When the holiday season is over, many will turn to the dumpster or wood chipper to get rid of their Christmas trees – but a conservation group is suggesting another wildlife-friendly option.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada hopes people will consider moving their tree to the backyard, where it can become a winter shelter for birds and squirrels as it decomposes.

"Not all birds will migrate to the Carolinas or South America, so it's important for birds to have a habitat this time of year, and Christmas trees in your backyard can help with that," said director Andrew Holland.

The NCC's senior conservation biologist says that not only will the tree provide a home for animals surviving tough weather, it can also enrich backyard ecosystems and improve soil.

"You can even use your old tree as a bird feeder by redecorating it with pine cones filled with peanut butter, strings of peanuts and suet," said Dan Kraus.

For those who want to go the old-fashioned route, tree chipping events around the South Island begin this weekend.

The Central Saanich Lions Club runs its annual event Saturday and Sunday at 1703 Keating Cross Road.

Similar events will be held in Oak Bay's Windsor Park, in an annual tradition hosted by the Castaway Wanderers Rugby Club, and McKenzie Elementary School.