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Posts Tagged ‘decorations’

WFMW — Put Used Christmas Cards To Good Use

Posted by infinitygoods on December 18, 2007

wfmwbluebanner.jpgBe sure to see my other Advent and Christmas ideas below too. I save some of my Christmas greeting cards because I’m the sentimental type, but here are some great uses for those who usually just discard them in the trash. These are some of the uses I find for the ones which do not hold special value to me. I love comments 😉 Also, if you have more ideas be sure to let all of us know what they are.

  1. Give them to a teacher (always ask first when giving). Many preschool, kindergarten and early grade teachers need these cards (Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. too!) for their students to do paper crafts in class. Sometimes they use them to make collages to send cards to soldiers, senior citizens or the homeless. Some teachers will have their students use them to create a priceless gift to their parents. Some teachers will use them for their own bulletin boards to make the classroom more festive.
  2. Give them to a student artist or a professional artist. One of the professional artists at our church asks the office to save all the cards we receive for use as inspiration, models, etc. Some artists will separate the various colors and turn them into pulp for use as papier mache and handmade paper. Others use them as found objects for their art or even for installations.
  3. Give them to a church or senior group. When I was involved with our monthly Senior Luncheon group, the organizer would always be on the lookout for seasonal greeting cards to use as nametags, placecards, To/From tags and decorations. At Christmas and Valentine’s Day each senior would receive a card made from these used greeting cards. The card would be cut in half so that the side written on would be discarded. The picture side would either be folded in half or glued to a piece of paper and a personal message would be added for the senior. You have no idea how much joy it brought to some of these seniors. For some of them, this would be the only card anyone would give them. The church and the volunteers did not have a special card budget, so these recycled ones would be it or there would be nothing.
  4. Use them for scrapbooking. As we become more and more conscious of our environment, printers and card companies are using acid free paper and inks so they can be used to make some fancy frames, backgrounds, clip art, etc. for our photo albums and scrapbooks. Many cards today are even made by hand and have that three-dimensional effect that so many scrapbookers are looking for.
  5. Give them to your child for cutting. Younger children love to cut paper, and cardstock gives them a different texture to manipulate. Manipulatives are very important for a young child’s development and for fine motor skills. The ones with layers, ribbons, pop-ups, etc. can all be taken apart and possibly reconstructed by the child. Children can use the pictures to illustrate their own stories. Old magazines also work well for this.
  6. Save them until next year, and children can decorate their own small packages.
  7. Help your children make next year’s Advent calendar. You’ll need one card for the main scene in the front, from which you will cut out the 25 windows (cut three sides only, door-style). With a pencil, outline the windows on a piece of paper. You’ll need one or more cards for the back where you’ll glue the 25 mini-pictures to the outlines on the piece of paper. Then glue that paper to the back of the main scene with the 25 mini-pictures showing through the windows. Next year, you’ll bend back one window each day of Advent. If you do the craft this year, it will help your children transition from too much excitement during the pre-Christmas rush and too little excitement in the post-Christmas letdown and boredom before returning to school. This craft is not about making the prettiest, most professional-looking calendar (you can buy that at the store), it’s about letting your children practice gluing, cutting, aligning and using their creativity, while letting them do something more than just watch TV and boosting their self-esteem. If you put away the calendar(s) with the Christmas decorations, you will not lose them during the long year ahead. You can also elect to tuck in all your used cards with the decorations and they will be waiting for your children’s creative talents next Advent season.
  8. Another good child craft is to use cookie cutters (or a glass for a simple circle) to outline 25 scenes, cut them out with scissors, punch a small hole on either left/right or top/bottom and string them garland style. Your children can add bows in between each scene, or add beads, etc. Their creativity is the limit. You also have the option to add the numbers 1-25 on them. It will make a nice swag for across the mantle, a vertical garland to hang in their room or for the homeschool classroom for next year’s Advent.
  9. Frame them. Many cards are art reproductions of the Masters, and some may be from unknown artists at Hallmark or American Greetings but just as pretty, and will make cute holiday pictures to decorate your home. Get a few small frames from the dollar store (sometimes even two or three for $1) or insert them in frame ornaments for your tree, which have become so popular in recent years. There’s no law that says you must put in a family snapshot. You could put in a reproduction of the Holy Family or a cutesy teddy bear with a holly wreath if that’s more along your decorating theme (shop those after-Christmas sales for bargains).
  10. Our son, the future scientist, tells me the computer chip components from musical Christmas cards can be reused for scientific and robotic purposes.
  11. If you receive cards from Europe, they have a paper insert which is not glued to the card as they are here in the U.S., so you can just save/toss the insert and reuse the card as a brand new greeting card next year. All you’ll have to do is buy some envelopes.
  12. One senior citizen I used to know would cut away the written portion and send the picture portion as a Christmas postcard. On her tiny, fixed income, she would also save on postage, yet she was able to continue her social tradition of sending cards to everyone she knew. She said the ones which were not embossed worked best as it was more difficult to see that they were reused greeting cards.
  13. Save the written part of the card. Yes, you read that correctly. Professionals write these cards and say it better than most of us can, so save your favorite samples and incorporate them in your own greetings. Soon, even blank cards will be of no concern to you even if you are normally completely tongue tied. This works for birthday and especially sympathy cards.

For the rest of the Works For Me Wednesday participants, head to Rocks in My Dryer.

If you missed any of my Advent and Christmas ideas, just click below.

If you missed any of my household tips, just click below. I also have these as a separate page you can access any time at the header on top.

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