Are your halls still decked with greeting cards from your friends and family? Are they taken down, but sitting in a pile because you just don’t know quite what to do with them? For a lot of us, the greeting cards we receive during the holidays are just too pretty to toss, and you know that a lot of effort and energy went into making them. It’s a pity that they only get a short time to shine. To top it off, at least 50 percent have pictures of friends and their kids. You just can’t throw away a picture!
Luckily, I have found a few reuse solutions for you that are easy with little to no clutter. Plus, they will save you money for next year. Have I got your attention? Great!
First take them down and separate them into two piles; pictures and not pictures.
For years I hung onto picture cards in no rational manner until I decided to make an album of JUST picture cards. You can’t just use any photo album; you need to find one with “magnetic” pages, usually found at craft stores or on Amazon. The pages are slightly sticky and have no partitions for standard photo sizes, which makes them perfect for the variety of sizes picture cards come in. The year I started the album I sorted by family, but ever since I just add them each year as they fit onto a page. I also put in one of my picture cards to mark the year and because I like to see the cuties I made, too. I love looking back at how families grow over the years.
This homemade photo album is also a great place for any birth announcements or other pictures you are sent over the year. My kids love to look at friends and family at different ages, and it’s the go-to book when I need to show them Great Aunt Pam or second cousin Gina.
Hit the holiday clearance and get a pretty card-sized box. Same theory as before—just put all the pictures in the box and put the box in with your other decorations. Next year, set the box on an end table and shuffle through them, enjoying them all once again. Add a new batch each year. It may not be as handy year-round, but it keeps them all in one place and will take you about three seconds to complete.
Scrapbook it! I’m not a scrapbooker (although I covet the bits and bobs), but a scrapbook of each year’s cards might be a good project. There are just so many awesome holiday themed papers.
This is a longer term payoff because you won’t actually use them until next Christmas. They don’t take up much room, so stick a paper clip on them and put them with your Christmas wrapping paper. If you didn’t get many cards this year (or already tossed them), you can always score a box or two of a design you love on clearance and tuck it away.
Fast forward to next December—take the stack out and use scissors to make tags from the pretty parts of the cards. No more sticky tags, no more writing on the paper with sharpie or cutting wee slips of paper (unless you really like that). Make the tag into the decoration! This saves you money on buying yet another thing to be tossed. Plus, it saves you on fancy bows, as the cards are pretty enough to stand alone or with simple curling ribbon.
Cut off the half of the card that has writing on it. Write “To” and “From” on the blank back side and tape it to the present. Rectangular, but card designers know what they’re doing. The whole picture is…well, pretty as a picture!
Cut out an element of the card. You don’t have to be limited to the central picture either; you can make a very pretty tag from some of the side elements. Even the high-quality cardstock is a step up from most gift tags. This also means you can make more tags per card depending on how you slice it.
Use the card as a base to add embellishments. The tag could nearly be a gift.
Photos by Kate Luthner
If you find the “perfect” tag for someone, try and save it from the clean-up crew and use it again next year. Seeing that owl tag year after year will tell that special someone the gift is for them.
Once I had an easy solution to the card problem I felt better. All cards are sent because someone cared enough to send it. I feel great neatly and simply honoring the picture cards people agonize over and recycling the pretty cards into centerpieces of my gift-wrap next year. I hope some of these solutions inspire you, too.
Kate Luthner is a mother of three little girls. Transplanted from New York to Minnesota, Kate began to blog about life to keep up with her family at home. Her blog, Katy Stuff is updated most every day with posts ranging from DIY projects to updates on her children, as well as an occasional book review or opinion piece about world news. Kate’s philosophy? If you can make it, don’t buy it!