Christmas Card Uses – Ideas Needed

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From: Jeanne

Today I found some lovely, small Christmas card sets at the Tuesday Morning store where I live. They are very old-fashioned designs (Victorian/early 20th century), very lovely, and I bought them because I’d like to create some Christmas decorations as gifts using these cards.

One idea I had was to use grosgrain ribbon and attach the different cards to make a wall hanging (each box has six designs, four of each). I also thought about using them to make paper Christmas tree ornaments (which I love), or as gift tags (the cards are all blank inside). These cards are very good quality.

I was wondering if your readers could submit ideas for making gifts out of recycled (or in my case, new) Christmas cards. The cards I bought today cost only $3.65 for 24 cards. I’m not the most creative person, but I know many of your readers have great ideas. And now is the time to submit these ideas for the holidays.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this! Thanks very much.

Any suggestions, readers? We use them to decorate the front of Christmas presents and to make tags for Christmas presents. Do you have any other suggestions?




  1. Donna B. says

    My favorite use is gift tags. But what about if you took a large frame (dollar/thrift store, and put 3-4 cards in it like a collage with a mat to make a holiday decoration? Not sure I would hang it on a wall, but prop it up on a mantel? or hang in the window for a seasonal decoration?

    If they are heavy paper, what about decorating an unmarked coffee can for cookies? glueing and abutting the seams. If using a plastic coffee container, (you know the large ones that have 2-3 lbs of coffee, you can red ones, and then glue a card to that for a gift container? (especially if you send things overseas or to troops?

  2. Shannon M says

    I use old Christmas cards as recipe cards.

    Use them with “gifts” in a jar.

    Print my favorite recipes on them and add them to a purchased recipe box as a nice gift.

    I use them when scrap booking and as note cards.

    • says

      Good idea Shannon. I can never bring myself to toss Christmas cards and try to use them for different things so this is a new one for me. I love it.

  3. Suzanne says

    One of the best uses I have ever seen from old Christmas cards was to trim them into circles and over lap them gluing the edges, in the shape of a placemat and laminate them. The ones I have were made by the Womens Group at church and are in an oval shape. I use them every Christmas time.

  4. Lea Stormhammer says

    Suzanne, my grandmother did that every year – not just with her Christmas cards but with birthday, Easter, Anniversary, etc. Then she’d use them until they were ragged! I think she just layed hers out with the edges slightly overlapping on clear contact paper, rather than gluing and laminating, and I believe they were rectangle in shape.

    I had totally forgotten about this idea – thanks SO much for reminding me!

  5. Martine says

    Make a xmas tray: place the in a big picture frame and attach handles on either end.

    Banner: tie you cards to a beautiful ribbon. This banner can be hung in a window, over the mantel, in an entry way. If you prefer you can cut the cards into triangle, oval, circle.

    Wrapping: wrap a gift in plain kraft, tissue or newspaper. Attach the card to the center. You could even add coordinating ribbon or my daughters favorite glitter glue to frame the card. It’s now the focal point of the wrapping.

  6. Jeanne T. says

    Great ideas, all! Thanks for posting my request so quickly!

    I especially like the ideas of using the cards as recipe cards and decorating coffee cans. Another suggestion is to glue them to plan gift bags, dressing up the bags. Keep the ideas coming.

    • says

      My dad was in the military almost all of my life so usually we didn’t live near our extended family and was even overseas. Sending Christmas packages through the mail could be tricky especially back then when you didn’t have express mail and all the many other things we have now. Bows just couldn’t be put on packages to say the least. My mom started about 60 years ago wrapping Christmas gifts in white tissue paper and gluing on Christmas cards to decorate them.

      They were more works of art then anything when she got done with them. She didn’t just slap the front of a card on there but would carefully cut out the figures and things as you would paper dolls. If she cut out a manger scene and it didn’t have a star she would cut a star from another card to add to it. Plus she always had the things from the card relate to the person. For example my son was blond and loved his teddy bear so one year she put a little blond boy holding his teddy bear on my son’s package.

      They were so pretty we would usually save them and sometimes reuse them for years. I have several in my Christmas things which are 30 years old or more and reuse them now with my grandkids. Now that is what I call true recycling. :) :)

  7. Kelly says

    My friend cuts up cards she receives, laminates them and uses them as bookmarks. When she as a group of people over, she sets them out for people to take. It would be easy to punch a hole at the top and tie some ribbon or twine to dress it up a bit.

  8. Krista says

    My sister takes the fronts of the really nice cards they receive and has her daughters use the backs for Thank You cards for presents they received.

  9. Maggie says

    I love the idea of using the cards as bookmarks but you could go a little further and use the bookmarks as place cards at dinner. Either put the name on the attached ribbon or on the back. These are then favors that can be taken home.
    I even use the white pieces of paper (card stock) in magazines and just put clear tape on the front and back. They make great bookmarks and you don’t mind if they get lost. With these, you could glue the card design on them and then tape them. Pretty and inexpensive.
    Thanks for the great ideas.

  10. Catherine C. says

    I remember you could send the old cards to a place where disabled vets would recycle them and use for things. Does anyone have information about this? I may look online, but you just tear off the good part and then mail them to a certain location. I will see if I can find out. I would love to have someone use them again.

  11. Michelle says

    I use them as gift tags (carefully cut out the shapes; takes alot of time, but beautiful in the end). I also use them for scrapbooking. I only scrapbook my Christmas photos that I get in the mail from friends/family (scrapbooking is overwhelming to me; so to be able to enjoy the process I choose to just scrapbook this one thing). I enjoy looking back and remembering the cards/pictures that I got that year.

  12. Candace says

    I’ve seen them used to make a Christmas wreath. You cut them out in circles much like your going to laminate them, and layer them except you don’t laminate them but they are all glued together and you just attach as looped ribbon at the top so you can hang it from a door or a nail or a window.

    Depending on how the cards open up, it would work better if it opened up side to side rather than up and down, you could make small notebooks for people, just stitch in some pretty paper to the inside, where the card folds to make them into pretty notebooks.

    One other idea of something that a friend did for me as a wedding gift, is she went to a craft store and found a white box ( you can use any size the one she got for me was the size of a small hat box) and you paint it a color that would go well with the Victorian cards and then you just cut the different pictures and put them all over the box, the lid, and the inside if you like, and add little odds and ends like bits of ribbon and lace, buttons that look old. They make for great keepsake boxes, and if you get small ones they could be used for jewelry boxes.

  13. Linda says

    My mother-n-law had showed me how to do gift boxes out of the card itself. The pretty part was the top and the inside was the bottom of the box. You cut slits up from each corner and depending on how deep you want depends on how far from the corner. Tape or glue then. Then do the same for the bottom and you have a cute box. The card sentiments can be inside bottom box. Signatures can be covered over or left inside depending on who you give to. Very cute as boxes !!

  14. says

    Make place cards for Christmas Dinner or parties throughout the holiday season.

    Decorate mirrors for the season….using removable tape….like a snowman or two…or reindeer…or holly.

  15. Eileen says

    We had saved many over the years. One year we sat down as a family and cut out the shapes in the cards. Then we made “themed” place mats by gluing them to poster board that was already the size of a place mat. We laminated them and bring them out every Christmas. Everyone in the family enjoys this tradition, even though they’re much older and sometimes a bit appalled at the simple themes they used “way back when”.

  16. Paulette Fulmer says

    All the ideas, especially the recipe card one, were wonderful! If you cannot think of anything else to do with the cards, send them to elderly people at a nursing facility or hospital. Some older individuals don’t have families nearby, so they would probably enjoy receiving a card at the holidays. If such a place is close to where you live, you could actually call or drive to the place and get the names of specific men and women who may not have any visitors. Either way, Merry Christmas :=)

  17. Jennifer Getsinger says

    How to make little gift boxes out of Christmas cards. Cut the front from the back. Find the centre point by marking the intersection of diagonals on the back of each piece. Start with the back piece of the card, and fold in the sides right to the centre point, and then the ends. Unfold. Cut the part on the ends that goes to the box fold so that the sides are longer than the ends. Make a box by folding the ends over the folded arms of the long sides. This is much easier shown!
    To make the top of the box, do it very similarly with the patterned front of the card, but fold the sides “almost” to the centre but not quite. This ends up in a lid slightly larger than the base, and it will slide on more easily. If anyone is really confused, let me know, and I’ll make some tomorrow and take a few photos to send along.

  18. Kathy Conto says

    If they are the right size you can take the used part off and use the pretty part as a postcard. Just write your message and address. Cheaper to send.

  19. charmla carpenter says

    I cut the front off and give them to the children for craft time. I have ended up with some amazing crafts! Simple collages from the younger kids and pretty wreaths, ornaments,and gift bags from the older children. We have cut small pieces out and glued onto recycled cans and jars for pretty paper weights for parents, and also cut the pretty part of the card and put into a homemade frame for presents for parents also.

  20. Jeanne T. says

    I love all the ideas presented here! Turning the cards into little boxes would be a great way to give someone a gift of money at Christmas, too.

  21. Dolores Hayney says

    We send stockings with a pillow case and other goodies in it every year to the troops. Our Quilting Guild contacted McDill Air Force Base and have a Commander to work with. We use new Christmas Cards to enclose and sign from our Quilting Guild. I think we should think about used cards next year with one part removed. It would be a good way to recycle. I will bring that up to the Guild at the next meeting. Our boxes of stockings were just picked up this year.

  22. Alecia Wimer says

    Cut the front side of the cards, into 1/2 strips longways. Puch holes in the ends of each strip with a hole punch. Put paper fasteners through a set of strips on each end. Pull apart the strips and a sphere shape will form. Viola–a home made ornament, that you can, I beleieb flatter back out for storage. Add a hook, of course. (Experiment with how many strips make a sphere that you are satisified with. Does this make sense?

  23. Alecia Wimer says

    Also, cut them out and attach to brown lunch sacks, or plain white, nonglossy, gift bags. Give gifts of baked goods in them.

  24. ELEANOR says

    All these ideas are wonderful,i reuse my old cards to make new ones!Simply take an element from the front of the card{like a xmas tree}and decorate with glitter,beads or gems and simply get a card blank,put some backing paper on then stick ur xmas tree on and add a Merry Xmas topper,instant easy card.

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