Receiving Christmas cards has always been one of my favorite parts of the holiday. As a child I remember being so excited when those cards showed up during the month of December. In the “old days” as my eleven year old likes to call them, photo cards didn’t exist. Most families sent out an annual lengthy Christmas letter instead. Contrast that with today, most of the cards we receive are photo cards. Very few of our friends and family include letters discussing the latest happenings in their lives.
Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts allow us to have frequent glimpses into our loved ones lives. So much so that the need for those letters may not exist anymore. I have to be honest though, I still enjoy the occasional letters, as a reminder of those glorious days of my youth when I stalked the mailbox in December to see whose life I was going to read about next.
Today my older two children are the ones stalking the mailbox in December for Christmas cards. Instead of being excited to read the letters though, they love looking at the pictures. I’ve given up my rights to opening cards, and allowed them to take over. So far they have only had one or two squabbles over which one of them gets to open certain cards. I suspect as time goes on and my youngest is able to join in on the fun, those arguments will increase…
Christmas Card Display
Our Christmas card display around here is pretty simple. All of them are taped up with good old scotch tape, on the wall in our dining room. Since I have yet to decorate or paint that space after nine years, it adds a little something to the otherwise drab decor. Which is one of the reasons I keep them hanging up until Valentine’s Day. That and my kids love to look at them no matter how many times they have already seen them.
The big question that remains after the holidays is what to do with those lovely cards when you take them down. I have struggled with this for years, but finally I have come up with a simple solution that works for my family for now. I say for now because I know that at some point my process will change, and I am totally okay with that.
My current solution is so simple, which is exactly what a busy mama needs. All you need is your stack of Christmas cards, a hold punch, and a single binder ring. The ring size depends on how many cards you have. Punch a hole in the top left corner of each card, slide them onto the ring, close it, and done! I store mine in an Ikea box I got years ago. My kids love flipping through the cards to see how much their friends and family have changed over the years.
I know this might sound harsh. It is definitely not my choice. But I do have friends who love to purge things. For as much as they love the cards, they just don’t want to keep them. I mean when you think about it that is A LOT of Christmas cards over the years. With all of the other memorabilia and photos your own family creates, hanging on to other people’s memories might just be too much.
One way you could make this less painful is to group several cards together and take a picture before recycling them. At least then you have a digital file of the cards to go back and look at.
Christmas Cards Scrapbook
Before I started my binder ring solution, I used to add the cards to a scrapbook. The problem was I soon realized that the end result was going to be a lot of binders full of Christmas cards filling up my shelves. With three kids my shelving space is maxed out. If you enjoy memory keeping and scrapbooking and aren’t too concerned about shelving real estate, this may be an option for you.
The scrapbook I used was a 12×12, which I liked because I could pack a lot of cards on one page. However, scrapbooking Christmas cards is more time consuming than the two methods above. You can make this method as easy or as involved as you’d like. I used double sided photo squares to adhere the cards to a piece of white 12×12 cardstock (I chose the easier route!). If you have the time though, you can definitely get more creative with patterned paper and embellishments.
Another scrapbook option would be to use photo pocket page protectors. There are many different sizes that you can use, but these photo pocket page protectors by Becky Higgins are my favorite. They have both 4×6 and 3×4 pockets. She also has a bigger pack of photo pocket page protectors if you need more. Once your cards are trimmed, all you have to do is slip them into the pockets. If you have cards that include multiple photos, choose your favorites, trim accordingly, and slip into the pockets.
If you end up trimming off the name and year, you can use label stickers to rewrite them and adhere to the corresponding photo pockets.
Christmas Cards Photobook
Creating a photobook of Christmas cards is another great option. Some of my favorite places to order these are Shutterfly, Costco, or Mixbook. This method takes a little bit of time, but once all of your cards are scanned in and saved, it is simple to upload them and create your book. Plus, photobooks typically take up less space on your shelves than traditional scrapbooks. These books can be created yearly, or you can place multiple years in one photobook.
Browsing on Pinterest there are some people out there who are way more creative and resourceful than I am. If you are one of those crafty people – go take a look at Pinterest! There are tons of fun craft ideas and art projects that you can create with old Christmas cards. Kids will love to get involved with this option too!
I so appreciate all of the time and effort my friends and family put into creating their cards. This is one of the reasons I have chosen to keep most of the cards that we receive. I also happen to be a big sap when it comes to memories. Thinking long term though, it is very likely that while I will continue to use my binder ring method, there will come a time when I just can’t keep every year. At that point I may go the recycling route.
One last thing to think about that will save you time next December…Now would be a great time to make sure that all of your addresses are up to date, you add any extra people to your card list, or delete those that you no longer wish to exchange with. You know, those people who never send cards to you? I say this with a laugh because my husband and I got into a small argument about this exact topic. I cut some of his friends who we never ever get cards from and he was a little bugged. In my defense I did not order enough cards this year…Some of my friends got cut too! I told him next year if he has specific friends he wants us to send cards to, he better tell me in November, not two days before Christmas….
Do you have a great solution for Christmas cards? Please share!