By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the New Year turns, many real Christmas trees will soon find a second life as garden mulch thanks to community recycling programs. You can also recycle your tree yourself at home – just lay your tree down in a corner of the yard to give birds and bunnies and other critters some winter cover, then make it into mulch in the spring.

Or, you can use needles from the best-scented trees, like Balsam firs, to create small pillows, sachets or fluff up a pet bed. I mentioned this last year and lots of people wrote to say how well it worked for them so you might want to try it too.

I just unzip the interior casing of a doggie bed and put a tree branch or an entire wreath inside, then shake off and pull away all the needles and let them drop into the casing. (Then put the bare branches out in your garden under shrubs, chop them up into a finer mulch, or toss them in the compost pile.)

The needles from trees and wreaths will really refill a flattened bed to help make your doggie or kittycat much more comfy while making whatever room the pet bed is in smell a lot better – and a little like Christmas – all year long.

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