What do you do with your holiday cards once the season has passed? I hate to throw mine away, so I often use the front side of the cards to embellish bags, especially store bags with logos on them that can then be used for gifts. You can see one of the bags I decorated below from a post I wrote five years ago, titled Five simple ways to wrap your holiday gifts. Mel Lockcuff, in How to Recycle Old Christmas Cards into Festive Placemats, creates collage-style placemats that are laminated with clear Con-Tact® Brand Clear Covering. Pinterest is stocked with ideas about how to recycle your old Christmas cards, such as crafting a 3-D Christmas tree, creating a paper poinsettia that you can use as a package bow, or even sewing together cards to make a Christmas card basket.

Solid Color Bag

I gathered up my cards from this last Christmas and considered what to do with them.

2016 Holiday Cards

Naturally, I save cards that include newsy notes, as well as holiday post cards with family members’ or friends’ photos. These cards will never be recycled or discarded.

Saved Holiday Post Cards

I decided to target the cards that included blue, gray or silver on the front side of the card so that I could make snowflake gift tags. Then I dug into my collection of wafer thin dies and paper punches to see what snowflake patterns I could generate. I did add scrap papers, as needed, in solid sky blue, royal blue and white, as well as some adhesive crystals, and embellished the tags with markers and Tim Holtz Distress Ink. The supplies and tags for the entire project are listed at the bottom of this post, and are identified with numbers so that you can duplicate these tags if you wish, or use my tags as inspiration for your own.

Gift Tag Group 1
From left to right: Tag A – 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15. Tag B – 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15. Tag C – 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15.
Gift Tag Group 2
From left to right: Tag D – 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11a, 12. Tag E – 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11a, 12, 13, 15. Tag F – 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11a, 12.
From left to right: Tags G – 1, 8, 11, 12. Tag H – 7, 8, 9, 10, 11a, 12. Tag I –7, 8, 9, 10, 11a, 12. Tag J – 1, 8, 11, 12.
From left to right: Tag G – 1, 8, 11, 12. Tag H – 7, 8, 9, 10, 11a, 12. Tag I –7, 8, 9, 10, 11a, 12. Tag J – 1, 8, 11, 12.
Favorite Gift Tag
Snowflake Tag K above is my favorite one. Supplies include 1, 6, 9, 10, 11, and 12.

When I was finished with the snowflake tags, which involved six different holiday cards, I ended up with more than two dozen gift tags. Yes, it’s detailed work, but it’s relaxing in the same way that you might find coloring the images inside adult coloring books.

What do you do with your old holiday cards?


Please note that some of these items have been discontinued or are out of stock from the manufacturer. If you search for the exact term shown below, however, you may find other sources for the item. The links provided do not necessarily represent the lowest price, but simply availability at the time of this post.

1. Die – Spellbinders S4-114 Standard Circles
2. Die – Spellbinders S4-404 Create-a-Flake Five
3. Die – Spellbinders S5-065 Moroccan Motifs
3a. Die – Memory Box 98914 Bristol Snowflake
4. Punch – EK Success 1” Scallop Circle
5. Punch – EK Success 1-1/4” Circle
6. Punch – EK Success 2” Circle
7. Punch – EK Success 2” Scallop Circle
8. Punch – EK Success 2-1/2” Circle
9. Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pad, Faded Jeans
10. Making Memories Deluxe Paper Piercer
11. Marker – Sharpie Permanent Marker Silver Metallic
11a. Marker – Copic Sketch B97 Night Blue
12. Adhesive – Xyron Create-a-Sticker 150 and Xyron Create-a-Sticker 500
13. Adhesive – Judi Kins Diamond Glaze
14. Adhesive – Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue
15. Embellishment – Hero Arts Gemstones

© 2016 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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5 thoughts on “Recycling your holiday cards into gift tags”

  1. What a cute way to reuse cards! You don’t have to toss them and get some free craft supplies. =)

    I have to admit…this year I tried hard to get rid of cards. In keeping with the KonMarie method of tidying up I acknowledged that their purpose was to be received, thanked them for the joy they brought me at the time, and passed them along to the recycling. It was difficult, but it’s nice to have less clutter.

  2. What a great use of holiday cards! I got a beautiful one with snowflakes this year as well and couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. I’ll definitely be putting it to use in a similar way.

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