Creative Ways to Keep Christmas Cards After the Holidays

As much as I love the decor, food, music, parties, and gifts that come with the Christmas season, it’s the cards that fill my mailbox that rank as my #1 favorite thing about Christmas. I adore hearing from friends and family, seeing new family photos, and reading the lovely sentiments, which is why I can never bring myself to *gasp* throw cards away after Christmas is through.

In years past, my cards have made their home in baskets, where they’d sit, collecting dust and out of view. 

Before that, their fate was far worse. As you can see from the fancy tape label, I continued to cram cards in this box for years. Oh, the humanity! 

Or, maybe the cards never see the light of day, trapped inside a drawer (or six).

Can you relate? Well, it’s time to take back the cards. Give them the long life they deserve. After all, the people that sent these sentiments love you. And, as much as I hate to say it, I think cards are becoming a lost art, which is all the more reason to prolong their shelf life in your home in ways that both creative and cute. 

Photo-card Display
Photo cards are my favorite! Being greeted by sweet faces as I open the envelope is the best! Wanting to prolong that feeling and enjoy those faces all year, I put this display together. I'm afraid I can't remember where I got the cute frame, but I know they have items like this at Hobby Lobby and Tai Pan Trading

Obviously, all of my photo cards didn’t come with 3”x3” photos on them. To achieve this, I took these simple steps:

1. Scan cards. (I used the Shoebox app on my phone, but you can also use your phone’s camera to snap a pic of the cards. OR you can use a traditional scanner. The idea is simply to make the cards into a digital file.)

2. Crop photos to 3”x3” squares using photo-editing software. I used Photoshop Elements.

3. Open new, blank file measuring 4”x6” (standard photo size) and drop two square images in. File>New>Blank>(input 4x6 inches)>ok
4. Flatten image Layer>Flatten Image, print, and cut out.

Here's an example of two 3"x3" images that have been added to a single 4"x6" photo, which will save me a bunch on printing costs, since I can get two photos from a single sheet of paper. 

Tag, You're It!
Now it’s time to add those images to tags. I made 3.5”x6” tags using cardstock. Here’s how:

1. Cut kraft-colored cardstock to 3.5” x 6”.

2. Cut corner of tag at angle.

3. Turn cut piece over, hold over opposite corner and cut. 

4. Punch hole in top, center of tag.

5. Adhere circle reinforcers to front and back of hole. (You can buy these in most grocery stores [Target, Wal-Mart, etc.] near where they sell yard-sale stickers and such.)

Now, adhere your photos to your tags, creating as many tags as you have photos to display. 

I created a title treatment on one of my tags using a couple of stickers from My Mind’s Eye. 

I plan on adding to this display each year, layering over the previous year’s tags. For example, next year when cute Miss Purkey send me another photo card *fingers crossed*, I’ll add it to a tag and display that tag over this one. I’ll continue to layer until the display is full, then I’ll remove them, bundle them using a jump ring (making an instant mini album), and start the display over again. 

Framed Card Display
Doesn’t get much easier than this. Frame some of your favorite cards to display as part of your Christmas decor for years to come. I loved this card that my cousin Christine sent. (I almost bought and sent these cards myself.) I knew it would be one I’d want up year after year as part of my Christmas decor, so I framed it using a basic black from from Target. Done and done! 

To step things up last year, I took this card, which my mom sent and framed it for her as a gift. (She loves this card, and I knew I wanted to do something special with it.) I sprayed the frames mat with a light dusting of gold spray ink from Maya Road.

I cut the sentiment from inside the card and placed it on the mat and added a burlap flower, also from Maya Road.

Mom leaves this up in her home all the time. Such an easy gift to create that offers a great emotional return.

Envelope Album
Turn those largest envelopes you receive into an instant card keeper with nothing more than a little adhesive. Here’s how:

1. Fold flap of first envelope back. (I used 5”x7” envelopes that I received with the Christmas cards I ordered and never sent last year. D’oh!)

2. Add adhesive to flap of envelope.

3. Adhere flap to font of next envelope.

4. Fold flap of envelope #2 back and add adhesive.

5. Adhere envelope #2 to BACK of envelope #3. 

6. Repeat process, alternating between envelope backs and envelope fronts, creating an accordion album with pockets for all of your cards.

Dress up the front of the envelope a bit using stickers or die cuts, like these from BasicGrey’s 25th & Pine line. 

Optional Step: Add a closure for your book using ribbon and little hole tabs, available from BasicGrey. (LOVE these!) They’re sticky, so all you have to do is wrap them around the item of choice for instant holes for binding, or, in this case, closing. 

Don't forget a little detail on the back of your book.

Wax seal sticker from BasicGrey.

Just like that, your envelopes transform into card-holding mini album.

Side A

Side B

The Book of Love
Create a special place for all of the cards you receive throughout the year (birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, etc.) using a paper mache book, like this one from Jo-Ann. 

I sprayed the book with gold paint from Krylon. 

For the front, I added a few odds ‘n ends from Cosmo Cricket (“Love Notes” journaling spot) and My Mind’s Eye (chalkboard stickers). The tag is a leftover tag from my Photo Display project above.

For the spine of the book, I wanted to create the look of a bookmark, so I made a few poms from gold yarn and attached them to the side. 

On the side of the book, I adhered tissue paper using Glitter Mod Podge.

Just like that, I now have a safe and happy place to keep an entire year’s worth of cards. If I create these books every year, I can create a full card catalog. Get it? Just a little book reference for ya. ;)

Make a date with fussy cutting and cut out some of the motifs on the fronts of your favorite cards and use those to create a mini calendar for your office or home. 

To do this, I went through and selected cards that offered motifs that would complement the different months. From there, I cut the motifs out and adhered them to more of my 3.5”x6” handmade tags.

I cut this cute martini glass for Feb.

For the calendar portion, I used a calendar stamp set from BasicGrey.

Creating a bitty calendar is easy and affordable with this approach. No need to go out and buy a bunch of stickers. 

Card Inventory
Don’t forget to keep a record of the cards you’ve sent each year. I used a pre-made mini album from BasicGrey’s 25th & Pine line to create my book, which made it easy to just drop my cards in.

I love that the album also has pockets so I can include copies of the letters we send with our cards. 

And a bunch of cute pages that are just right for adding our Christmas cards. Here's our card from 2007 (I think).

Here's 2008.

And 2009.

Not sure what happen from 2010-2011. See why I need a book like this? ;)

Here's 2012, the card I made, ordered for $60 (ouch!) and never sent. Ugh!

Why I adore this book? It helps me remember what cards we’ve sent. Sometimes I forget (you know, being a narcoleptic and all). Plus, this is like a little snapshot of each year, which makes my heart happy.

TV Time
That’s it. Hope you’re inspired to breathe new life into your cards. To see these a video of me sharing these projects on TV, I invite you to check out my Studio 5 segment here.

Thank You
A great BIG thanks to those loved ones in my life who sent cards this year and every year. I absolutely LOVE receiving them, and I had a ball creating with them for my TV segment. Love all of you!


P.S. I’d also like to thank all of the awesome peeps who stopped by for the Season’s Giving blog hop. So fun to read your comments and e-meet many new friends. I wish I could send each of you a prize. I can send one person her mystery box, and that person is JACQUELINE P. Congrats and thanks a bunch for hopping by!