Reuse Those Christmas Cards

by Kimba on December 28, 2009

in Seasonal Projects

christmas cards

Every year, I feel a smidge of guilt when I throw away all of the beautiful Christmas cards that we receive. A few years ago, our family began a tradition that helps us to remember our friends and loved ones long into January.

christmas cards in basket

As the Christmas cards arrive, we keep them in a pretty basket on our kitchen table. Starting right after Christmas, we pull a card out of the basket each night at dinner. We pray for that family member, friend or neighbor when we say grace. (Yes, we even pray for the window washer.)

It’s a fun way to focus on all the people we love and the kids like taking turns pulling a card out of the basket.

Here are a few other ideas for reusing your Christmas cards…

  • Make gift tags for next year – Use your scissors or a scrapbook punch to cut out pieces of the cards.
  • Make Valentine’s cards – Lots of Christmas cards are red/white. Perfect colors for Valentine’s Day.
  • Save them to make paper ornaments next year. Here are a couple of tutorials for making your own paper ornaments:

3D Paper Ornament @ How About Orange
Punched Paper Ornaments and Pinwheel Ornaments @ Made By Stephie
Twirly Paper Snowflake Ornaments @ Simply Modern Mom

  • Send them to the St. Jude Ranch Recycled Card Program. The children of St. Jude’s turn old Christmas cards into new cards for next year. The cards are sold via their website and the funds go to support St. Jude’s operations. LOVE THIS!

Do you do anything with your old Christmas cards?

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We’ve been running non-stop for 6 days now. I’m ready to take a breather.

For those of you that have asked…Yes, there will be a DIY Day this week. But if any of you have managed to do any projects in the last week, you’re CRAZY! But if you did, we want to see them!

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1 Erin @ Domestic Adventure December 28, 2009 at 8:29 am

Here is how I used my old Christmas cards to make ornaments–it was very easy!

2 Jacky {The Sweetest Petunia} December 28, 2009 at 8:59 am

Kimba, thanks for sharing these ideas! Being a card-maker myself, it is sad to just throw them out. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make boxes out of the cards, too. I’ll have to search for a tutorial for that.

3 Amanda Machin December 28, 2009 at 9:03 am

Hi Kimba,
Just had to email to say those very same words from Silent Night really touched me too this year. I felt tears rising as I sang them and couldn’t believe the beauty of that message. Much love, Amanda xxx

4 Betty Jo December 28, 2009 at 9:12 am

What incredible ideas for reusing Christmas cards! Thank you for sharing. ♥

5 heidi @ wonder woman wannabe December 28, 2009 at 9:13 am

What a neat idea to pray for each card giver – I like it!

6 Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage December 28, 2009 at 9:30 am

Love the idea of praying for each family, how sweet!

No, sadly I do not reuse them. However, those are some GREAT links!

7 Tricia Anne December 28, 2009 at 10:11 am

We like to place our cards that come, in a basket too. The pictures that are in the cards go on the fridge. :o) I also have a Christmas picture scrap book. Each year I add the photos that we receive. It is so fun to look back at how everyone has grown or changed. :o)
As for keeping the cards … no, I tend to throw mine out. But I am looking through the tutorials you listed for some plans to use the ones I have this year. :o) Thank you for showing us.
Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne

8 Marie December 28, 2009 at 10:26 am

What a lovely post! I really like the St Jude’s idea! I think that is a wonderful way to recycle, thank you for the inspiration!
Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

9 Monica December 28, 2009 at 11:02 am

I sometimes cut out parts of cards and add as scrapbook embellishments. Also, some of the more ‘eye-catching’ ones are kept to make Christmas pictures that I replace in frames for the holidays.

10 Marci December 28, 2009 at 11:04 am

Thanks for the great ideas. Love the St. Jude’s idea…

11 Amanda @ Serenity Now December 28, 2009 at 11:41 am

GOOD ideas!!! 🙂 A friend of mine also does the “prayer card” thing with her family, and it made me feel so blessed! I am definitely going to save our cards this year. 🙂

PS. I DO have a project this week, but it’s something I took photos of BEFORE Christmas. 😉

12 Becky December 28, 2009 at 11:47 am

I rear off the front part of the card and take it to preschool the following year for the kids to “write” on–they love giving each other cards. Although I must say 85% of the cards I received this year where photos–no card at all.

13 Treasia/TruckersWife December 28, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Thanks for sharing the many uses of Christmas cards. I didn’t realize that St. Jude’s had a program such as this. Wonderful idea. I usually take ours and repurpose them into gift tags for the next year.

14 Holly December 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm

That’s such a nice idea! We do put the cards in a basket, and I usually don’t throw them out, they just pile up in the bottom of the Christmas storage bins. So that’s kind of fun to pull out a few old ones each year. When I was a kid, we used to cut up the old ones to make gift tags.
I’ve noticed a trend in the last 2-3 years though, of getting fewer and fewer cards. We probably only got a total of about a dozen this year.

15 Funky Junk Interiors December 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I’ve always made gift tags out of them buy gluing cut sections onto coordinating contsruction paper backgrounds. Or just put old cards out until new ones come in for decor purposes. (sneaky!!) 🙂


16 Gloria December 28, 2009 at 12:59 pm

What a wonderful gift of prayer. This is a most wonderful idea.

17 mindy December 28, 2009 at 1:51 pm

oh wow, your idea of praying for one family each night at dinner gave me goosebumps (chosen from the basket)..what a WONDERFUL idea for next year. Thank you so much for that idea. I will certainly implement it!

18 Emily December 28, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Kimba, yet again, a wonderful family tradition!!! I put holiday cards, birthday cards and other greetings that come in my punch bowl and leave it out all year long. (I’ve only used it once for it’s designated purpose…) From time to time I go through it and read the notes again, especially after a bad day. If and when I have a family of my own someday, I’ll definitely have to go the next step and borrow your tradition!

19 Heathahlee December 28, 2009 at 2:13 pm

I’m so glad you posted those links! I have wanted to reuse ours, too. Now I know how! : )

20 Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions December 28, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Great ideas to recycle those Christmas cards! I really like the idea of making them into tags for next Christmas’ gifts!

21 Marla December 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm

That is so sweet!! That’s a wonderful idea.

I reuse them the next Christmas for gift tags, but I like the idea of picking out a card and praying for that person and family. That’s a much more personal way of connecting.

22 Lucinda December 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm

We cut the pictures out of the photo Christmas Cards we receive. I then put them into a photo album for the kids to look at all year long. They love it and it helps them keep the relatives and old friends that we don’t see often fresh in their memory.

23 Richella December 28, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Great ideas, all of these. Thank you for sharing them. And thank you for sharing the poignancy of those ageless words: “the dawn of redeeming grace.” Amazing that we could ever be blase’ about the Christmas story, isn’t it??

24 Cindy December 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm

I turn all my old holiday cards either into new cards or gift tags. This year was the first year I made the tags, and everyone loved them. It’s also tons of fun to see how many pieces you can salvage off old cards!

25 Vanessa December 28, 2009 at 4:56 pm

I LOVE that idea! My husband and I are always looking for practical ways to share faith with our kids. This is a great one!! I’m so glad that I haven’t thrown out my cards!

26 catherine s. December 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm

LOVE your idea of praying for a card sender each night – going to incorporate this to our Christmas traditions – LOVE IT! Thanks Kimba. Also did not know that St. Jude does such a thing – I am a BIG supporter of them…shopped at most stores that supported them and gave a donation – what a great way to give back with your old cards!

I keep all the friend/family photo cards in a big book and separate them by year – page through them each year to see how each friend/family has changed, especially how fast the kids grow. It’s fun!

I have tried these Martha recycled card projects and liked them:

And I’ve also done the circle punch assembled balls and liked that alot (LOVE this one):

Peace and blessings to you in the New Year!

27 Jenna December 28, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Our church hosts a Living Nativity each year, and I was in charge of the childcare for the worker’s children. We made these placemats this year from collections of old Christmas cards:
The kids LOVED them!

28 cristin @ simplified bee December 28, 2009 at 8:21 pm

I use a scrapbook tag punch to make gift tags too! Creative Memories has a nice one.


29 Kelly December 28, 2009 at 11:19 pm

This year I framed a couple of my Christmas cards to use for decoration. Love it!

30 Cyndee Wanyonyi December 29, 2009 at 2:02 am

OH MY GOODNESS!!! I love the idea of praying for each of the people who gave us cards – soooo cool! Thanks for sharing your awesome ideas about these Christmas Cards…

31 grannyann December 29, 2009 at 11:23 am

Neat post. i am going to borrow your card address and post that too, so people can send in their cards. Hope you don’t mind.

32 Stephanie December 29, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I love your idea of prayer and dinner time. I usually keep all the cards..I kind of feel bad throwing things like that out…especilly when someone took the time to send it. Thanks for posting about the St Judes – I had no idea that existed and will be sure to pass along to friends and family. Happy New Year!

33 Molly December 29, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Kimba – what a beautiful idea… to pray for the “senders”!

34 Ashleigh December 30, 2009 at 12:12 am
I don’t love the picture here. I was envisioning more of a collage of photos for a place mat. Maybe I’ll make one just as an example! 😉

35 Us Simple Girls December 30, 2009 at 11:33 am

I like to cut out cute designs from the cards (that have a blank back), punch a hole in them and use them as gift tags for next year. I haven’t bought new gift tags in years!

36 Bette @ Frugal Mom x3 December 31, 2009 at 4:02 pm

I’ve used cards for tags, I save the fronts for my kids to make cards for their friends the following year, I’ve sent to the daycare for crafts, and I’ve used some for scrapbooking. I’ve also used some to write recipes when someone has requested.

37 Kolein V. Carlson January 1, 2010 at 10:10 pm

I enjoy reading your blog very much! Thank you for sharing all of this with us!
Christmas Card Re Use:
I home school my children and have a laminator machine ($25 at Wallly’s). So, every Christmas we give bookmarks. I cut out the special or pretty or meaningful part of the card, laminate it, hole punch it, tie a nice sturdy ribbon on it, add a fun bead or embellishment to the end of the ribbon and voila! Bookmark! Everyone really enjoys receiving them and usually comments on how they can never find a proper bookmark when needed! So it seems to be a great gift!

38 Tammy January 2, 2010 at 11:55 am

We’ve reused our cards for several different things, and I’ve posted about a Christmas Tree collage we are going to try.

39 Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates January 3, 2010 at 8:32 pm

I really love the idea of praying for each family using the cards! Thanks for great ideas! 🙂

40 Michelle March 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm

LOVE your site and great organizing ideas! I leapfrogged over here from through and clicked on a few post titles that seemed interesting, and I’ve discovered what a gem your site is! I’ve been saving Christmas cards for years, hoping one day to use them for something practical. I love your tips. Keep it up! You’ve won a new follower.

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