If you’re like me, you receive dozens of personalized holiday cards in the mail each year. You may choose to display them on your mantle or on top of your piano, or you may tape them up around the doorway to your kitchen or pin them to a bulletin board. But once Christmas and Chanukkah and New Year’s pass, what do you do with all those personalized holiday cards? If you throw them away, then it’s a good thing you’re reading this because I have some really great ideas to share that will reduce waste and maximize your creative potential!
The easiest way to reuse your old holiday greeting cards is to make gift tags from them. All you’ll need is scissors, a hole punch, and ribbon. To start, sort through the holiday cards you received and set aside the ones featuring images or graphics that you’ll want to use. If you’re making Christmas-themed gift tags, look for cards with Christmas trees, ornaments, and wreaths. If you’re making holiday neutral gift tags, set aside cards with snowflakes, snowmen, and gift boxes. Next, cut out the images with a pair of sharp scissors. You can even use an X-Acto knife accompanied by a ruler as a guide. After cutting out the images, punch a hole in each tag and tie a piece of ribbon through the hole. Use the back of each gift tag to personalize with the “To” and “From” information. And voila! That’s one less thing to spend money on next holiday season.
If you can handle making gift tags from your old personalized holiday cards, then you can definitely do this next project. How about reusing the holiday greeting cards you receive to make garland? You’ll need the same materials from the last project: scissors (or an X-Acto knife), a hole punch, and ribbon. Most people associate garland as being very Christmassy, but you can make holiday neutral garland as well. Similarly to the gift tag project, you’ll start by sorting through your old holiday cards and setting aside the ones featuring large images and graphics that suit your fancy. Again, if you’re making a Christmas-themed garland, look for cards with Christmas trees, ornaments, and wreaths. If you’d like your garland to be holiday neutral, use cards with graphics like snowflakes and gift boxes. Next, use a pair of scissors or an X-Acto knife to cut out the images (the amount of images you cut out will depend on how long you want your garland). On a large flat surface, lay your images next to each other; rearrange them as you see fit. Except for the two end pieces, punch two holes in each image – one to the far left and one to the far right. Attach each image with a small piece of ribbon. And there you have it…garland made of recycled holiday cards to string across your Christmas tree, decorate your staircase, or droop along your mantle.
This next and final project is even simpler and easier than using your old personalized holiday cards to make gift tags and garland. Do you have any favorite holiday dishes that you make each year? If so, you can share them with your family and friends by making recipe cards from the holiday greeting cards you received. To start, sort through your old holiday cards, setting aside the ones with your favorite overall designs. To make your life easier, you’ll probably want to pick cards with the same horizontal or vertical orientation. Next, using an X-Acto knife along with a ruler as your guide (or sharp scissors if you have a steady hand), cut each card along the crease, keeping the front piece with the design and discarding the piece with the inside greeting. For the recipe, you have several options. If you’re computer savvy, you can type up the recipe and print it directly onto the back of each card, or you can use a label template that is compatible with your computer and printer. If you’re uneasy about the two previously mentioned options, you can still type the recipe, print out as many copies as you need, and cut and glue each copy onto the back of each card. Once your recipe cards are complete, you can tuck them into your thank you cards or hold on to them and send them in your holiday greetings for the following year.
Now you know three easy and fun ways to reuse your old personalized holiday cards. So when the holiday season comes to an end and you’re left with a pile of cards sent to you by your family and friends, don’t just throw them away! Be creative and recycle your cards into something useful. Not only will your efforts be appreciated by the important people in your life, you will also ease the strain on your wallet.