written by: Amy Carson•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 11/29/2010
Wondering how to recycle Christmas cards? Read on to discover practical, creative ways to donate them or use them in crafts and recycling projects.
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Can't bear to toss out all those lovely holiday cards? Some of them go all out with foil, glitter, striking art and sturdy, creamy paper stocks. Instead of throwing cards away, read on to discover how to recycle Christmas cards and help the environment.
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Donate Christmas Cards to Charity
In the U.S., you can send Christmas cards to St. Jude's Ranch for Children, a non-profit "safe haven" for abused, abandoned and neglected children. The children recycle the old, used cards into new ones by removing the front and attaching a new back. St. Jude's Ranch accepts not only Christmas cards, but all-occasion cards year-round, such as birthday cards and thank you cards.
Cards may be donated by sending them to:
St. Jude's Ranch for Children
Recycled Card Program
100 St. Jude's Street
Boulder City, NV 89005
In the UK, Woodland Trust runs the Christmas Card Recycling Scheme. They put special bins in high street stores every January which you drop your used Christmas cards into. They then recycle them, and use the proceeds to plant thousands of trees in the UK.
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Christmas Crafts and Paper Recycling Projects
Gift tags: Cut out shapes, or cut into four to six squares or rectangles, using your creative eye to pick out intriguing little scenes for your tags. Use a hole punch to make a hole in the tag, and attach using decorative ribbon, yarn, or string.
Christmas tree ornaments: Cut out your favorite scenes and glue them back to back. Attach glitter or ribbons or buttons, whatever you like, punch a hole in the top, and hang the unique ornaments on the tree for lasting memories.
Use the scraps from your Christmas card crafting as confetti to decorate the holiday table or use in a scrapbook, or string the bits together into a garland.
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Magnets: Get some magnet tape or a flexible magnet square (available at craft and hobby stores). Find a decorative shape on a Christmas card that you like. Now cut it out, adding about one-quarter inch to all sides. Glue your shape onto the magnet, and cut out again, this time following the shape exactly to trim off the excess.
Turn them into postcards! Cut off the back of old holiday cards, draw a vertical line halfway across the width on the back, and you have a postcard with Christmas art on the front and a blank back to write/address on.
Placemats: Cut off the backs of old cards, or cut out shapes or pictures from them that are meaningful to you. Laminate or press between clear contact paper. The laminated placemats can be used in several ways, including under pet dishes for a festive look at the holidays.
Some cards are art! For exceptionally attractive Christmas cards, consider framing them.
Use as a photograph's mat. Like the above, you're framing an attractive Christmas card, except this time place a photo centered on top of it, with the card peeking around all sides as a border.
Bookmark: Cut a card into a bookmark shape; these are great for recipe page-holders. Glue another card back-to-back for a stiffer bookmark. If you're a scrapbooker, use your corner-rounder to, well, round the corners. No pokey bookmarks!
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Recycling Christmas Cards
Recycle unused cards and scraps in your local recycling pickup or program.
Local schools and libraries. Check with your local schools and libraries to see if they accept Christmas cards to recycle into craft, art, or collage projects for children.
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Follow these tips on how to recycle Christmas cards, and you'll reduce your holiday waste substantially, while simultaneously doing your own part to help the environment and make the world a brighter place. Have fun with recycling Christmas cards — these ideas will likely whet your creative appetite and lead to your own unique creations!