Reusing Holiday Cards and Paper

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For a church activity this week I was asked to teach how to use old Christmas cards to make a fan... but I I didn't love it, so I googled for other recycling ideas of old Christmas cards and compiled a great list that I would like to share with everyone, because recycling and reusing items is both frugal and a great way to beautify your home for free or cheap!

The activity I will be teaching the women tonight is how to make a gift box out of an old card,though modifying the directions a little bit.  I chose this one to teach because it doesn't take long to teach (since it's not the only activity of the night) and I think it's a really easy and a good use of old cards.  I figure little gift boxes could be used to do advent gifts/boxes for next year.  Or, for a gift, especially as a stocking stuffer!  The best part is that you can make the box shallower or deeper to fit whatever gift you have in mind to give.  Plus, it's super cute to already have Christmas images on the front and back of the box.  No wrapping necessary. Here's the one I made:

I turned this Christmas Card into a gift box
I love that the Christmas card gift boxes don't need wrapping and already have cute messages too!
Even the back of the Christmas card gift box is cute!

 

Anyways, here's the list I compiled of things to do with used Christmas cards.  I used various sources and cited tutorials for projects that need more than a brief explanation.  Google for more ideas if needed.  My favorite ones were pretty much all of the ones from the better homes and garden website, especially the Christmas card tree!  So cute!

Ways of Reusing and Recycling Old Christmas Cards:

Simple reuses:
1.       Cut off the back of the card and paste in a blank card and reuse it and resend it.
2.       Cut off the back of the card and use the front as a postcard, but make sure it fits postcard regulation size or between 3 1/2 inches and 4 1/4 inches in height (measured vertically, perpendicular to address) and must be between 5 and 6 inches in width (measured horizontally, parallel to address). Postcard size mail must have an Aspect Ratio between 1.3 and 2.5. To find aspect ratio, divide width by height.
3.       Donate them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children or other local charities.
4.       Cut and create gift tags from the cards.  Here’s one example of what you can do:
5.       Cut up the fronts of cards and create a puzzle.
6.      Create a bookmark.  Laminate to have it last longer.
7.       Cut out images and sayings and put them between contact paper or laminate them to create placemats.
8.       Scrapbook or make a collage out of your favorite images and messages.
9.      Cut a small strip to make unique napkin rings.
10.   Cut out images and glue them onto Popsicle sticks or straws and put them in a vase to have Holiday puppets.  A great craft for your kids.
11.   Frame your favorite cards to create art for your home.
12.   Create a fan from your card to adorn your Christmas tree or a present.  Example here:
13.   Cut to the size of an index card and write your favorite new Holiday recipe on the back.
 
Crafty reuses:
1.  Christmas Card Ornaments.  Find various patterns and tutorials here: http://www.junkmailgems.com/DIY_Ornament.html 
2.       Make a Crocheted Greeting Card Bowls and other crocheted crafts.  Find tutorials here:
3.      Gift Boxes.  Find tutorials here:
4.       Get really creative and make a Mini Christmas Card Village.  Find the tutorial here:
5.      Create a Christmas Card Tree with a dowel rod and foam core base.  Tutorial here:
6.       Christmas Card Blocks that spell JOY or something else.  Very popular right now:
7.       Christmas Card Banner or Garland
8.       Stitch four cards together to create candle luminaries.
http://zakkalife.blogspot.com/2007/12/christmas-card-luminaries.htmlAs I was thinking about all the cool ways to recycle old cards, I started to think about the other big holiday waste - wrapping paper.  I pretty much always save gift bags and tissue paper that I receive with my gifts for various occasions (because they'll come in handy to re-gift someday and therefore save me the what I think is outrageous amount of money for a floppy bag and super thin tissue paper), but I never do anything with the leftover wrapping paper from the holidays, even though my husband is a fastidious gift opener (something that drives me nuts!  Just open it already!).  So, I thought it would also be a great idea to look up ideas of recycling old wrapping paper pieces.  While most of the ideas aren't as awesome, they may be if you have older kids perhaps.  My favorite ones are making bows and ornaments. 
 
Ways of Reusing and Recycling Wrapping Paper:
1.       Use for paper mache projects.
2.       Use in your scrapbook.
3.       Cut paper doll clothes out of it.
4.      Create a Holiday Wreath with left over scraps and a coat hanger.
5.       Shred and use as filling in a future present.
6.       Cut into uniform sized piece and use the back as scrap paper.
7.       Use as matting or frames for artwork or photos.
8.       Use it to cover textbooks, notebooks, or journals.
9.       Cut it into squares and use it to practice origami.
10.   Laminate to create placemats or coasters.
11.   Use as a bookmark.  Glue onto cardstock or laminate.
12.   Decorate jars or containers to organize office supplies and storage.
13.   Weave the wrapping paper together to make fun bowls:
14.   Create Wrapping Paper Ornaments.
15.   Create your own gift bows.
 
What have you done to reuse and recycle holiday goods?  Did you like any of the ideas I shared?  Which ones are your favorites?  Did you even do one of them?!  I would love to hear about it!

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