What To Do With Old Holiday Cards

posted by Andrea | 11/17/2014

Every year for the past several years, I’ve shared our holiday card here on my blog (see them all in this post). I love sending out holiday cards, I love thinking about what type of card we’ll send, what picture(s) we’ll use, what message we will include, and what time of year we’ll send it out.

Last year, we sent out a Thanksgiving card. This year, we’re tentatively planning on a New Year’s card — but I haven’t officially ordered or made anything yet.

As much as I love sending out cards, I also really love receiving cards, pictures, and notes from friends and family — especially because many of them live across the country.

We proudly display all our cards and photos on our “picture post” in the kitchen until the end of January.

But then what?

While I love looking at all the pictures and cards on our “picture post” I certainly don’t want them there year round — and there’s just NO WAY I’m willing to save years and years of Christmas cards from family and friends.

I usually let Nora color on the actual cards and then play with some of the picture cards (she pretends like she’s making a photo album or other craft project). Sometimes I’ll scan a few of our immediate family’s picture cards to use in our digital photo albums, but definitely not all of the cards.

After another week or so… they are all trashed. 


Last year, my overly-sentimental, overly-emotional (and not at all like her mother) Nora was practically devastated when I tossed “her beautiful pictures”. She sobbed and even tried to take them out of the trash when I wasn’t looking.

I explained that Christmas was over and we had already put all the decorations away so it was time to put the cards away too. She ended up coming to terms with the trashed cards when I assured her we would get more the next year (please everyone, send us a card!)

I’m sure I’ll face a similar fight this coming January, but for me, it just doesn’t pay to save piles of holiday cards that I won’t ever look at again anyway. It’s just extra stuff to store, extra clutter to clean around, and extra junk for Nora to stash in one of her many bags upstairs!

I’m often asked if I have any creative ways to re-use holiday cards — and besides cutting the fronts off traditional cards to reuse them later, or letting your kids color on them, I’ve got nothing.

And since the majority of the Christmas cards we receive are photo cards, I can’t really think of any way to reuse those.

So I’d love to know if you have any simple ways to reuse holiday cards.

Of course, there’s no shame if you just trash them like me!


Filed under: OrganizingFamilyHomeHolidays

Leave a comment


  1. Linda


    Love the prayer card idea! I’ve used them for name tags. I’m with Nora all the way! Lol


  2. Debbie


    Funny how I was just talking to my mom about this subject yesterday. She saves all her cards and I was doing the same thing until last year and started throwing away very old ones I’ve collected. I only collected the ones that were meaningful but after a few years it ends up quite a lot too. So after I purged the ones I didn’t want anymore I kept the remaining and put it with my gift wrapping supplies. I’m now cutting the front of old Christmas cards and gluing them on the front of the wrapped presents as additional embellishment. I wrap all presents in manila paper and just use decorative ribbons and other embellishments to jazz it up. I also cut the faces from the picture postcard greetings and glue it on the presents to tell whose gift it is. It turned out pretty cool because the recipient will see their own picture on the present, and reminds them of their own card from last year.


  3. Elvie


    Hi Andrea,

    I do crafts with the cards that I like and are not photos. Along time ago I was watching the Martha Stewart show and she had a segment on how-to-do paper ornaments and I thought I could do this with my Christmas cards that I don’t want to throw a way.

    Look at the link I send you its similar to the one I saw several years ago.http://www.marthastewart.com/267019/click-and-print-ornaments

    You could also do a year to year photo book on the photo Christmas cards. I hope this helps!!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Elvie — this is a great idea!


  4. jayshreebhagat


    the picture post idea in kitchen is so good!


  5. JJ


    A friend posted on Facebook, and I’m stealing her idea this year. I’m going to use all the picture cards as prayer cards. My version: Each day my kids can each pick one card, and we’ll pray for them. Once a card is picked, it will go into a “prayed for” pile. Once we’ve prayed using all the cards, we’ll start again. We’ll keep doing that for the year. Once next year comes, I’ll throw them away and start with the new ones. It encourages fine motor skills, social awareness, and will also make them familiar with family and friends we don’t often see. You can do so much with them. Have them make up a story using the people in a picture. Ask them colors of clothes, etc. The sky is the limit. They are free learning cards! Can you tell I used to teach in the classroom?


  6. Joyce Hudspeth


    I have used the front of Christmas cards to decorate my Christmas gifts. Stick glue works great to adhere to the wrapped gift. The cards really do enhance the package.


  7. Ellen


    I was just going to read all the ideas but I felt like I might give someone else ideas as well, so here’s what I do with cards:

    First, when i get them, I put christmas cards somewhere together (most often on a line of some kind) and all other cards on the fridge.

    After a while I sort the cards:
    – Ugly/not-my-style cards (no offense to those who send them) are thrown away.
    – Cards and letters from special people (mostly my grandmothers) are saved in a box. (Sorted by sender or season – grandma 1, grandma 2, christmas, easter, birthday…) I also save the cards I find to beautiful to throw away, but only one or two cards every year.
    – Beautiful cards – cut up to make tags or new cards


    Andrea Reply:

    Love these ideas Ellen!


    Marci Reply:

    I love the cut up and make tags.. thats a great idea I never thought of!