Christmas bookmarks

Christmas cards can be re-used in several innovative ways

After Christmas, please don’t bundle up all your Christmas cards and throw them in the bin without a little bit of thought.

Perhaps you could put them in a box and save them for the coming year … read on for a few ideas.

These ideas can help protect our environment by reducing the demand for Christmas cards or other materials in future years. Paper and card are very energy intensive to produce and involve the emission of a lot of carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas. They also consume a valuable resource – our trees – as well as lots of chemicals and bleaches.

Re-using Christmas cards also reduces the amount of material going into our waste systems – even good recycling costs energy and carbon to run properly, and it’s even worse if they just end up in landfill.

And finally, don’t forget all that plastic packaging often used to sell us our Christmas cards, gift tags and decorations – we will be reducing that too.

So how can I reuse them?

Here’s a few ideas, some old and some new!

Gift tags

The front of your card can become a lovely gift tag next year, reducing your need to buy new tags and saving you money as well. Simply cut the front of the card off neatly, use a hole punch at the top, and there you have it. Sometimes, the design of the card will lend itself to more creative cutting out of interesting designs and shapes, like Christmas trees, stars and angels. This is a great craft idea for kids too!

Present decoration

Personalise presents with the front part of old cards posted on to the (recyclable!) wrapping paper. This can also brighten up reused boxes and packaging, saving even more paper and still being very cheerful and personal.


Cards are designed to be pretty, sentimental and appealing, so many are suitable to use as bookmarks. These can even be further decorated or personalised and given away as small gifts or mementos.

Thank you postcards

It’s a little old-fashioned maybe, but people still love getting postcards through the letterbox. Cut away the front of a decent-sized Christmas card, then on the back, holding the card landscape, draw a vertical line down the middle. On the left, write your thank you. On the right, write the recipients name and address, leaving space for a stamp in the top right hand corner. Add a stamp and pop in the post box. No envelope required! Relatives love this from children especially.

Scrap notebook

Take the front of several cards and staple them (blank side facing you) in the top left corner. You now have a robust scrap notebook for your kitchen shopping list or office desk to-do list.

Send them back!

Here’s a lovely idea that relatives really like. In a card where there is still space, write a “return” Christmas greeting the following year and send it back. You are creating something a bit more personal and people will be touched that you have kept their original message and been so thoughtful. This has the advantage of using the whole card too, although you will need some new envelopes! Who knows, you might even get it back the year after that …

Other ideas

  • if you are crafty, you can make tiny gift boxes from the card
  • particularly beautiful cards can be very attractive, consider framing them as artwork (re-using old frames if you can!)
  • keep cards from a child in a scrapbook to present back to them when they turn 18!
  • use sparkly, glittery cards to make Christmas tree decorations (they can’t be recycled unfortunately)


Finally, of course, if you can’t store and reuse your cards, please discard them properly. Plain card-only ones into the recycling of course. Ones with foil, glitter, plastic covering, foam stickers or other decorations into the household waste, as sadly they cannot be recycled.

Take action

The world wastes billions of cards every year, with a huge carbon footprint and consuming vast numbers of trees. Please take measures to reduce this by reusing cards as much as you can. You will also save money and bring a few smiles to people’s faces too with the ideas suggested above.

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