Creative ways to reuse Christmas cards

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    Holiday greeting cards can be recycled into gift tags, ornaments or even framed to stretch out their usefulness.

    Special to The PREVIEW

    Roughly 1.6 billion Christmas cards, including boxed cards, are purchased in a given year. That’s quite a lot of cards to address and mail, and many festive greetings for recipients to read and display.

    With so much money and effort put into sharing Christmas greetings, some people may wonder how they can prolong the merriment offered by these cards. Here are some creative ways to put Christmas cards to new use once this holiday season has come and gone.

    Make your own gift tags. Christmas card stock is the perfect medium to turn into gift tags for presents. Cut the cards into squares or rectangles or use a stencil to create whatever shape you desire. Then use a hole punch to create a space for ribbon or another tie. Use the tag to dress up gifts with something more unique than self-stick tags.

    Get magnetized. All it takes is scissors, some glue and sheets of magnet for a decorative and fun craft project. Turn favorite Christmas cards into mementos that can be saved year after year, which also will dress up refrigerators or other magnetic surfaces. This idea works well for photo greeting cards as well.

    Make Christmas card ornaments. Use the cards to create uniquely shaped ornaments for the tree. Cards can be turned into block shapes and hung with ribbon. Another idea is to punch out circles or ovals from the cards and tile them on a foam egg to look like a multicolored pinecone. Explore your creative side and decorate your tree at the same time.

    Create greeting card garlands. Display cards by stringing them together and hanging them from the mantle or another prominent area. If cards are too large, punch out large circles from the cards and then attach those disks to heavy thread.

    Decorate your packages. Instead of overspending on preprinted gift bags, make your own. Buy plain bags in a solid color and then embellish them with cutout patterns or pictures from Christmas cards.

    Frame favorite cards. Make greeting cards a permanent part of holiday decor by framing the most decorative ones you receive. Use these frames year after year and put them on display with other holiday decorations.

    Make a wine bottle gift tag. Use a 1 1⁄4-inch hole punch to create an opening for the neck of a wine bottle on a piece of folded card stock. Glue a greeting card to the portion of the card stock that will lay flush with the wine bottle and you have a decorative wine tag.

    Shred older cards for confetti. Fill gift boxes or bags with homemade confetti made from recycled Christmas cards.