How to Decorate a Tree Outdoors

5 tips for creating bird-friendly outdoor holiday decorations.

November 7, 2011

Decorating a tree outdoors is a great family activity that gets the whole community in on the fun. Neighbors will take pleasure in your work, and the local critters are sure to enjoy it, as well. Instead of fighting off the birds and squirrels, use these five tips to keep the holidays green for all involved.

1. Decorate with edible ornaments. Cookies, dried fruit, popcorn, and cranberries are all appealing to human eyes, as well as animal taste buds. For more on edible decorations, read Outsider Art.


2. Use biodegradable ribbon or twine to hang the food. Be sure that wherever the treats fly or run off too, they’ll safely decompose without hurting the wildlife.

3. Choose a theme for your tree. Want a Williamsburg look? Use figs and pinecones. An all white or all red tree will also be stunning. Spend five minutes planning your tree, and it will come together beautifully.

4. Be safe. Odds are your outdoor tree will be much taller than the 7-foot spruce in the living room. Use a ladder and other safety equipment to hang higher ornaments, and give the kids the honor of decorating the lower section of the tree.

5. Get everyone involved. Invite neighbors to help decorate, hand out apple cider, and approach it not as a chore but as a party.