Monday, January 11, 2010

Creative Recycling of Christmas Cards and Gift Bags

It is almost into the third week of January and I am still receiving Christmas cards from friends and family overseas. I love to hear from people at this time of year (I don't mind if they are late sending out their greetings!) and I am always grateful to those who pop their newsletters into a lovely card - not only can I create an attractive display for lighting my window in the evening (the pegs incorporate LED lights) but they provide me with a resource for creative Christmas crafts. So before you toss your cards into the recycling bin here are a few different ideas (aside from making new cards or gift tags) for reusing cards that will save you money next Christmas!

All you need to create these items are your stash of cards, brown paper bags and/or gift bags - (another item I always recycle!) scissors, craft glue, ribbon or string and self adhesive gold or silver letters.
Idea No 1 . Unique Gift Bags

Jazz up a plain paper bag with an unusual design. This quirky Pukeko adds a real touch of 'Kiwiana' to a brown paper bag. (Pukeko is the name New Zealanders use for swamp hens!) Match the size, colours and design of the card to the bag you are using - choose more 'rustic' designs printed on matte paper for brown paper bags and glossy modern designs for the foil gift bags which are popular choices for Christmas presents.

Simply use the front of the card and glue into place - what could be easier? I will add a coordinating tag when it comes time to reuse the bag next Christmas.

Idea No 2. A CD/DVD Gift Envelope.

This square card was a perfect match in size for an unused silver envelope, ideal for enclosing a CD or DVD disc, i tunes card or gift voucher - why waste money purchasing a special card or envelope for the gift card for that hard to buy for person, when it only takes a few minutes to make your own?

Disguise a rough edge with narrow adhesive foil tape if you need to

Reuse any extra embellishments attached to cards - this silver star makes the ideal seal.

Idea No 3 . Menu Cards

For an extra finishing touch for your Christmas table create a menu card. This is quite useful if you are having lots of guests, it adds an 'eating out at a classy restaurant' feel or it can simply be a special momento of the lovely dinner you enjoyed that year! Choose a card which coordinates with your table decor and add 'Menu' to the front using self adhesive gold or silver letters.

Type out your menu, print, cut to size and attach inside your card. You may wish to add in the year, guests attending and venue. This was the Christmas meal we enjoyed a few years ago, it reminds me of how thrilled I was to find freshly dug organic baby potatoes at the farmers' markets on Christmas Eve! A menu card with the dessert recipe inside could also be a lovely little gift to give to guests - I would attach the recipe to the facing page.

Idea No 4. Christmas Candy Cones

This is the third time I have reused these particular cones. I made several paper cones at Easter to hold chocolates, small gifts and eggs for my children. (Instructions for Easter Cones are at my main blog archives in 'The Craft Cupboard' section.) The card I used for these came from a picture frame box. I recycled these cones and made a lot more from old Christmas cards to create an Advent Calendar for Christmas 2009. I added a Christmas sticker to the front and attached ribbon for hanging the cones. This is a wonderful craft activity to do with children - the cones are very simple to make but look very effective!

Next year we will create a different Advent calendar ( making our own unique Advent calendar is a family tradition!) but reuse the cones as tree decorations - you could also fill them with wrapped candy or popcorn and enclose in cellophane. They could also be used to hold special treats such as biscotti or truffles to give as gifts to neighbours and friends.

I always find I am sent a card which I love which will not be rolled up, folded or cut. This 'nostalgic' card from my sister in England is my absolute favourite for this year. I like it so much, I might even frame it! It will certainly not be placed in the recycling bin where some of the boring santa and snow scenes do end up! I hope you have found some ideas at this post to creatively reuse and recycle your Christmas cards. How do you creatively reuse and recycle your cards? - let me know if you have any ideas!

With Love and Joy,


  1. That is indeed a lovely card! Thanks for some more of your great ideas! I did save my cards this year & will have to get creative with them!
    Hope you are enjoying your holidays.
    God bless
    Renata :)

  2. I LOVe Christmas too!!

    What a great idea to have a Christmas blog open all year, so you can add ideas and we can get creative before the big rush.

    Being a Kiwi, I loved seeing our cheeky Pukeko!!

    I've become a follower and I wsill pop in from time to time to see you.

  3. Christmas is my favorite holiday! I live for Christmas all year long. I am happy to see that someone else has a Christmas blog out there. I love what you did with your Christmas cards, very clever ideas!

  4. it is at the end of October and I am REALLY thinking about Christmas!! In fact, my husband and I started making our Christmas "still to buy" list...I shop all year round...tonight.
    I am sure you are getting things in order for your Christmas, too, and I know that you have sooo many things to do and have so many little people to tend to! Talk to you later!


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