge and corner, not to mention devising a complex system of power strips and extension cords to make sure each strand has a source of electricity. Plus, you already braved the cold once to put them up, and the thought of going out again to take them down is extremely unappealing, to say the least.


Although you might be able to get away with your case of light uninstallation procrastination, the same is not true when it comes to real Christmas trees. Sure, removing the ornaments and boxing up the star is not nearly as much fun as putting them on the tree, but it has to be done. Why? Because when you cut down your evergreen beauty, you removed it from the root system it depended on for survival. Sooner or later, it will dry out in your living room. The needles will become brown and brittle, and eventually they will fall on your floor.


There is nothing fun or festive about a pile of dead pine needles in the house, so once your tree is past its prime, it’s time to start thinking about getting rid of it. Throwing away your tree would be a huge waste, so don’t just toss it in a dumpster.


The city of Missoula has made it super easy to recycle Christmas trees by setting up several designated drop-off areas around town: McCormick Park, Playfair Park, the south lot at Fort Missoula and EKO Compost. The trees will be chopped up and turned into mulch.


The recycling sites will be accepting trees through Jan. 10.


Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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