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One More Seasonal Tradition: Scrapbooking Holiday Cards

2009HolidayCardsPhoto

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:

2004:

MerrychristmasBOTH

2005:


2006:

Christmascards06_low

2007:

2007HolidayCards_Low

2008:

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).

2008HolidayCards_Low

2008flipup

2009:

2009ChristmasCardsLayout
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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246 thoughts

  1. Lori says…
    01/07/2010

    So far I've always kept them, intact, because I enjoy looking through them again when I get out my holiday decorations and I worry that I will regret not being able to see the entire photo/card. I've always loved the holiday card layouts you've created though, so perhaps one day I will take the plunge.
    Thanks, Ali!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. kate says…
    01/07/2010

    That is a really great idea! However, in the UK there is not a trend of sending photo cards at Christmas. Usually the cheaper the better. Shame really! Great idea though, and one I will probably use on the wedding thank you cards which all seem to arrive with photos on. I always want to keep them but didn't think of scrapping them all together. Would be a great memento of all the weddings we have been to! :)

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  3. Jane says…
    01/07/2010

    What an amazing idea! I have always wanted to do something with the picture cards I get each year other than putting them in a box! I am running now to go get this years cards and punch away!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Jennifer says…
    01/07/2010

    My sister punches out the fronts of pretty cards that are blank on the back, and uses them as tags for gifts the next year. She can get 1-3 tags from each card. Great way to recycle!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Barbi says…
    01/07/2010

    I love this idea! This year I have saved a few of the card that I really like and of course the pictures. Some of the cards will get used next year for tags and maybe for elements in my Dec Daily but this idea I have saved for next year.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. janie says…
    01/07/2010

    I donate most of my cards to the Pathfinder's (a co-ed club like girl or boyscouts). Then each year I help the kids design new cards with them (they love to cut and be creative. We take the group of kids to the nursing home and have a little party there, passing out cards, singing, sharing treats, and just talking and visiting with the people. My daughter loves it.

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  7. Amy says…
    01/07/2010

    I love this idea! Its too late for my cards this year, as I have already thrown out most of them, but I am definatly doing to do it next year. And now that I think about it, I might do an extra page in my Dec daily with the few I have left. Thanks for the idea!

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  8. janie says…
    01/07/2010

    Another thing I forgot to mention (I don't remember where I read it...maybe in the chicken soup for the soul books)...I read that this particular family keeps their cards in a basket on the coffee table...and they pull one out during their family devotions and pray for that family then put the into the "prayed for" basket. When all the cards have been gone through... they start the process all over again...until the following christmas. I love this idea...

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  9. Jill in Frisco, Tx says…
    01/07/2010

    I have always scrapped my photo cards received at Christmas, but always the majority of the card, hence, I end up with about 2-3 pages of Christmas cards in my scrapbook. It's always a nice way to close the end of that years book, plus the older I get I'm glad I didn't "cut" off other important information, like names. People come into and out of our lives so frequently in this mobile society its nice to look back to cards from the 80's and have names to go with the faces. (not to mention a lot of people send just their kids on the card and who can remember what kids belong to what parents 20 years later?)
    Thanks for sharing.
    ~Jill

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  10. Ginny says…
    01/07/2010

    I don't save the cards without photos, but I take all the photos and put them in a spcial photo album, only for Christmas pictures. We end up getting cards from the same people year after year so it is fun to go back and look at how people change. The photo album is always one of the first things I get out during our Christmas decorating and one of the last things that I put away!

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  11. Amanda Susan says…
    01/07/2010

    I add some cards to my daily December.
    As for donating, a woman I work with has a daughter that goes to a special needs school. They collect the cards each year to use as craft supplies throughout the year.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Amy says…
    01/07/2010

    wow, Emma and I made the cut in 2007 too! LOL! I have been very lax in sending Christmas cards the past two years. I am totally picking it up again this year! I love this idea and have done it the last few years.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Christine says…
    01/07/2010

    I do the exact same thing with my holiday cards. I do like your idea for using other images from the cards as well. I only use the pictures, so it will be fun to incorporate the other parts of the cards as well. Thanks so much for your never ending suggestions! There always a bonus!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. paula says…
    01/07/2010

    I put the cards that have writing on them in the back of my December Daily. Those that have no writing go into the "Christmas" supply box and will possibly used in my DD next year.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Arlyna says…
    01/07/2010

    Totally like this idea BUT I cannot seem to get myself to cut out any cards that we get. My husband also has a habit of keeping his cards. So we now have a huge box of cards which has moved with us from London, Taipei, and a couple houses while in Shanghai. We sometimes get drastic with throwing stuff out or giving to charity but not cards...

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Deb says…
    01/07/2010

    I use to keep all the cards in zip lock bags until I saw your first post. I love the idea!!! The christmas cards are slowing down with more electronic greetings but the family photos keep coming. But I wait until the mid January and crop them down to all fit in a page.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Suzette Mahoney says…
    01/07/2010

    I punch a hole in the top corner of each photo or photo card I get and put them on a jump ring. I tie a little ribbon on the jump ring and make a little cover with the year. I put them in a basket for us to look back through.....thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. mandy says…
    01/07/2010

    What a great idea! I was thinking of putting mine all in an envelope and including it in my December daily, but couldn't figure out what to do about the different sizes that were larger than my book (I did't want to hack up a few)....I think instead I will try some variation on this to make a few pages that can go in my book without adding too much bulk. And, if I cut them all, I won't feel so bad!
    Thanks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. cheryl says…
    01/07/2010

    I save them, but not in any particular way. I have lots of "vessels" like tins that get collected over the season each year and I usually choose one to put the cards in. Then I put that tin up with all the other Holiday decorations. When I find the tin in the years to come, I open it and look through. This year I found a box from several years ago and found some handwritten cards from loved ones who have since passed away. Now those little cards are treasures and it didn't clutter up or take up any real space. Almost like little time capsules in my crawl space. Thankfully, some people who send cards date them. That helps with perspective because they discoveries are random.

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  20. Kim K says…
    01/07/2010

    I am SO doing this! Thanks for the sharing!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Nicky from Canada says…
    01/07/2010

    Good Morning Ali
    I make two 12 x 12 layouts of all our pictures and specials notes (if I don't have enough pictures - but always manage to) - they are posted in our front hallway for the next year. The following year after all xmas greetings and cards are in by the end of January - I prepare 2 new layouts, file the old in my scrapbook for the prior year and carry on. Love looking at all our wonderful family and friends during the year.
    Have a good one.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. amy says…
    01/07/2010

    What perfect timing! Just this morning I shoved the pile of Christmas cards in a drawer in a moment of indecision over what to do with them. I'm totally doing this! thanks Ali!

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  23. may says…
    01/07/2010

    I save mine (who could throw away beautiful photos?) but now I know what I will do next year when I pull out the box of past photo cards. Scrap them! LOVE this idea so much - thank you for sharing!

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  24. Leora Henkin says…
    01/07/2010

    I tend to keep my cards. I can't bring myself to get rid of them and I do (sometimes) go back and look for specific things. I would love to make a layout like you do. Maybe this is the year1 thanks for the inspiration.
    Leora

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Melanie says…
    01/07/2010

    Thank you so much for this idea! I don't know how I have missed this since I am an avid reader of your blog, but I am rushing home today to start this project. I usually end up tossing out our cards each year after I've hung onto them for a few months. Thanks again!

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