How to recycle old holiday cardsAlthough the ease, speed and relative environmental friendliness of email puts postal mail to shame, there are some times when it’s nice to receive a real card instead of the virtual equivalent.

For me, the holidays are one of those times. I love getting these brightly colored cards in the mail, each one a different interpretation of what the holidays mean to the sender. Because they can double as a lively decoration, I often display each holiday card on a shelf or even on the tree throughout the season. Tossing these cards in the recycling bin when it’s all over feels harsh when one considers the wishes of joy and cheer contained within.

That’s why I was overjoyed to learn that there are lots of ways to upcycle old holiday cards into decorations that can be enjoyed year after year. Here are some of my favorites:

Holiday card ornaments

With just a glass jar, needle and thread, scissors and some glue, you can transform old holiday cards into delightful paper ornaments that will brighten up even the tiniest tree!

Decorative gift jars

Homemade cookies and candy make great holiday gifts, but it can be hard to know how to package them so they’ll be both fresh and festive. Images from old holiday cards can be cut out and glued to upcycled coffee cans to create the perfect gift jar for edible treats.

Holiday gift tags

Why waste money on expensive gift labels when the wrapping will just be ripped off and forgotten? Instead, keep track of which present goes to whom by recycling old holiday cards into decorative gift tags.

Upcycled holiday luminaries

Use recycled greeting cards to cast a holiday glow over your favorite room by creating these festive luminaries. All you need are at least four cards of the same size, embroidery thread, a needle and a small hole punch.

What are your favorite handmade holiday decorations? Share your ideas in a comment!