saving holiday greeting cards

We have a really large chunk of blank wall space in our living room that becomes a canvas for all sorts of decorations and creations depending on the current holiday or season.  One thing that we look forward to each winter holiday season is filling up that space with the wonderful greeting cards from family and friends.  But what do you do with all of the cards once the holidays are over?  You could simply recycle them.  Or if you’re like me and want to save a few of them, you can keep them together with a simple binder ring.

I started doing this with holiday greeting cards back in 2010, before our daughter was born.  And I decided back then to mostly just save the photo greeting cards that we received while recycling the rest. Of course I saved some with very sentimental, handmade, handwritten, or thoughtful messages inside too.  So each year after all of the cards are taken down from the wall, I go through them and sort them into a “keep” and a “recycle” pile.  Then I simply use a punch tool and create a hole in the upper left corner of each card to keep.

Sometimes I like to keep pieces of wrapping paper, especially memorable ones like this year’s taco themed roll that made us all giggle (it was the naked avocado, seriously!).  I cut two pieces of cardboard about half an inch wider and taller than the largest card in the pile and then cover them with wrapping paper.  You know those back pieces of cardboard from a pad of writing or drawing paper?  They are perfect for projects like this.  As you can see, I didn’t cover the entire part of one side of one of the covers.  I covered up the rest with one non-photo greeting card because I loved the design on the card.  You could also do this with your family’s card from that year.

I like to decorate the front cover but that’s entirely up to you.  For this year, I used some leftover glittery stickers from a birthday party (because who ever uses all the numbers from those packs anyway, right?).  I didn’t worry that some of the tacos would be covered by the stickers since I used the same wrapping paper for the back cover too.  You can add stickers, ribbon, writing, etc.  I would definitely suggest at least putting the year on the front somehow.

This year, I wanted to save a couple of drawings that my husband and our daughter did together. I simply folded them in half but not so that the edges were touching along the edge that I punched a hole in.  That way you can open up the piece of paper later without having to remove it from the binder ring.  That’s what’s great about this little album you’re making: you can add things like pretty gift tags, maybe a photo or two, a handwritten letter, etc.

Once you know which order you want to keep the cards in, begin threading them onto an opened binder ring.  I used a super large one since it is what I had on hand but you can find them in all sorts of sizes at office supply stores. Once you have everything (including the front and back covers) on a binder ring, simply close it shut.

It’s always fun to pull out cards from past years and to compare what families were like then and now (before kids!).  They make cute little coffee table books during the holidays too.  Our daughter enjoys looking through them and seeing photos of friends when they were babies.  For me, it’s a nice reminder of the love that surrounds us and the many friendships we have been blessed with over the years.  Everyone is different when it comes to preserving memories, and this is just one way that you can organize cards if you decide to hang onto them.  Now that the wall is blank again, I can’t wait to decorate it with all things related to Valentine’s day!

Happy crafting and Happy New Year, friends!

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