Decorating your home for the Christmas season is probably a task that you look forward to each year. Christmas decorating just seems to have a way of brightening up the overall look of your home, in addition to the spirits of each family member. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on Christmas decorations in order to create a great look. In fact, homemade decorations made from recycled materials can add a special sense of joy and beauty to your home. If you have a stack of old Christmas cards from years gone by that you just can’t seem to throw away, give them to your kids so that they can create beautiful holiday decorations.

Materials You Will Need

A good assortment of old Christmas cards (colorful ones work best)
Child-safe scissors
Several large pieces of poster board, chipboard or cardboard (you can simply cut up old boxes if desired)
Plain pieces of paper or cardstock (great for creating greeting cards)
Glue or glue sticks
Yarn, sequins, stickers, or other embellishments if desired
Crayons, markers or colored pencils
Envelopes (if making holiday cards)
Clear contact paper (optional if making placemats)

Preparing the Work Area

The kitchen or dining room table is a great place for children to work on paper crafts. Before getting started, cover the top of the table with a vinyl tablecloth to protect the surface from glue and accidental scratches. Give each child a wastebasket to catch the paper scraps. You can also tape a small plastic or paper bag to the edge of the table to serve as a handy trash receptacle. A few paper plates or foil pie pans can also be handy for sorting card pieces as they are cut.

Creating Cut Card Creations

There’s almost no limit to the different projects you can make with cut up Christmas cards. When cut up into small pieces, the cards can be used to create mosaic artwork, similar to how one would use ceramic tiles. This can be a great way to create visually interesting holiday cards for the upcoming season, using a few pieces of card stock combined with last year’s Christmas cards. The cards can be cut up in whatever manner works best for the project you’re creating. In some cases, you might want to cut the cards into pieces according to color. In other cases, it can be fun to cut specialized design pieces from the card. For example, try cutting out the Christmas tree design from one card so that you can combine it with packages cut from a second card.

In order to create holiday cards, fold a piece of plain card stock in half. Trim the folded card base so that it fits the envelope you wish to use. Then glue the cut up pieces of the old card on the card stock to create an interesting design or pattern on the new card. Then finish by writing a sentiment inside the card, or use a rubber stamp.

You can also create interesting holiday placemats using last year’s Christmas cards.┬áSimply glue the pieces of cut up card to a rectangular piece of poster board. If desired, apply a piece of clear contact paper to the front surface of the placemat to give it better protection from food and beverage spills.

Last year’s Christmas cards also make great gift tags!