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Recycling Christmas Cards

As the holiday season fades away, we’re often left with a beautiful collection of Christmas cards that adorned our homes with festive cheer. While the thoughtful greetings and smiling faces tucked inside these decorative envelopes spark warm nostalgia, the fate of most cards sadly ends stuffed in a drawer or—even worse—the trash bin. However, with a little creativity, you can honor cherished paper mementos from Christmases past. There are many ways for recycling Christmas cards by repurposing them into handmade crafts and gifts for years of enjoyment. 

Bookshelf lined with various Christmas cards

The Importance of Recycling Christmas Cards 

  • Reducing Holiday Waste- The holiday season often generates a significant amount of waste. By recycling Christmas cards, you contribute to the reduction of holiday-related waste and make a positive environmental impact.
  • Embracing Sustainable Practices- Embracing sustainable practices during the holidays aligns with the spirit of giving and gratitude. Reusing Christmas cards demonstrates a commitment to mindful consumption and a love for the planet.
  • Preserving Sentimental Value- Many Christmas cards carry heartfelt messages and memories. Recycling them in creative ways allows you to preserve the sentimental value while incorporating them into your daily life.

Donating or Repurposing Cards for a Cause

  • Donate to Schools or Craft Programs- Consider donating your extra Christmas cards to local schools or craft programs. Teachers often use them for art projects and your donation can inspire creativity in the next generation.
  • Support Charitable Organizations- Some organizations collect used cards to repurpose them into new cards or sell them as part of fundraising efforts. Research and find charities that accept recycled Christmas cards to support a cause while minimizing waste.
  • Collaborate with Local Artists- Connect with local artists who may be interested in repurposing Christmas cards into new artistic creations. This collaboration not only supports local talent but also breathes new life into your holiday cards.
Girl holding Christmas card in front of face.

Creating a Christmas Card Keepsake 

  • Gather Your Cards- Collect all the Christmas cards you’ve received, sorting them by size and design. This step helps you plan how you’ll arrange them in your keepsake.
  • Punch Holes and Bind with a Ring- Use a hole punch to create a hole in the corner of each card. Once all cards have holes, thread them onto a large ring, creating a decorative and easily accessible keepsake. This can serve as a beautiful coffee table book or a festive addition to your bookshelf.
  • Arrange by Themes or Years- Consider arranging your cards by themes or years. This arrangement adds a narrative element to your keepsake, allowing you to revisit specific holiday memories and see how your circle of loved ones has evolved over time.

More Ideas For Recycling Christmas Cards

With a little creativity and holiday spirit, you can repurpose your holiday cards into a variety of keepsakes, crafts, and gifts for future holidays and joy.


  • Album- Arrange select Christmas cards chronologically and permanently adhere card fronts onto thick patterned scrapbook paper cut to fit a photo safe album. Add acid-free inserts between decorated pages to write year labels or journal cherished memories from that holiday season.
  • Advent Calendar- Glue twenty-five card fronts onto cardboard backing then cut slits to insert mini treats or gifts behind each numbered door for a nostalgic advent calendar.  
  • Memory Jar- Cut cards into strips with heartfelt messages or quotes. Place the strips in a decorative jar. Throughout the year, revisit the jar for uplifting sentiments and memories.
  • Mini Gift Boxes- Cut cards into small squares or rectangles. Fold the cut-out cards into tiny boxes. Use these boxes for small trinkets or as decorative elements on gift packages.
  • Place cards- Dress up your holiday table with one-of-a-kind place cards. Cut a scene or character from a card and glue to the front of a piece of paper folded in half. Have the kids write the name of whoever is to be seated at that spot.
  • Placemats- Place a few cards together to create a rectangle. Seal with clear contact paper or slide into a clear page protector.
  • Photo Frame- Cut out the center of a card with a star or window design. Use that as your frame. Or, frame a festive piece of paper and use cut out greeting card embellishments to decorate it.
  • Puzzles- Cut up the front of the card into various shapes and sizes. Have your little one piece together like a puzzle!


  • Bookmarks- Simply cut or punch a hole in the top corner of Christmas card fronts then thread with ribbon, baker’s twine or cord to create decorative bookmarks.
  • Coasters- Trim the  Christmas card into a 4×4 square. Spread Mod Podge onto the front of a 4×4 tile and add the card. Let dry for 2-4 hours. Coat the coaster with a thin coat of Miniwax Polycrylic. Let dry for 2 hours. Using hot-glue, affix 4×4 pieces of felt or foam to the bottom of the coaster. 
  • Gift tags- Cut a 2×3 inch (or so) piece of card and write to and from info on the back. Tape an edge to your gift. Super easy!  
Christmas tree showing how recycling Christmas cards can turn into ornaments
  • Magnets- Trim down well-loved Christmas cards into sizes that fit inside magnetic photo frames to prominently display on the fridge year after year.  
  • Notecards- Trim full card sheets down into smaller blank notecard sizes then reuse the thick cardstock to handwrite your own custom greetings next holiday season.
Gift tag from recycling Christmas cards with red felt flower and santa
  • Postcards- Trim off the front image portion of Christmas cards. Adhere colorful card fronts to thick cardboard backing cut to standard postcard size. Address and add postage to mail out reused vintage card fronts as cheerful reused postcards.
  • Recipe cards- If there is no writing on the inside front of your used Christmas card, tear off the back page and recycle it. Write your favorite recipes on the blank side and add them into a card, gift or package. This would be great to accompany gifts of food.
  • Wine Bottle Tag-  Cut out a rectangular shaped piece from the Christmas card. Punch a hole near the top of the tag. Cut a piece of ribbon or twine to your preferred length, considering how you want the tag to hang on the wine bottle. Thread one end through the hole in the tag and then tie both ends in a knot. Slide around the neck of the wine bottle. 

As another holiday season fades into a new year, breathe renewed purpose into well-loved Christmas cards of yesterday. Gather your scissors and creative spirit. Transforming Christmas cards into keepsakes, decorations, gift tags, and more is not only a creative endeavor but also a meaningful way to extend the joy and memories of the season.

Table filled showing how recycling Christmas cards can be useful to repurpose the many cards we receive.

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