Recycled Holiday Card Gift Tags

What You’ll Need:

Used Holiday Cards
String or Ribbon


• Find a Holiday card with a fun design
• Draw a fun shape around the design in pencil
• Carefully cut out your shape with scissors
• Use the eraser to remove any pencil marks left on the card
• With help from an adult, make a small hole near the end of your tag
(if you have a hole punch this works wonderfully)
• Tie a short piece of string or ribbon through the hole
• You now have a great gift tag
• Repeat with another card!

A young child on a rocking horse. There are holiday cards on the wall.
This is me! Do you see the cards on the wall behind me?

We had many holiday traditions growing up. From putting up the tree as a family, writing a holiday card to everyone we knew, finding a sock full of fruit at the end of our beds on Christmas morning, to spending Boxing Day at my Nanny Daisy’s house. We always had so much fun. However, one of my favorite holiday activities would also take part during the cleanup process. Yes, we had to take all the ornaments off the tree, clean up the decorations and pack them away too, but I would always carefully collect all our holiday cards. We always had a lot of cards, they would cover the doors, we would even have to pin up string across the walls to hang them on. Once I had collected them all, I would place them into a shoebox and take them to my other Grandma’s house, my Nanny Gladys.

Nanny Gladys loved to recycle things, and reusing these cards was one way she could do that. She would turn all of our holiday cards into gift tags to be used for next year.

A Grandma holding a baby.
My Nanny Gladys and I in 1981
A pair of scissors and 2 holiday cards

So then would sort all the cards into types. The ones with Robins, the ones with Snowy scenes, the cards with Santa and the reindeer, the ones with jokes and many more. Then would come the fun part. She would challenge me to create as many unique styles of gift cards, using as many different Geometric shapes, as I possibly could. So, I would look through all my holiday cards and figure out which shapes would be the best to cut out around the assorted designs.

A pencil and a holiday card. The design on the holiday card has been outlined.

Many of the cards had such big designs on them that I had to use a Rectangle or a Square, but sometimes I would find an interesting design that I could cut into a Diamond, Rhombus or Trapezium, all while keeping the great picture on the tag. Some of the hardest shapes to cut out where the Ellipse, Crescent and Heart because of the curved lines, so I had to be extra careful and really concentrate. This is when I figured out it was a clever idea to draw the design on the card, very lightly in pencil, and use that line to cut out my shape. Then I would erase any pencil lines you could still see

A pair of scissors, some ribbon, and a cut out of a holiday card design.

The next part was tricky, I had to find the best place to make a small hole so I could tie a short piece of ribbon to complete the holiday gift tag. Usually at the top of the design, but sometimes it made more sense to have the hole at the side of the picture, depending on the shape. My Nan would always help me cut these small holes, and then one year she had found a hole punch and that made things much easier, and cleaner. Once we had completed that part, then came the ribbon tying. We usually cut around 6-8 inches of ribbon to make sure we had enough to tie a small knot, and then we had a great holiday gift tag!

Two gift tags made from holiday cards

I am looking forward to beginning this tradition with my own children, it is a great activity to do as you are packing away all your holiday and festive decorations, and a fun way to learn about geometric shapes!

What fun shapes would you make? Please feel free to share with us a photo of you and your loved ones making recycled Holiday Card Gift Tags. You can tag us at on Instagram and we may share your photo.