One More Seasonal Tradition: Scrapbooking Holiday Cards


One of my last holiday traditions each year as I am cleaning up & putting away is to get out my square punch and attack our holiday cards.

My goal is simple: create a collage of faces and designs from the various cards we receive throughout December. I grab my punch and go for it. Over the years I have used different sized square punches depending on the number of cards. This year I used the Extra Giga from Marvy Uchida.

I did a little searching in my archives and found this post talking about the process back in 2005. Here's an excerpt:

Since I am all about simplifying I came to the conclusion that I do not need to keep all the Christmas cards I received this year. I loved getting them. I celebrated each one that came through the mailbox. And now that Christmas is over I would still like to have a bit of a record of the cards from this Christmas, but I certainly don't need to hang on to them all.

It is ok.

How do I decide which part of the card to punch? I think what I have always loved about punching is that I am taking a bit of something and bringing it together with other somethings to create an entirely new something. When I was punching I tried not to think too hard. I laid my punch with the metal side up, slid the card in, and moved the card around using the window as a guide. When I saw something that looked just fine and I punched. Some of the photos were too large to get everyone in the square and that was totally OK. My vision was to bring together a bunch of bits of this year's cards - not preserve each one in its orginal state.

One thing I noticed this year is that people had their photos on all different kinds of papers: metallic, shiny, canvas, etc. This was definitely more of a trend than in years past.

And as much as I love doing each layout individually it is almost more fun to see all these layouts here together. Here's a look at the past card layouts from when I first started this process:









I found 2008's layout in need of a little assistance. When I found it in the 2008 album last night it was two pages with only the top two rows of photos on the second page. I decided to trim that off and attach it to the top of the full page (and use the Fiskars Apron Lace punch along the bottom).




What do you do with your holiday cards? Keep them? Toss them? Make something with them? Donate them? If you do donate them I would love to hear more about it.

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  1. Theresa Grdina

    2010-01-08 12:57:05 -0500

    When my girls were little, I would let them cut out the favorite parts of the cards....then we would assemble them in a collage on TOP of a paper placemat. I would then laminate them (or cover both sides with clear contact paper) and we would use them as placemats! They loved them!!
    This year I made a book of my favorite snippets of my cards. I set it on the ottoman in the living room and I think every person who came through the door looked at that thing.
    Next year I think I will try one of your layouts! Gotta love it!!!!

  2. Amy Johnson

    2010-01-08 14:11:25 -0500

    We donate the cards to our local Boys & Girls club - next year they will use the card fronts and verses to make cards for family members, etc.

  3. Tracey

    2010-01-08 16:50:01 -0500

    Hi Ali - you are so clever. What a wonderful thing to do with the Xmas cards. I'm going to do the same as you now and do a page layout of each years cards. Thank you so much for all your great ideas :-)

  4. Kristin

    2010-01-08 17:33:33 -0500

    Such a great idea Ali!!
    I know its not on topic, but we had a MAJOR breakthrough with Abbi (who has Autism) and I blogged about it. I thought you might "get it" and might find the story uplifting. HUGS!

  5. Rebekah

    2010-01-09 01:51:04 -0500

    Great idea!

  6. tencraftyfingers

    2010-01-09 02:23:11 -0500

    I was thinking about making a collage of them (as I don't get a ton and only 1 or 2 photos), scanning them, and using them as background paper or as a digital image for later use.

  7. Dedra

    2010-01-09 02:47:17 -0500

    Awesome way to start the new year...Happy 2010! Pick Me!

  8. Shelly in the NW

    2010-01-09 04:24:42 -0500

    i never know what to do with them...and it seems we get way more pictures than actual cards...i hate to toss them so i put them in a big envelope and just keep them...this seems like a much better idea. :)

  9. Shelly in the NW

    2010-01-09 04:24:42 -0500

    i never know what to do with them...and it seems we get way more pictures than actual cards...i hate to toss them so i put them in a big envelope and just keep them...this seems like a much better idea. :)

  10. Brandi P

    2010-01-09 04:54:40 -0500

    I just throw all of mine into a box in true pack-rat fashion! LOL! My mother uses hers as gift tags on packages each year. She cuts the fronts from the cards (non-photo cards) in a decorative manner and adds the "to/from" & sticks that to the gifts. It's pretty cool!
    Thanks for sharing this again. I think I'm going to try your method and several of the others listed in the comments! Y'all have inspired me!

  11. Tona

    2010-01-09 05:23:00 -0500

    What a great idea & they turned out beautifully!

  12. Cathy Skrehot

    2010-01-09 08:44:54 -0500

    I absolutely LOVE this idea, Ali, why did I never think of it. I keep the full cards, year after year, and put them in a box and go through them once in awhile. Last year my word was simplify, but I have not yet decided what to do with all those cards (I'm 55 and there are tons) I'm putting your idea to work and starting with this year. Thanks, Ali!

  13. Kathleen

    2010-01-09 13:14:54 -0500

    Years ago we started keeping our cards near our kitchen table. We choose one each night that we gather at the table to eat and pray for the sender(s) when we say our "dinner prayer". I have sent cards in the past to let the family know we have prayed for them, but that hasn't happened lately---I hope when life slows down a bit (haha!) that I can start sending those cards again---anyway, I have always wanted to do something with the cards, but I keep them for a good portion of the year. BUT, I still do have all of last years' cards, so perhaps I'll do my 2008 cards this year---pray thru 2009's and then next holiday, put together 2009's page----I LIKE it! Thanks so much for all the inspiration Ali! love your blog!

  14. Jan DeA

    2010-01-09 13:39:27 -0500

    I love Christmas cards and never can bring myself to throw them away. This is such a wonderful idea. It would be a great snowy day project.

  15. Roni

    2010-01-09 21:33:00 -0500

    I always keep and re-purpose my cards...even if it's just for the grandkids to play mail with. However, when our children were younger I always donated them to their school's art program. The teacher loved a former pre-school teacher I never threw anything out...I always thought the 'art bin' was a good place for bits and pieces waiting to become great works of art!

  16. Sarah Swann

    2010-01-10 02:41:58 -0500

    Last year, I scraplifted your idea and used my square punch to create a collage of pictures and cards. I absolutely loved it! This year, I cut out images from the cards that I liked and I'm saving them to use in my first December Daily album (coming this December). I also saved Christmas present tags for this purpose. I can't wait to start it!

  17. Jen

    2010-01-10 11:12:21 -0500

    I keep my photo cards and handmade Christmas cards {they usually end up in my scrapbook}. I am loving your idea about punching them though . . . might have to try that one out this year.
    Anyways, for the remainder which are generally the "store-bought" greeting cards {all holiday; Christmas, Birthdays, Mother's Day, etc . . .} I send them to St. Jude's. They have a program of recycling "gently used" greeting cards, and selling them as a way to raise money. I think it is a great cause, and if I won't be keeping them, I may was well send them on to someone that will.
    Here is the link; check it out : )

  18. Jen

    2010-01-10 11:14:31 -0500

    Here is the address to donate if anyone is interested!
    St. Jude's Ranch for Children
    Recycled Card Program
    100 St. Jude's Street - Boulder City, NV 89005
    877-977-SJRC (7572)

  19. Donna

    2010-01-10 14:29:37 -0500

    I pitch all non-photo cards. About 10 years ago, when I started getting Christmas cards with photos, I created a scrapbook. Each family has a page(s) and each year I cut out their picture and adhere it to their page. It is my favorite book to get out each holiday season. I love seeing how families have grown.

  20. Cheiron Brandon

    2010-01-11 04:08:25 -0500

    I usually keep them for a while, then feel bad about getting rid of them. I am going to try this idea this year! These are terrific!

  21. lauralee

    2010-01-11 10:45:34 -0500

    I too, love this idea, but will be using it to punch special pieces from all of the sympathy cards and mass cards I received last month when my dad passed away. It will be a great way to remember the love, support and kinds words that help SO much. I wasn't sure what to do with the stack of cards, and now I know. I may even make one for my mom. Thanks very much.

  22. Mickee

    2010-01-12 05:37:03 -0500

    This is a great idea Ali! I've received a lot of Christmas cards that I don't know what to do with. I'll scraplift your idea - thanks bunches!

  23. Talia

    2010-01-13 15:49:45 -0500

    I never keep my Christmas Cards... but we never seem to get many fantastic ones either... mostly christmas tags! But I just made a scrapbook of engagement cards, which was just a modified idea of someone who made a mini scrapbook out of their Christmas cards! I'll post the link in the website box!

  24. SparrowApril

    2010-02-04 02:44:55 -0500

    This solves the problem of what to do with all those photo cards that I don't know what to do with at the end of the holidays.
    My mother kept them( 30 years worth) in the drawers of her end tables in her living room. I don't have drawers in my end tables, I don't have end tables, I don't even have a living room. This is a good solution!

  25. tinabobina99

    2010-12-17 12:20:51 -0500

    Wow, great idea! I can do this.

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