How to Reuse or Upcycle Old Christmas Cards
Too Pretty to Waste
Ideas for Reusing Christmas Cards
What happens to Christmas cards once the holiday is over? Probably 90% end up in the trash. What a waste that is when they can be repurposed in many thrifty ways. Let's make use of those cards, so they don't contribute to overflowing landfills.
Many of the uses are simple, and even your children can help. For those that don't want to bother with converting the cards to other uses, I provide places to donate them.
A lot of the tips I'll share below also work for greeting cards from other occasions as well such as Valentine's Day, Easter, and birthdays.
What Do You Currently Do with Your Old Christmas Cards?
Vote in the Poll
Cards Ready for New Uses
Sort and Cut Up the Cards
I go through my cards after the holiday to see what to save and what to discard. By using parts of the cards for crafts, very little ends up in the trash.
- Save the ones with messages/letters that you want to respond to. Deaths, divorce, new babies require a response to extend sympathy, support, or congratulations depending on the situation.
- Cards with just a simple signature, I cut the front and back apart. The back, if mostly plain, gets used as scrap paper. If it is a fancy gold or red or silver, I save it to use in scrapbooking or in making my homemade Valentines.
Make placemats out of them. Cut circles and put them on that sticky paper, clear contact paper with a print on the bottom.— Cheryl
Decorate Presents With Last Year's Christmas Cards
A Papercutter or Scissors Are All You Need
In December, I Send a Holiday Postcard Every Day to My Brother in a Nursing Home
These are cut to postcard size from the front of last year's cards. I write a short message, add a stamp, and address it. Easy and it gives him something to look forward to each day as mail is distributed.
Make Bookmarks from Cards
Tips for Making the Bookmarks From Christmas CardsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Aren't These Bookmarks Attractive?
Ideas from My Thrifty Friends
- Sandra - I have used old cards to create gift tags for the following year. I used cookie cutters or some other pattern to trace around.
- Tammy - I bought a hole punch shaped like a gift tag and made gift tags out of the ones I could.
- Susan - I have kept ones from every year that have pictures on them and cards that have extensive writing. I have about 20 years worth in scrapbooks. It's awesome to look back and to how children have grown or people have since died.
- Phyllis - Just keep the photo ones, or any that you feel are special or have special meaning.
- Ashley - I make sure I have their correct address saved on my phone.
- Jennifer - I staple the front part because the other side is typically blank into “pads” to use as scratch paper/lists.
Hand-Painted, Stamped, and Crafted Cards
When you have talented friends and family, save their cards to display again in future. You can even frame them to preserve them better.
I Save Handcrafted Cards
Make a Christmas Memory Scrapbook Using the Old Cards for Pockets
Candy McTaggart came up with a wonderful idea. Here it is in her own words:
"They make great Christmas journals to save memories and mementos in, also all those beautiful photo cards the kids are all sending now. You can easily punch holes in them with a hole punch and use binder rings (Target, office supply} to hold them together. I use a machine called a Cinch to bind mine."
You can write in little memories about the events of that Christmas season. Add a list of gifts received and given. Tell of humorous or touching things people said or did.
Candy added, "I can't keep them all but I do love looking back at past years. Especially cards from now-deceased friends and family, cards from my then young grandchildren. I look forward each year to getting out my book and enjoying the memories they invoke. Sentimental me."
Candy McTaggart's Christmas Scrapbook
Make Tiny Boxes From the Cards
Video Tutorial for Turning Cards into Little Boxes
Places That Can Use Your Old Christmas Cards
You'll probably want to remove the part with personal messages before donating your cards.
- Nursery schools and elementary schools can use them for children's craft activities.
- St Jude's Ranch for Children - This link has the information about it and the address for sending.
After Christmas, Sort and Cut Up Your Cards to Use Again
Ask Your Friends If You Can Have Their Old Christmas Cards Too.
Do this early enough after the holiday that they haven't already tossed them out. Reassure them that you discard any parts with writing and names on them.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
When you make the postcards by gluing your photo onto a plain card background, what kind of glue should I use?
I tried plain white glue like Elmer's but it didn't turn out smooth. Then I found a spray on glue that works really well to securely stick the two parts of the postcard (picture and backing) together. Very smooth.
© 2017 Virginia Allain