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12 Ways to recycle Christmas cards

Nina Spitzer is a SheKnows.com columnist and a freelance writer living in sunny Cave Creek, Arizona.

Recycle your greeting cards

Christmas cards keep getting more beautiful and more expensive! Throwing them away after a holiday seems so wasteful. So, why not save them? There are so many fun, creative ways to recycle those beautiful greeting cards.

christmas card gift tag

I started recycling Christmas cards years ago -- at first because some were so beautiful or cute that I couldn't part with them. I began finding lots of different ways to recycle greeting cards and enjoy them a bit longer. I'd be happy to share some of these ideas with you.

1. Gift tag

Carefully cut out the cutest part of the Christmas card into a shape that works well with the design. Check to be sure there's no writing on the back. The gift tag can be taped onto the package or can dangle loosely by a piece of ribbon.

2. Dinner place cards

Folding white or colored index cards in half works well as table placards. Decorate the corner of each with an attractive design cut out from a recycled greeting card. Add each person's name to the place cards in your best handwriting.

3. Puppets

Kids can cut out cute greeting card characters and glue them to the end of Popsicle sticks for cute mini-puppets. A shoebox can be decorated with greeting card scraps for a great puppet show stage.

4. Bookmarks

Cut a large index card in half lengthwise and round off the corners. Glue your greeting card cutout to the top end, extending a little bit over the edge. If you like, you can add your favorite saying, poem, or Bible verse to the rest of the bookmark. Laminating the bookmark will help it last longer.

5. Diorama

Kids are frequently making shoebox dioramas for school project or just for fun. Greeting card cutouts are perfect for both scenery background and characters in the diorama.

6. Collage

Arrange greeting card cutouts into a variety of configurations for a colorful and creative collage.

7. Christmas ornaments

Save the colorful circular plastic spools often used for rolls of ribbon. Trace each circle onto your favorite Christmas card, centering the design inside the spool. Cut out the design circle and glue it to the back of the spool. You can add yarn, glitter, and other embellishments. Add hooks for a creative Christmas ornament.

8. Place mat

Use two large sheets of colored construction paper, either of the same or different colors. Round off the corners and place a dab of glue in each to hold the sheets together. Decorate the front with cut out Christmas card designs and words, if you like. Laminate the place mat or use clear contact paper, making certain the waterproof lamination extends at least 1/4-inch past the edge of each end.

9. Framed photo art

Before framing a photograph under glass, add a decorative greeting card cutout in one of the corners to add a cheerful touch to the presentation.

10. Scrapbooking

Christmas card cutouts add creative, inexpensive design to your scrapbooking.

11. Love notes

Scribble a little love note on the back of a cute greeting card cut out to sweeten up your Honey's lunch.

12. Brand new Christmas card

Fold a nice piece of colorful paper in half to create a handmade greeting card. Use a combination of greeting card cutouts and your own artwork to create an artistic greeting card. Add your own handwritten or computer printed message.

See how easy it can be! The number of ways to recycle Christmas cards and other greeting cards is endless. Just pull out a pair of scissors, snip-snip-snip, and let your imagination go wild.

Photo credit: Nina Spitzer

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