Growing up, we always got our Christmas tree on my brother's birthday (Dec. 20) and dragged it out into the woods on Epiphany (13 days after Christmas). Now that I'm an adult, the tree comes home on MY birthday (Dec. 8) and leaves when I'm feeling tired of all the festiveness and want a return to normal. No matter how you decide it's time to take out the tree (maybe you use the "I can't take stepping on another *%#@ pine needle" method), why not get a little more use out of it before it goes?
I usually associate wreaths with the weeks leading up to Christmas, but why should our celebration of winter end there? The weeks after Christmas can be hard. For the last month there was so much to look forward to and so much to get done before Dec. 24th and then splat. Nothing. Just cold and dark and chores that were neglected in the preChristmas crunch. If ever there was a time that needed a little festive cheer, it's now.
I'm sure a google search would bring up half a dozen ideas on what to use as the base of the wreath, but I used what I had on hand, the base from my Advent wreath. A grapevine wreath (the sort you find at craft stores) or a styrofoam ring would work too.
Then with gardening shears and plastic bag in hand, I headed out for a walk. Along the way I gathered pine cones, interesting dead flower heads, bittersweet, and assorted greens.
Back at the house I turned the shears on my Christmas tree, cutting off branches until I had enough to fill the wreath. For some reason I felt like I should be careful to cut evenly from all sides of Scrappy (yes I named it) so the tree, which was headed for the curb, wouldn't look funny. You needn't follow the same "logic".
Anyway, once the wreath was covered in greens, I added the bits and bobs from my walk. Then a scrap of ribbon for a bow and it was door ready. A nice sight to come home to and it didn't cost a thing.