I believe the reason for that is because these cards, like all greeting cards, really represent more about the special relationships we have with our friends and family than the cards, themselves, would seem to otherwise indicate.
That doesn't negate the fact, however, that after Christmas is over we often have a huge stack of cards laying around on counters, or covering the refrigerator, and they really become clutter instead of something to enjoy anymore.
Therefore, here's my advice for what to do with them after the season is over, plus additional suggestions and ideas from readers.
Things To Do With Your Cards Before Getting Rid Of Them In Some Fashion
Before you declutter, up cycle or donate your cards make sure you look at each person's contact information that came with the card to make sure you've got their most current address.
Make sure to update the contact information you find in Christmas letters, return address stickers, etc. so that you have the most current information for your friends and family whenever you need it.
Next, lots of cards these days are photo cards. If you don't know anyone in the photo you really need to feel OK with tossing it.
On the other hand, if it's relatives or good friends these photo cards are a great way to keep treasured memories. Instead of throwing these away I suggest saving them with your other photos.
You may also want to place in a scrapbook any Christmas letters you receive (if you actually know those people well, and want to save it. However, if you have no idea who the people they're referencing are now, TOSS IT!)
After you cull out these few special cards or items what you have left are mainly stock cards with a signature, at most, from someone. These are not something you need to hang onto indefinitely.
So what are your choices for what to do with these used Christmas cards? The choices include:
Option 1: Declutter Them
Throwing them away could include trashing them or recycling them if that is an option. (It depends on what materials the card is made typically.)
Option 2: Upcycle Or Repurpose Them
We'll talk about this more below where some readers have shared ideas of what they do with old Christmas cards, which can have very cute or pretty pictures on them.
Basically, this is a craft option. It might not be the best option for you if you don't actually take the time to make the paper crafts suggested, because then you're just left with craft clutter instead of holiday clutter.
Option 3: Donate Them
If the idea of throwing them out just really bothers you, but you know realistically you are not going to get all crafty with these cards this may be your best option.
Transformed Christmas Card Clutter Into Scrapbook Of Memories
by HSS101 Reader
Okay... I did this a few years ago.
But, I put them into one of those giant popcorn tins that seem to get gifted at Christmas.
Then, one year, when I was bored, I took them out.
So many families share their stories and a family photo. Well, I made a scrapbook. It was a blast.
I did it by family, not year. Collaged the photos, sometimes cut out a stamp or address on their envelopes. That sort of thing.
It really made each family collage personal, and the cards more fun to look at.
I was able to put a decade into one scrapbook by adding pages. I figure one decade is enough.
Some friends had passed away. Other families moved, and I noted the address changes...etc.... AND it's all in one book that I can get out once a year and reflect on the blessings of the love and friendships that have been in my life.
A Similar Scrapbook Idea From Another Reader
This HSS101 Reader said, "my family bought a red and green scrapbook and we put all the pictures that we get (cards) and put the year on the page. It is fun to look back and see how much kids have changed, etc."
Ideas For Upcycling Or Repurposing Used Christmas Cards From Readers
This isn't a craft blog, but I am aware that lots of people love to use old Christmas cards for paper crafts because of the pretty pictures many of them have on there.
Here's some ideas from readers, plus others I've encountered recently. (Hint: You'll find all kinds of gorgeous ideas for using these cards in a crafty way on places like Pinterest. Just do a search and be amazed!)
Make Gift Tags:
Karen says: Something I picked up from my mother when we take down the Christmas cards is that we cut out the pictures and words from them with decorative scissors to make gift tags for the coming Christmas.
Then we use an empty card box to store them with the spare wrapping paper.
Not only is this saving money but also recycling the cards.
The scrap bits of card are put into the cardboard recycling bin.
Many other readers have shared a similar idea. This is perhaps the most popular way to recycle these cards.
Another reader said, for example: I save the front of the cards and reuse next year as gift tags. I live to match the card with the wrapping paper. No ribbon necessary!
Make Into Next Year's Christmas Time Planner:
Kris Deters says: I pick the prettiest ones and use as a cover for my next year's Christmas time planning.
Add a few sheets of paper, tie or bind with a ribbon and add some fun stickers. Keep your Christmas lists, events, meal plans tucked in your bag when the holiday season comes back around.
Ang says: Sometimes I cut them out and make ornaments.
Make A Prayer Book:
Joyce says: We made a prayer book out of the photo cards this year. The family loves to look through it and remember fun memories we have made with our friends and family.
Create To Do List, Shopping & Errands Lists:
Roberta says: I usually cut the front off the back if there is no writing on it, and I use any 1/2 of the card that is blank for a to-do list, grocery list etc. They are sturdy.
Nikki says: I've not done this with Christmas cards, but with cards and tags after my first baby I cut out my favorite pictures and notes, glued them on construction paper and then covered that with contact paper to make placemats. My son (now 13) is embarrassed if I put them on the table, but I like them. Having casual Christmas placemats would be fun to have.
Barbara says: We save the cards, slice the pictures into bookmarks, add ribbon!
We drop them off at our Christian school for the library to distribute in the month of December! It is an advent activity for us, joy for others!
You can make a fun box or container for the media center desk so the ribbons are waving for the give away!!
Other Cool Ideas
Make Christmas labels, or even paste onto plain brown bags to make pretty homemade gift bags.
The sky is really the limit for what you can do, craft wise. Just think long and hard before you save them all because if you never do the craft it is still just clutter!
So what do you do with your used holiday cards? I'd love to hear from you with your ideas (and your pictures if you've got them) and I'll add them to this page. You can share your ideas here.