Have leftover Christmas cards? Don’t let them go to waste. Here are four simple Christmas card recycling projects for your used Christmas cards.

Christmas Cards

Every year at this time I love to walk down the road to the mailbox.

Inside the box are well-wishes and stories and pictures and catching up all found in Christmas cards.

I read every one.

And laugh.

And sigh.

And smile.

And wonder what to do with the card after I finish reading it?

Christmas cards letter banner

Are you with me?

I add the card to a basket full of cards on a table for this Christmas season.

But then what?

Throw them away?

Toss them?

Make scrapbooks?

This year I tried something different, I recycled them into four simple projects.  No stress-projects.  Take an afternoon without any fancy tools, just a pair of scissors and tape and a little imagination and simply create.

And here’s the four projects I made.

Merry banner

1.  Merry Banner

This banner could actually say joy or peace or noel.

To make it I simply used a ruler and traced letters onto the Christmas card.

Then I cut them out and clipped them to a ribbon with clothespins and hung them on a basket.

Christmas cards letter

The letters are different sizes (so much easier and less measuring).

They are just the size of the card.

And no curves, only straight lines for easier tracing.

You could also punch a hole in the edge and hang them with jute twine.

Christmas card recycling project

2.  Holly jolly house

This house was made from two different cards.

For the base I cut out a strip of card and folded it with two short sides and two long sides and taped.

Cards are perfect for this project because they are much stiffer than regular scrapbook paper.

Christmas card projects jolly house

Then I cut out a square for the roof and folded it in half and taped it to the top of the base.

I cut out four tiny rectangles for the chimney and notched two of them to fit over the roof.

I taped them all together and added a puff of “smoke” made from cotton batting.

Christmas card tags

3.  Candy cane tags

This was the easiest project of all.

To make these tags, I used the back of cards.

There’s the cutest little PS on the back of some of the cards that makes the cutest tag.

Christmas card project tags

You could use a tag cutter or paper cutter or you could go all old school with a pair of scissors.

Simply cut a rectangle out of the card with your design in the center.

Clip the corners off of one end to make the tag, punch a hole and add a ribbon.

Christmas card box

4.  Joy gift card box

I made this tiny box out of one card.

The front made the top and the back made the bottom.

Wouldn’t it be so cute for a gift card present?

Christmas card Joy box

Making the box is so much easier than it looks.

I simply cut out two notches on each side and folded the ends under and taped.

Then I repeated the same steps for the bottom of the box.

I kind of forgot how much fun it is to spend an afternoon with Christmas carols and a little creativity.

Do you have a fun project you’ve done with Christmas cards?

I’m off to check the mailbox for more supplies. 🙂

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  1. Image for Patricia Patricia

    Uhhhhh, could you actually SHOW the steps involved? Well, I can figure out the gift tag craft without visuals but I need help on the rest. One other thought, hole punching the cards and hanging them on the tree ...

  2. Image for Doreen Doreen

    Thank you for a great idea. Love the little house and "smoke"! Have to get right to this and dress up my packages. Merry Christmas Doreen

  3. Image for Patricia Patricia

    And the letters out of cards, got that figured out too. It's just when you get all three dimensional on me... HELP!

  4. Image for Nancy @ slightly Coastal Nancy @ slightly Coastal

    Such cute ideas. I love the banner. My grandmother used to cut the cards into squares and then crochet them together to make bowls to hold nuts. At my former school, we would donate all of our Christmas Cards to the moderately disabled classroom at the high school and the students would spend the fall cutting the cards apart and glue them onto green and red construction paper to make 'new cards" and the community would buy them from them. This would fund their community outings for the rest of the year. I'm thinking I could make bowls like my grandmother did but hole punch them and use ribbon to "crochet" them together.

  5. Image for Suzanne Suzanne

    I've gotta say....I love you. Okay, this blog. I look forward to your posts, and read every one of them. They are short, funny, engaging and creative. Thanks for all the great ideas! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  6. Image for Debbie Esparza Debbie Esparza

    You are so wise! Thank you for the great ideas! I must agree with Suzanne, your blog is simply the best, and always puts a smile in my heart. I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!

  7. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I keep cards from year to year and when I do finally toss them out, it breaks my heart. I love your ideas for reusing them. I especially like the letters -- they made me smile. I think a banner made out of the cards is an excellent idea. Thank you!! You rock!!

  8. Image for dawn@joyfulscribblings dawn@joyfulscribblings

    Pure genius! I love all of these ideas. I used some of mine to decorate my simple wrapping paper this year. I've also used them for gift tags. I used to scrapbook all of my Christmas cards with photos, but the past few years I've kept it simple and punched a hole in the top and put them on a metal ring. This post makes me want to start crafting again! Have a wonderful Christmas Karianne!

  9. Image for Winnie Winnie

    I have learned to continue this through the year, making mostly gift tags that turn out to be appropriate for Birthday gifts and wedding gifts and such!! Who knew?!?! Happy Christmas to ALL!!

  10. Image for CG in AZ CG in AZ

    Hello KariAnne. My ex-father-in-law had a signature gift wrap. He was an engineer so he had blue prints he would use to wrap packages. Then he took greeting cards he'd saved from prior years, cut off the fronts and taped that to the gift. He wrote the recipients name on that. It was beautiful and elegant and his signature blue package was usually holding tins of salmon that he had caught and had canned for us. Unique gifts from a unique individual.

  11. Image for Betsy Betsy

    Just be grateful I'm not your neighbor! I'd be banging on your kitchen door saying "Karianne, what can I do with this old washboard"? " How about this old scrap of wood"? xoxoxox

  12. Image for Lanita Anderson Lanita Anderson

    Great ideas....thanks for sharing! I've made similar gift tags before, but I use the front of the cards and cut out the scenes from the cards. This year, I gave a Christmas snack mix to our SS Class in Mason jars and I cut out circles from Christmas cards to put in the top/lid of the jars to make them more "festive". They turned out so cute and I had lots of good feedback about them! I love your "Merry" banner....that's a really great idea! I even have letter stencils that I can use to trace them.... That would also be a good idea for adding an initial to a gift you are giving - either the person's first or last name initial. Thanks again for the ideas...Merry Christmas!

  13. Image for Alice hanson Alice hanson

    Another brilliant KariAnne moment! Love all the ideas! I would love to be your neighbor too! We could do road trips to Magnolia in Waco and any spot in between. Have the Merriest of Christmas with your family and your church family! You are truly a jewel! Smiles, alice

  14. Image for Sue Sue

    Great ideas, KariAnne. I especially like the MERRY on pegs (as we call 'em here!). Funnily enough, I posted only today about framing Christmas cards to create temporary festive artwork. I've also been cutting festive shapes out of old cards on the Cricut to make card toppers for this year's Christmas cards. Gotta love a bit of recycling! ;-)

  15. Image for Gail Gail

    How about Decoupage? I love doing that with cards. Looks great on an old piece of wood.. I went to Gatlinburg this week, Dollywood.. The lights were out of this world.. How do I send you pictures?

  16. Image for Jennifer Jennifer

    My precious friend, Jean, shared with me years ago that she kept Christmas cards in a basket on her table. Each evening as her family would gather for dinner, they would remove the top card from the basket and pray for the ones who had sent the card. The card would then go to the bottom of the stack and they would repeat this process each day through the year. This sweet friend is now in heaven after a brave fight against breast cancer.

  17. Image for Mindy Whipple Mindy Whipple

    Such fun ideas - I especially love the letters. A great way to recycle and still preserve a bit of the original memory! Now if I could find a way to recycle the lovely handmade cards a friend sends. I just can't bear to throw them out...

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