Repurpose your holiday cards into your Christmas decorations with these tips and tricks from stationery experts.

Xmas cards hanging
Courtesy of Oblation papers & press

One of the most traditional ways to spread the Christmas spirit to friends and family is through a holiday card. Whether you’re sending one out every year or receiving them from loved ones, the cards often begin to pile up higher than your presents. This Christmas, turn that pile into yuletide cheer. We talked with stationery experts in the West about how they repurpose their Christmas cards and display them throughout their homes.

Chelsea Shukov, founder of Sugar Paper, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of paper goods, says holiday cards are essential to the season. “I know that when I come home every December day I’m always looking for those colored envelopes,” Shukov says. “It’s really important to keep sending Christmas cards because it keeps people connected in an old-fashioned but heartfelt way. Those are the little things that contribute to the Christmas magic.”

But all cards deserve a second life, says Jennifer Rich, owner of Oblation Paper and Press, a stationery and paper-making studio in the historic Pearl District of downtown Portland. She keeps her Christmas cards long after the holiday, using them to create other crafts.

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It’s easy to “put them in an album or make fun stationery out of them for personal correspondence,” says Rich, who suggests “cutting out your family and attaching their faces to the corner of another card to take the formality out.”

Courtesy of Sugar Paper

Leftover cards (or lots of extras from friends) can also become a whole new holiday decoration in your home. Shukov takes a simple approach: “Buy a pretty basket to fill with holiday cards and set it out where people gather,” she says. “People love looking through holiday cards!”

But that’s not all; there’s even more possibilities for your leftover cards. Keep reading for inspiration.

For Your Table

To step up a holiday party, you can create name cards out of holiday cards by gluing a collage to a board or heavy paper, or impress your dinner guests with a meal served on personalized placemats of your friends and family.

Courtesy of Oblation Papers and Press

If you’re mixing up Christmas cocktails, personalize your guests’ drinks by “tracing around a drinking glass then cutting old cards into circles with scissors to make coasters, ornaments, gift or wine tags, or new layered holiday cards,” Rich says.

Holiday party wine glass

Courtesy of Oblation Papers and Press

If you want to save space on the table, you can use the cards to add an element of surprise in other spaces of your home. “Slide folded cards into window shutters or slightly open drawers,” Rich says.

For Your Walls

If you’re looking to hang all your cards on display, “attach multiple cards to a wide ribbon, hang several vertically from an evergreen swag or bow against the wall, or drape as a garland,” says Rich.

Bring in extra color by stringing “a wire or lighted wire above a window or along a mantel, and attach cards with colorful clips or mini clothespins.”

For a quick and easy DIY, we’re inspired by Paper Source’s fun and festive wall hanging below. To create your own, start by wrapping a thin piece of wood with wrapping paper. Create a hanger by looping (or tying) a single string, equal distance apart from either end of the stick. Then tie several strings around it vertically to serve as the basis to hang your cards. Pick up mini clothespins from the craft store and attach them to the string to hang up the cards. From there, add your own flair by attaching other items such as snowflakes or bows.

Christmas cards

Courtesy of Paper Source

For Your Doorway

For a classic Christmas look, grab a garland of faux pine and drape it across a doorway, then attach your Christmas cards with a clothespin!

For Your Tree

Create a Christmas tree out of holiday cards with a wall hanger. Get inspired by High Cotton Creations, who make Merry Mail trees like the one below. Try your own version or check out the shop online for more ideas.

When the season is over, instead of tossing your extra cards in the trash, Shukov suggests “keeping them in a decorative box in the same place where you keep Christmas ornaments, because when you decorate the tree, a certain nostalgia happens.” Voila! Your cards can be stuck in the branches of your tree as makeshift ornaments.

Or, just keep your cards in storage to surprise your family at future events and parties, and see (or laugh at) the changes your family has gone through over the years.

“We have one client who frames her family holiday card and fills her hallway with them so friends can see the family progression,” says Shukov.`

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