There are few small pleasures I enjoy more than receiving holiday cards from family and friends in the month of December. Each November I clear the side of my fridge in anticipation of a new batch of holiday wishes from loved ones. As the cards come in I display them on the mantel, bureau and side table in the living room, and then in early January I move all my favorite photo cards from their propped-up positions to their magnetic display for the next eleven months. But while I have a deep appreciation for the photos of family members and friends, come January first I experience a sudden and profound allergic reaction to the sight of red and green together as well as the image of any Christmas-related icons like mistletoe, snowmen, jingle bells and especially the visage of Santa himself.
So I get out my trusty scissors and cut away all yuletide trim and holiday hues, and use simple, heavy-duty magnets to create a fridge-side collage of all my favorite faces. Having up-to-date photos of the people who mean the most to me front and center in a space where I spend a lot of time brings me great happiness throughout the year.
But then there’s a pile of pretty designs printed on heavy cardstock trimmed in glitter and gilt just begging to be recycled. Here are some fabulous crafts born of cut-up Christmas cards that will satisfy everyone from kids to the most dedicated crafters.
1. Holiday Card Ornaments Invoke the toasts of Christmases past by creating ornamental balls out of patterned cardstock. All it takes is plenty of same-sized circles, a small piece of cardboard, glue and a little thread.
2. Tiered Paper Trees Create one-of-a-kind Christmas trees by cutting scalloped and clean-edged circles out of holiday cards, then layering them on a simple dowel using nothing more than a foam ball, glue and a few rubber bands. Better Homes and Gardens has a great example of how to create your own tiered paper trees.
3. Tiny Holiday Houses Build a sweet little holiday village with nothing more than photo tape and similarly colored Christmas cards. You can even prop the tiny houses over the tiny bulbs of strand lights to make them look as if they’re illuminated from within.
*Check out this template from Better Homes and Gardens
4. Moravian Star Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Pennsylvania or maybe it’s because I married a guy from Bethlehem, PA, but I’ve always loved the shape of the Moravian star. For this project, just print out the template, fold along the lines and glue the points in place.
5. Recycled Card Wreath This beautiful paper wreath makes use of all your pretty patterned holiday cards, and requires nothing more than a simple stencil, a Styrofoam wreath, glue and toothpicks to make. Try out Good Housekeeping's holly leaf stencil.
6. Upcycled Gift Tags The simplest of all is saved for last. To create custom-made gift tags, you can either glue pieces of your holiday cards onto store-bought tags or you can cut the cards themselves into tags. Punch a hole to accommodate a ribbon and use stickers or hole-punch reinforcers to shore up the punch.
Once your recycled card craft projects are done, store them out of sight until next December when you’ll once again revel in the undeniably fresh look of red and green together as well as those classic icons of mistletoe, snowmen, jingle bells and, perhaps most of all, the jaunty visage of Santa himself.
Happy Upcycling! Happy Mixbooking!