Christmas brings lots of sparkle and colour to the house with all the decorations and the tree wrapped with tinsel and lights.

But it doesn't last forever. Sooner or later, it all has to come down.

The decorations can be packed away for another year along with an artificial tree - but if you have a real Christmas tree, what do you do with it?

If you bought a living tree in a pot, it can be planted out in the garden. But other trees that have been cut need to be recycled.

How to recycle your Christmas tree

Birmingham City Council has confirmed it is once again offering free Christmas tree recycling for all residents.

From January 5 to 28, trees can be dropped off at points set up near the entrances of:

Lickey Hills – Warren Lane, Lickey, Birmingham B45 8ER

Woodgate Valley Country Park – Clapgate Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham, B32 3DS

Sheldon Country Park – Ragley Drive, Church Road, Sheldon, Birmingham, B26 3TU

Sutton Park – Visitor centre, Town Gate, Park Road, Sutton Coldfield, B73 6BT

There is no cost for the service, and anyone who wants to take advantage of this offer should drop their tree off between 9am and 4pm (any day of the week).

The trees are run through a shredder and used within parks as a mulch or added in to biomass energy feedstock which is used for the production of electricity.

Latest opening times at Birmingham tips and recycling centres

If you are unable to get to a park or centre, or can’t get the tree back in the car now it’s out of its netting sleeve, you could try a scheme which also helps a charity.

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice will come and collect your real tree ion the weekend of Saturday, January 13, and Sunday, January 14.

The Treecycling scheme will see the hospice collect thousands of used Christmas trees from residents’ doorsteps across the city, in return for a donation (£10 is suggested).

Using a fleet of volunteers and vans, the charity will be picking up festive firs and spruces from postcodes across Birmingham and Solihull.

They will then be recycled into compost and biomass fuel.

The initiative is the biggest of its kind in Birmingham, with an estimated 3,000 trees to be collected over the weekend. It is now in its seventh year and has so far raised £85,000 for the charity.

All funds raised from Treecycling will go towards Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, which provides vital care and support to local families living with terminal illness across Birmingham and Sandwell.

Richard Green, Treecycling volunteer at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, said: "After all the festivities are over, getting rid of the tree can feel like a chore.

"With Treecycling though, we can save you both time and hassle by picking up the tree right from your doorstep, saving you from getting needles in your car and queuing for the tip.

"Not only is this scheme a fantastic way to be eco-friendly in the New Year but it will also help raise crucial funds for our hospice.

"All of our services – whether they are provided at the hospice, in people’s homes or in the local community – are completely free of charge and so we rely on the generosity of local people to help us provide our vital care to everyone who needs it."

Treecycling is supported by civil engineering contractor Fitzgerald, which has provided staff, vans and financial support since the scheme started.

The scheme is part of the hospice’s Care at Christmas’ campaign – a festive appeal to boost support for individuals and families living with terminal illness.

It will cost £22,000 to run the hospice on Christmas Day so every penny raised pays for vital care to be available to more people.

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Volunteers are operating the Treecycling in these postcode areas – B13 Moseley, B14 Kings Heath, B15 Edgbaston, B17 Harborne, B26 Yardley, B27 Acocks Green, B28 Hall Green, B29 Selly Oak/Selly Park, B30 Bournville, B31 Northfield, B32 Woodgate & Bartley Green, B38 Kings Norton, B91 Solihull and B92 Olton & Hampton-in-Arden.

Book your collection at the hospice's Christmas Treecycling page or call 0121 472 1191.

Tell your friends and family about Treecycling and you’ll be entered into a free prize draw to win a night’s stay for two with breakfast and dinner at the Park Regis in Birmingham.

The winner will be announced and contacted in the week starting January 15, 2018. The prize voucher will be available for collection from the hospice. Both entrants must have booked 2018 tree collections.

How to plant a Christmas tree in the garden

Christmas trees come in all shapes and sizes

Living Christmas trees in pots can be planted outside.

After Christmas, it's best to first move your tree to a sheltered outdoor spot and leave it there for a week to acclimatise. Carry on watering it every day.

Then choose an open, sunny position for the tree - not too close to the house or fence in case its roots or branches cause any problems in future.

If you thought ahead, you will already have dug a hole while the ground was soft in the autumn. Otherwise, it can be quite a task and you might need to pour boiling water on the frozen soil before tackling it with a spade.

Make a hole at least twice the size of the root ball so the roots can easily spread, but no deeper than the root ball or the tree will be too far in the ground. Then place your tree upright in the hole and fill with the soil you dug out. Water the tree and add mulch around the base as insulation.

If you would like to bring the tree back in next Christmas, it's probably better NOT to plant it but to leave it in its pot or just transfer to a bigger pot.