5 Ways to Reuse Your Holiday Cards

Ways to Reuse Your Holiday Cards
A service member stationed overseas holds a card sent to service members from middle schoolers in California. (U.S. Army/Alon J. Humphrey)

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is receiving cards from friends. I love seeing the new baby added to the family we lived next door to two duty stations ago. The way we've all aged, looking the same yet different. Then there's the occasional card with a picture of the family missing one of the parents due to deployment.

Even though we may not talk often because of busy schedules or time differences, in a weird way I feel like it helps catch up with what has been going on with friends we are so far away from. If our house has a mantle I hang the cards above our stockings as a daily reminder of so many loved ones and friends we are lucky to have.

But no matter what, after the season is over, I try to come up with a creative way to either keep or reuse the cards. These are five of my favorite ways:

1. Holiday Card Book

Creating a holiday card book is my absolute favorite way to keep cards with pictures every year. After we put the tree up and hang the ornaments I like to pull the books out and look through the cards from family and friends who have been in our lives for so long, the friends we pray to be stationed with again, and the friends we've lost touch with along the way. If you have a hole punch this project can be as easy or complicated as you would like. Some years I create a beautiful cover with the year but other years I'm lucky to just keep them together. 

2. Make Wine Glass Charms

When we were stationed at Fort Campbell, the wine club was one of the most popular subgroup of the spouses' club. At each meeting, the host provided wine charms to the attendees along with a great night of snacks, wine tasting and fellowship. You can easily create these charms through Zazzle. If there is a craft club subgroup you could create these at your next meeting.

3. Make Gift Tags

If you are looking for a more traditional way to recycle cards create present tags for next year's gifts. If you have a shape puncher from a craft store these can be done quickly but if not you can draw them by hand or trace them from another tag. I have my kids help me cut them out which provides an activity over Christmas break and then I pack them with the tree and ornaments. I can usually snag a few packages of cards on sale right after Christmas.

4. Create a Jigsaw Puzzle

Are your kids already bored? Cousins, nephews and nieces driving you crazy at Grandma's house? Keep them busy by creating a jigsaw puzzle from holiday cards or have your kids create them for each other. My boys love challenging each other and seeing who can make the best/hardest puzzle. They can make them easy or difficult and come up with different shapes and sizes. Walmart and Shutterfly both have this option online.

5. Donate Them

If crafting isn't your thing or you just can't find the time to do it, consider donating your cards to an organization like St. Jude's. St. Jude's Ranch takes the cards and makes new "green" cards you can purchase on their website. This not only teaches kids entrepreneurship skills but also recycles the cards by reusing the fronts. They accept and sell several categories of cards. You can find the shipping address and more details on their website.

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