Be honest: How large is the holiday card mountain on your kitchen table? We’re guessing it rivals Everest by now, and you’re certainly not alone.

Holiday cards tend to pile up this time of year, and while it seems a shame to toss them in the trash, it can be tough to figure out what to do with them. Give a nod to your loved ones’ kindness by turning those cards into something useful rather than trashing them or tossing them in a box.

1. Upcycled Gift Box

This creative idea from Atomic Shrimp blogger Mike makes use of all those cards and prevents future holiday waste with an upcycled gift-wrapping solution.

Creating your own gift box may seem complicated, but Mike makes it look surprisingly easy. Just a few snips and folds, and your box will be ready for gift-giving.

Upcycled gift box. Photo: Mike/Atomic Shrimp

For step-by-step instructions on how to make these yourself, head to Atomic Shrimp.

2. Holiday Card Ornament and Festive Wreath

These two simple projects from CafeMom Studios will help you deck the halls with your upcycled cards — saving money and adding a personal flair to your seasonal décor.

The crafty moms will show you how to complete both projects in one YouTube tutorial, and, despite the chic results, both items are super easy to make.

3. Photo Card Keepsake

It’s a shame to cut up all those photo cards for crafting, but tucking them away in a box doesn’t seem like an ideal solution either.

This inventive idea from Michelle Allen of Allen Designs Studio will turn this year’s photo cards from clutter to keepsake. In only a few simple steps, you can easily assemble a photo card album to cherish for years to come.

Photo card keepsake. Photo: Michelle Allen/Allen Designs Studio

“I bring them out every year, and they’re always getting looked at by us and by our guests,” Allen wrote of this creative keepsake on her blog. “This whole thing literally took me about 10 minutes.”

For step-by-step instructions on how to do it yourself, head to Allen Designs Studio.

4. Party Pinwheels

The crafty gals at Wedding Chicks used decorative paper for these cute party pinwheels, but you could easily substitute holiday cards for a seasonal twist.

We love this idea for adding spice to your holiday table décor or an extra dash of fun for a child’s winter birthday party.

Party pinwheels. Photo: Hilton Pittman Photography

For step-by-step instructions on how to do it yourself, head to Wedding Chicks.

5. Matching Place Card and Napkin Ring

Use all those cards to decorate your holiday dinner table with this 10-minute project from TheGreenGirlsTV.

This matching place card and napkin set is fairly simple, but the festive prints on your holiday cards is more than enough for a hefty dose of cheer. Reuse crafting in less time than it takes to watch your favorite sitcom? Count us in! Watch the video below.

Feature image: Mike/Atomic Shrimp

Editor’s note: Originally published on December 24, 2013, this article was updated in December 2018.


By Mary Mazzoni

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.