What To Do With Your Old Christmas Cards: Creative and Inexpensive Ideas to Reuse and Recycle

Updated: Jan 8

We love receiving Christmas cards from our friends and family; they are a wonderful way to send a little love, joy, thanks and reconnect with people. But, what do you do with all those cards after Christmas?


We've put together our favourite creative, inexpensive and easy eco-friendly ideas on reusing old Christmas cards.


Creative Ideas for Reusing Christmas Cards

Reuse, Recycle or Donate?

There are three main options when it comes to old Xmas cards. You can repurpose and reuse cards to make wonderful new heartfelt and eco-friendly creations - read on below for lots of easy ideas.

Recycling:

Most local authorities widely recycle card so this is pretty easy to do but be sure to check a couple of things. Adornments such as plastic, foam, ribbons or metal items cannot be recycled with the card so be sure to remove these before popping your card in the recycling bin. Cards with glitter on them cannot be recycled - if the glitter is only on the front, you can cut this off and recycled the back of the card. If you have a musical card - be sure to remove the small battery that will be in the card before recycling.

Donating Christmas cards:

Donating Old Christmas Cards

You can donate your old cards to charity. Your cards are reused to create new cards which are sold and the proceeds used for some great causes. One option available to those in the UK is Community Cards whose proceeds support The Welcome Centre in Huddersfield - check out Community Cards for information on how to donate your cards. St Giles Hospice, unfortunately, aren't open for card donations this year due to lockdown restrictions but hopefully, will be in the future.

Reusing Xmas cards

There are so many ways you can reuse and repurpose old Xmas cards - let your imagination run wild. Here are some of our favourites:

Make Christmas Gift Tags:

Choose your favourite parts of the card and cut them out, using a hole punch (or very carefully using a knife), punch a hole into the corner of the design. Pop a ribbon through this and tie a knot so you can easily attach it to presents.


Make Gift Tags From Old Cards
Make Gift Tags From Old Cards

Make Christmas Tree Decorations:

You can buy simple sustainable plain wooden Christmas tree decorations from your local craft stalls. Why not create a unique set of decorations - a great family or kids activity. Cut out your favourite parts of the card or remove and use the embellishments to adorn the ornaments or even spruce up old decorations.

Handmade Upcycled Christmas Decorations
Handmade Upcycled Christmas Decorations

Make a Christmas Gift Box:

Cut out the parts of the cards you like and using a little glue or double-sided tape (you can now get eco-friendly plastic-free double-sided tape now too) stick these all over the outside of a box and lid. You could repurpose an old shoebox or parcel box. Great for wrapping up next year's gifts and eliminating the need for wrapping paper too!

Create a memory box:

Why not choose your favourite or most meaningful cards and store them away in a memory box. Bring the box out each Christmas to look back at all the wonderful cards you have received across the years.

Create a memory advent calendar:

Choose your favourite cards and label from counting down to Christmas eve. Re-open them each year as part of an annual advent tradition. A lovely way to look back at great memories, friendships and messages from loved ones.


Christmas Card Advent Calendar
Keep Your Favourites For A Christmas Card Advent Calendar

Create a Christmas wall art picture:

Gather your favourite cards together to create a montage. You can use the whole front of the cards of just cut out your favourite parts of the cards. Stick these to a piece of backing card (or repurpose another piece of card from a cardboard envelope, parcel etc) and frame. Hang your creations up each year as beautiful homemade Xmas pictures and decorations.

Make new cards:

A great way to use your old cards is to make new cards from them. You can buy plain cards and envelopes and then get creative but using cut-outs from your old cards to create unique, personalised and creative new designs.

Make New Christmas Cards from old ones
Turn Old Cards Into New Handmade Cards

Create a Christmas craft kit for kids:

Cut out your favourite parts of the card or leave this for your kids to do as part of making new cards. Next year in the run-up to Christmas, keep your kids entertained and busy and let their creativity out.


Christmas DIY Craft Kits
Create Craft Kits For The Whole Family

Create a Xmas card album:

Remember when we printed photos and had photo albums? Using a photo album, why not create an album from your favourite cards. A wonderful way to keep the most special cards and look at them together for wonderful memories.

Create Recipe Cards:

Love baking at Christmas? Want to share a recipe? Cut off the front of the card and on the back, write your favourite Christmas recipes. Send these to friends/family in time for next year.

Compost:

You can add a card to compost as a source of brown material. Make sure the card is free from plastic, laminate, metal and plastic - much like recycling. Carry On Composting gives a great tip - if you scrunch the card up in your hand and it stays scrunched it can be composted/recycled. We also recommend checking if possible what ink has been used and are preferably water-based and not going to leach toxins into the soil.


Final Thoughts on Reusing Old Christmas Cards

Let us know if you have tried any of the above ideas and any tips for fellow crafters. We would love to hear other ideas you have to reuse and repurpose your old cards. Please do let us know. #reducereuserecycle #recyclechristmascards #christmascardcrafts #donatechristmascards #wearehoneste