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10 Ways to Use

Last Year’s


In a few weeks the holidays will be over. The tree and the decorations will be coming back down. And you (and I ) will have a lovely stack of holiday cards to figure out what to do with.

It seems rude to toss them in the trash-and some of the photo cards are definitely worth holidng on to. But what are you supposed to DO with them? Holding on to a large pile of old cards that never sees the light of day again seems silly. (Although we both know we have some tucked away in a box somewhere!)

Well, here are some suggestions to save the day! And the cards! (Wink.)

1.Take a picture!

The simplest and most useful way to take advantage of a photo card is to snap a picture of the card with your cell phone. Then assign that photo as the family’s contact photo in your phone. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!

2. Cut up the photo cards.

Another great way to use the lovely family photos that come each year is to cut your favorite photos from the cards. Then place them in ornament photo frames (like these) to use on your tree next year!

This is a great way to use the ornament frames with the year displayed.  It easily keeps track of when the photos were taken. And  those dated ornament frames are always on sale after Xmas!

3. Start a holiday frame collection.

If the cards or photos are too big to use in ornament style frames, you can also create a  photo collection to display at Christmastime in reular holiday picture frames (like these). (Also on sale after Christmas!) This collection could be updated each year with the newest holiday cards.

4. Create a coffee table card book.

If you don’t have the space for a whole picture frame collection, how about a flat version?!

You can purchase a ready made card keeper book like this lovely one, or create your own with a holepunch and bookrings.  Tie some fun holiday ribbon around the bookring to add a festive air.

Use this as a coffee table display; each year you can add the new year’s cards.

5. Design a holiday banner.

Even if you aren’t terribly crafty, a Christmas card banner is simple. Just print out one of these free banner templates and use it as a pattern to cut out your cards.

When you have the number of penants you want to use, punch holes in the corners and run a ribbon or string through to hang.

A holiday banner can be made out of photo cards or as a great use for those pretty cards that don’t hold as much sentimental value.

This makes a simple and festive craft to hang in a window next year!

6. Make a Christmas tree garland.

This idea is simliar to the banner above in #5, but instead of pennant templates, you use a circle template! Cut circles out of your cards of the same or of varying sizes, depending on your preference. Then hold punch them and string onto a ribbon.

Voilá! A pretty decoration for your Christmas tree next year!

If you are a real planner, collect the cards from a dear friend and make her a garland (or banner) as a gift, including photos of her family through the years.

7. Cut a pretty tag!

Print out (or trace) a 2×2″ square template. Cut the prettiest part of each card into squares.

If needed, cut additional squares out of white paper or cardstock to paste to the back of each decorative square.

Punch a hole in one corner and you have a upcycled gift tag to use next year on wrapped gifts, food, wine and more.

8. Create a Christmas ornament.

If this idea tickles your fancy, you can find many, many ideas online or on Pinterest. The beauty of it is an upcycled Christmas card ornament can be as simple or complex as you want it to be! And this is a great way to save some of those special signatures.

Here are a few to get you started…

A simple star.

A geometric ball.

A stitched circle or pyramid.

9. Make holiday bookmarks.

As a fun little gift idea, create a holiday bookmark from your old cards. A good bookmark size (per an avid reader) is approximately 2-2.5″ wide and 7-8″ long.

You can simply cut a rectangle from an old card, punch a hole and tie a tassel or bow to the top for a simple version. For the slightly more ambitious crafter, cut a template out of cardstock. Create a card collage by pasting down pieces from your favorite cards in a pleasing arrangement. Add some glitter for an extra bit of zhuzh!

If you want a bookmark that will stand the test of time, I recommend taking them to an office supply or mailbox store and having them laminated (prior to adding tassels or bows). Several bookmarks can be laminated on the same sheet and the cost is nominal.

10. Save the card fronts to use as embellishments.

Cut the fronts from the prettiest cards. Save them to use next year in place of ribbons and bows. You can wrap a gift with paper, then tape the card down on top as a package embelishment, old-school style! (My mom used to do this when I was growing up.) Saves money on ribbon AND gift tags, as you can write the recipient directly on the card front!

Holiday cards… upcycled!!

I know we all love getting all those beautiful cards each year from our loved ones. Now we can go pull out the old cards secretly tucked away in that box under the bed, add them to this year’s pile…and finally do something with them! 

Upcycling doesn’t have to be complicated and overwhelming. Snag some sissors and the next time you are sitting in front of the tv, grab a stack of cards and start snipping away! Can’t wait to see what you make!


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