15 Creative Ways to Recycle Christmas Cards


Every year my mailbox overflows with Christmas cards. I enjoy decorating my windowsill with cards, or hanging them on the stairway railing or around doorways. The festive look reminds me how blessed I am to have so many friends think about me (at least for the time it took to sign and address the card). After Christmas I place the cards in a basket. Throughout the next year, our family pulls out cards and remembers that family in prayer.

Every year I have good intentions of sending handwritten notes with cards, but time has a way of disappearing before I get even a few written. I tell myself that after Christmas, I’ll send a New Year’s letter with all the family news. But once again I am busy with taking down Christmas decorations and preparing for a New Year. Well, perhaps a Valentine’s newsletter would show others how much I love them. Then it’s a spring/ Easter newsletter which quickly turns into a summer letter, and before I know it, school has started and I plan a Thanksgiving note to let my friends know how thankful I am for them.

Well, another year has passed and no family newsletter, but Christmas cards still appear in my box every day. I’ll leave the cards up at least through New Year’s Day, but eventually I’ll change the decor. I can’t bring myself to throw out the cards so I have some creative ways to repurpose them.

  1. Christmas cards really do add to the decorations, so display them somewhere–windowsills, railings, around doorways, etc.
  2. Use them as a great reminder to pray for others.
  3. Cards that have sentimental value can be placed in a scrap book.
  4. Many Christmas cards make great ornaments. Cut out various scenes and decorate with raffia, glitter, buttons, etc. You can make an ornament with a single card or glue two cards back-to-back. Cut into different shapes for variety.
  5. Try making some aluminum pie tin ornaments from those little pie tins. Cut a Christmas card to fit the inside of the tin. Glue the card into the center. Punch a hole on top and tie some ribbon to hang on the tree. (I made these ornaments when I was little and still have one that is about 40 years old!)
  6. Some cards make beautiful pictures when framed. Over the years, I have framed and hung some beautiful winter scenes from cards and displayed them in my house. No one realizes that they are recycled Christmas cards.
  7. Christmas cards make great book markers to keep for yourself or give away. A ribbon tied through a hole in the top adds a further festive look. I teach a 1st grade Sunday school class and each year, I make book markers from old Christmas cards.
  8. You can also create great craft from cards. Years ago my then six-year old son took a picture from a card. He made a popsicle frame for it and glued buttons and other decorations on the popsicle sticks. His craft won a ribbon at our local fair.
  9. Have your children make their own Christmas cards by cutting apart pictures and even the words from inside the card.
  10. Some Christmas cards make wonderful postcards. Write a message on the back and attach a postcard stamp. You save money on the card and postage!
  11. Cut apart the cards to use for gift tags. Use decorative scissors for more flair. Large cookie cutters make great shapes for gift tags.
  12. Make festive Christmas magnets with Christmas cards and stick-on magnets. These make great gifts, too!
  13. Design Christmas place mats. Cover with contact paper. Just wipe with a damp sponge or cloth when dirty.
  14. Create a coaster with a CD and Christmas card. You might want to shellac the coaster to protect it.
  15. Make a Christmas wreath or Christmas collage with your cards.

Be creative when reusing the cards. You may be able to use small pictures, verse, or words from the inside of the card. When you finish cutting apart the card, recycle the rest of the card instead of tossing it in the trash. What do you do with your Christmas cards? Feel free to share in the comments below.