Some of the best resources are free, and when Mother Nature provides you with an abundant supply of pine cones, you can’t help but think up multiple applications for them that are both practical and resourceful.

Here are four simple and creative sMARt tips for inspiring you to rethink the traditional pine cone:

  • As kindling for your fireplace.  When we think about the holidays one cannot help but envision stockings hung by a roaring fire. The fireplace glow and scent fill our home with the memories of tidings and joy. Believe it or not, pine cones are the perfect double duty dÌ©cor item to have on hand in your home.  Fill a decorative bucket with them, and when you need a little kindling, grab a handful of pine cones and lay your wood on them. Plus, toss them right into the fire any time for an organic way to get the fragrance of season.
  • As holiday dÌ©cor.  Go au naturale by embracing and displaying their beauty in an apothecary jar. Enjoy them for years by spraying them silver or gold for that festive, holiday touch.  Add drama to any room by filling several tubular glass vases in various heights. Intertwine battery-powered strings of LED lights to add unexpected drama and ambiance.
  • Place card holder. If you try to slip a place card between the ridges of a cone the card will look rippled and uneven. Instead, use a small hand saw to create a straight slot. Place the cone on its side and saw the length of it — go about a å_ inch in. Then you’re ready to insert a hand-written place card into the slice. 
  • Bird Feeder. Want to stay green while feeding your feathered friends this winter season? Grab a pine cone by its top, and dunk it into a bowl of peanut butter, then into a bowl of loose birdseed. Place on a cookie sheet and let dry overnight. To suspend, tie a decorative ribbon to the top, and hang from a tree branch — not too far away from windows so that you can enjoy the appreciative activity. Calling all birds!  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served!

Incorporating the natural beauty of pine cones through these easy projects is one way to create fun for the whole family.