Ever feel a slight pang of guilt when throwing away a Christmas card? If you have a sentimental collection that desperately needs a new purpose, I have plenty of ideas that’ll keep you (and your kids) busy and give you peace of mind, too. Rather than tossing them in the recycling bin, do your own recycling by turning your holiday correspondence into a thoughtful piece of décor—or even creating a new set of cards.
So, clear your schedule, gather a helper or two, and prepare to get creative with those old cards — and have a clean conscience while you’re at it! Not only are you saving your sentiments, but you’re also helping the planet, saving money, and having fun with friends and family during the most wonderful time of the year. Happy crafting!
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Project #1: Garland
What you’ll need:
- Using either a shape puncher you can pick up at your local craft store or your own steady hand and scissors, cut out a few dozen circles or any other shape you fancy — candy canes, stars, and angels are a few other ideas.
- For this project, I punched 40 circles with which to decorate my mantel (if you see the irony in repurposing the cards sitting on top of the mantel with a garland that now decorates it, you get a gold star!).
- Place a pretty string of twine in between two circles, and glue it all together.
- Allow to dry and enjoy your new creation on your mantle, tree, or archway.
Project #2: Ornaments
Using the same idea as the garland, cut out a few dozen different circles, then punch holes in the tops of them with a hole puncher. You can now hang them on your tree using wire Christmas tree hangers or twine.
Project #3: Gift Tags
With even fewer rules applied, use your old cards to cut out squares, circles, rectangles, or even crazy-shaped gift tags for your holiday presents. Use a hole puncher to string a piece of ribbon or baker’s twine through, or simply glue or tape directly onto your presents.
Project #4: Upcycled Card
Using either cardstock or a set of blank cards (that come with envelopes) from your local craft store, create a set of holiday cards you can use this holiday season. Use mismatched cutouts to create a collage, or cut a fun shape like a reindeer or letters that spell out a message, like “JOY,” or simply create an abstract collection of images. Glue to the front of the card as you see fit, and voila: you’re an artist in your own right, creating a set of notes as thoughtful as the cards that started it all!
This article was originally published on December 15, 2015. It was updated in December 2020.
About the Author
Kelly Rae Smith is a craftswoman and home décor expert who writes for Shutterfly, where she shares her expertise on incorporating sustainability and recycling into holiday home décor.