9 ideas for what to do with old Christmas cards

Nothing signals the start of the festive season like getting the first Christmas card of the year. For many of us, it doesn’t take long before every free spot in our house is taken up by cards from friends or family wishing us Christmas cheer.

But all of these extra holiday greetings means even more wasted card once we welcome in the new year, which got us wondering – just what can you do with old Christmas cards?

Well, if you want to be more eco-friendly this year, there are plenty of different ways to reuse old Christmas cards even if you don’t have much time to spare. To help you get started, we’ve put our heads together and come up with some fab ideas on what to do with old Christmas cards.

And if you’re still looking for that perfect card to send a friend or loved one this year, we have thousands of festive cards for you to choose from right here at thortful. 

1. Making Christmas crafts

By far the most fun way to repurpose Christmas cards is through craft making. If your old Christmas cards are made of good-quality paper stock, they’re ideal to use for crafting.

No matter if you have children or just want to let your creative side out, there are plenty of ideas for used Christmas cards that let you take those heartfelt messages and turn them into beautiful decorations.

You could convert them into paper chains, bunting, or even dangling snowflakes! And if you’re feeling inspired, make sure you check out our guide to more homemade Christmas gift ideas.

  • Tree ornaments: Repurpose Christmas cards into tree ornaments. By carefully cutting your cards into festive shapes and poking a small hole in the top, you can slip some thread through, leaving you with ready to go decorations for next year.
  • Christmas bunting: For bunting, just take the Christmas shapes you cut out and hang them up on string around your walls, curtains, and bookcases.
  • Festive paper chains: Pick cards with complimentary Christmas colours. Then carefully cut your cards into strips, staple or glue them together in a chain, and then weave them round your bannisters.
  • Paper snowflakes: fold your card inside-out and staple the edges, draw on your design, and then cut out the right areas to bring your snowflake to life.

2. Christmas gift labels

If you don’t have enough time to reuse old Christmas cards as decorations, one of the many other popular ideas for used Christmas cards is to turn them into gift labels.

All you have to do is grab a pair of scissors, delicately cut around the part of the card image or text that you want, and store them somewhere safe for next year.

You can get your kids even more excited for this by encouraging them to cut the cards however they want, allowing you to reuse old Christmas cards in a unique and meaningful way.

3. Make your own cards

Recycled Christmas card crafts don’t just stop with Christmas decorations and labels though. If you find a card that you really love and want to recapture it for someone else, there’s no reason you can’t use it again.

By carefully cutting around the part of the card you like, you can glue it to a blank one and make your own! Reusing old Christmas cards in this way means you can let someone else share the same joy you experienced without having to buy a new card.

And you don’t just have to use one old card to make a new one. Get creative in your designs by mixing and matching parts from all your favourite old cards – and add one of our heartfelt Christmas quotes to create a truly unique card that your friends and family will love.

4. Christmas card trees

The Christmas tree is the centrepiece of all Christmas decorations, but we can’t fit one in every room. But by doing crafts with old Christmas cards, you can make Christmas trees for your bedroom, kitchen, or even the bathroom.

Grab a stand, cut your cards into different sizes, and then fold them carefully into points or cones, and stack them on top of one another. Once the tree has filled the stand, top it off with a Christmas star as a finishing touch.

5. Make bookmarks

If you’re still wondering what to do with old Christmas cards after all that crafting, then a very simple solution for any avid reader is to turn your favourites into bookmarks.

Much like the paper chains, all you have to do is cut your chosen cards into strips and maybe add a pretty ribbon as a page marker – and now you have readymade festive markers to make others smile whenever they pick up their book.

6. New Year decorations

Of course, reusing old Christmas cards doesn’t just mean converting them into Christmas decorations. New Year is just around the corner, and you can make the celebrations extra special with some personalised decorations.

Besides making New Year themed bunting and décor, if you’re having a New Year dinner party, why not use reuse old Christmas cards as personalised placemats and nameplates to organise your guest seating plan?

7. Postcards

Last but not least, when it comes to crafts with old Christmas cards, you can take your favourites and turn them into postcards for next year. Just cut off the front of the card, trim it down to postcard size, and you’re left with a perfectly sized rectangle to spread some Christmas cheer while on holiday.

8. Recycle your cards

While a lot of us might have time for crafts at Christmas, for some of us, it’s incredibly busy right up until the New Year and we simply don’t have the time to find creative ways to reuse old Christmas cards.

But if you make space for just five minutes in your busy schedule to organise all your cards, you can recycle them with little effort.

Most Christmas cards are made of simple coloured card which is perfectly fine to be recycled at home or in your local recycling centre. Just remember that cards with glitter and other ornamentation will need these removed before they can be recycled. To minimise this problem, avoid buying cards with glitter or OTT decoration in the first place, and buy bulk packs like our Christmas card packs to save on packaging.

9. Donate your old cards to charity

Donating old Christmas cards is another quick way to make use of them once Christmas has passed. It may come as a surprise, but plenty of non-profit organisations regularly send out requests for old cards so they can be regifted.

While a lot of us get cards every year, there are plenty of others who don’t. Donating old Christmas cards to charity is a nice way to have a positive impact on someone else’s year and let them know that people out there are thinking about them. Just be sure to follow the charity’s guidelines to make sure the cards you donate are appropriate for the cause.

There are plenty of other ways you can reuse old Christmas cards and we hope you have fun getting creative with your crafts.

From the traditional Christmas cards to festively funny Christmas cards, we have cards to suit everyone. And of course, check out the rest of the thortful blog for more fun crafty ideas!