The Greeting Card Association says Americans purchase some 6.5 billion greeting cards every year. Of those, around 1.6 billion are Christmas cards. Exchanging cards is a great way for people to show their loved ones that they’re thinking about them, and such cards make for festive ornaments to display around homes. But when the holiday season ends, recycling those cards into other items can make good use of the paper resources and turn what’s normally a single-use item into an enduring trinket.

· Turn this year’s cards into next year’s gift tags. Cut out circles, rectangles or any shape you desire. Otherwise, visit the scrapbooking aisle of your favorite craft store and purchase a paper punch to make easy work of cutting those shapes.

· Transform a greeting card into a mini puzzle for a youngster.

· Glue silly characters from Christmas cards onto a sheet of magnet. Then use these magnets for decorations next year.

· Frame favorite cards so their messages can endure year after year.

· Turn a beautiful card into a keepsake. Use a decoupage medium to attach a card to a ceramic or wood backing. Coat with a polyurethane top coat to protect it.

· Use greeting cards to make wine charms for holiday entertaining. Guests can keep track of their glasses with ease.

· Use cut-outs of cards to improve the appearance of plain gift wrap or bags.

· Insert cut rounds of greeting cards into the inside of can lids to create crafty ornaments.

· Make a paper Christmas tree from cutouts on greeting cards.

· Encourage kids to make a photo collage from the cards they like. Mount their efforts on poster board and save for next year.

· Donate used cards. St. Jude’s Ranch recycles greeting cards by reselling them to help fund programs.

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