Monday, January 3, 2011

What to do with all the Christmas Cards & Pictures

I just LOVE looking at all the Christmas cards my family receives each year. I stare at them every day and feel so blessed.
  And every January when it comes time to take down all the holiday stuff, I am bummed to just box up the Christmas cards.  One year I left them hanging in my kitchen until May 'cause I couldn't bear to take them down!
I tell myself I'm going to look at them all with my kids each year when we pull out the Christmas boxes, but somehow that never happens. 
So in the box they stay (I wouldn't dare to toss them- yes, I'm a Fly Baby fledgling).  Now I have what seems like an garage shelf devoted to gorgeous pics of my friends and family and they all just get to stare at each other. 

Well, no more!  I figured out something to do with them so we can enjoy our friends' and family's pictures for years to come (and get some good chuckles 15 years from now!) 

I decided to make placemats with the photos, sort of like a collage. 
It's super-de-duper easy!
~Christmas cards {of course!}
~paper for your template {mine's 11 x 17}
~scissors {I used zig-zag craft scissors}
~glue stick {thanks to DH}
~clear contact paper {or a laminator!}
~straight edge {a ruler will work}
~exacto knife/box cutter {or scissors if you can cut with a steady hand}

~Cut out the portion of the cards you'd like to use and arrange them on your template. I like to include the name(s) and date from photo cards if I can.  But you could also just cut out the actual picture and leave all the "extra" stuff out, that way you'll fit more pics on one place mat. 

{Like the template I'm using? I'm all about reusing. Go Bears!}

~When you are happy with your arrangement, dab a little glue on the backs so they won't move around when you lay the contact paper on top (thanks to DH who suggested this when I kept getting frustrated with the cards moving around!)

~Cut out your contact paper with an exacto knife, 
about 1/2 inch wider and longer than your template (allowing for a 1/4 inch reveal around all 4 sides.)
~Carefully lay the contact paper on top of the cards, being sure it's straight along your first edge.  You could also just cut your contact paper a bit too big and trim when you are finished....might make laying it down a tad less stressful?

Now, flip the whole thing over and you have an entire backside to decorate as well.  I did it first with regular cards while I patiently anxiously awaited permission from friends to use their photos on my blog...
MMMMM-WA to everyone that got back to me so fast! 

Viola! A 2-sided, very personal placemat! 
We'll pull ours out Dec. 1 and use them the whole month.  It will be fun to get a different placemat each night and get to look at our friends and family while we eat.  I can imagine how much my kids will enjoy using a placemat with their friends on it. 
I will make them "themed".  For instance, one will have all the cards we received from kids that go to my son's school.  And another will be friends from our twins club.  One could be cards from aunts, uncles and cousins.  You get the idea.  I had also thought about making placemats with 6-8 cards all from the same family (yes, I keep them ALL every year!)  So you can look at the family growing over the years.  So many options! 
 And easy peasy!  Smile. 

What do you do with your Christmas cards? 
I'm sure there are tons of great ideas out there!

I'm hitting the party circuit with this one!
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  1. Such a wonderful idea!! I love it. My kids would love to look at the pictures while they have lunch each day.


  2. THANK YOU Jen for your sweet comment! I'm not sure I'm going to get the placemats even packed away before December, my kids love them so much. They may go into the year round rotation. Smile!

  3. that is a wonderful idea! we have a scrapbook with the photo cards slipped into the pockets. but i think i will give your idea a try!

  4. Love it! I was just thinking to myself there has to be some great idea out there for saving Christmas cards and here it is!

  5. Thanks for your kind comments craftyammie and Crum Family!

    @3 L's Dad, yes! I like that idea of using postcards...or even with kids' artwork

  6. Mavis E. ButterfieldJanuary 4, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    I'm SO doing this!

  7. What a lovely idea! I would've done this, too, except that I just threw them away yesterday. For garbage year it'll be happening! Thanks again!


  8. Fabulous idea. I have the same situation! Just hate to put them away in a box, and if they can be enjoyed more....that's just fun!

  9. BTW, I'm a new follower.
    Stop by my blog sometime and say hello!
    We homeschool too.....we travel a lot and it's magnificent to learn without being tied to a desk/chair/traditional school calendar! Wouldn't have it any other way! It's great to be able to go on my hubby's business trips with him, etc.


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