Recycle Your Greeting Cards - Creatively

My mother had a Christmas morning ritual that she followed for decades: after the presents had been opened and while Christmas dinner was cooking, she would peel the Scotch tape from the wrapping paper, then carefully fold the paper and put it away for next year; then she’d get a pair of shears and cut all the greeting cards she’d received into various shapes, all destined to be used as gift tags for future Christmas presents.

Thankfully the routine recycling of paper has freed me from the guilt of throwing away gift wrap; but I still think the whole greeting-card-to-gift-tag idea is a good one. You might want to try it yourself. Simply cut large shapes from the Christmas cards you get—snowmen, clusters of poinsettias, angels, messages like Season’s Greetings, and so on—and store them in a small box. You might want to use a hole punch to put a small hole in one end of the card. If you’ve got a card with an abstract design, simply cut the card into large squares or rectangles and, again, punch a hole in one corner. Just use the blank side of the tag for your writing.

You may receive a few cards that you want to keep, either because they are beautiful in themselves or because they contain a special message from the sender. If you want to save the card because the front of it has an attractive design, mount it, put an attractive mat around it in a contrasting or complementary color, and frame it. If you want to save both the front and inside of the card, cut the card apart on the fold, mount the two pieces side by side, and then mat and frame. You may want to bring these pictures out for hanging only on the holidays, or keep them displayed year-round.

The tags made from Christmas cards can be much more attractive than most of the ones you can buy in a store, and displaying framed cards are a much better way to hang on to a keepsake than stuffing them in away in a drawer somewhere.

It’s a fun, creative way to recycle.

Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire. She has written numerous articles for local and regional newspapers and for a number of Internet websites, including Tips and Topics.

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