One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is sending and receiving Christmas cards. A former military family, we have friends all over the world, and keeping up via Christmas cards, letters and pictures are an annual tradition. Each year, we receive more than 50 Christmas cards. We display the cards in our breakfast nook during the holiday season, and I normally file them until the following year. Then, at the beginning of each December, I’m confronted with the question of what to do with the prior year’s Christmas cards. I hate to just through them out, so I’ve hit on a few ideas for repurposing the cards.
Project 1: Recycled Christmas Card Place Mat
You’ll need: Christmas cards, scissors, construction paper, glue, clear contact paper (or a laminator) and your choice of embellishments like stickers, stamps and ink pads, crayons and markers
What you do: Cut the pictures and/or words out of your Christmas cards. Let your child choose his favorites and glue them onto a piece of construction paper. Let him embellish the place mat with stickers, stamps or coloring. Once the design is complete, cover the place mat with clear contact paper or laminate it. If you’d like a larger place mat, you could glue the construction paper onto a piece of poster board measuring 2 inches wider and 2 inches longer than the construction paper, before covering in contact paper.
Here’s a finished product:
So far my boys have been fighting over the place mat above, since it features pictures of their new baby cousin and one of their best friends. They get a big smile every time they sit down to a meal.
Project 2: Christmas Tags/Ornaments
Using a die cut machine or a large punch, cut out circles, squares or other shapes from the fronts of your Christmas cards. Voila! You’ve got tags for Christmas gifts. Or, if you punch a small hole near the top of each shape, and thread a piece of string through it, you can make Christmas ornaments. This is an especially great idea if you’ve got pictures from family you’d like to keep.
Project 3: Christmas Wreath
If you would rather make a wreath, use your die cut machine or punch to cut out a consistent shape and size; I’ve cut out circles in the past, but who am I to stifle creativity. Lay out your shapes in a circle to make a wreath pattern, and glue them together. You may find that you need some reinforcement from wooden chopsticks glued to the back side of the wreath; the cards do get heavy. Then embellish the front with a festive bow, and hang your wreath indoors.