Handmade Christmas Cards - Christmas Shouldn't Cost the Earth

I have to admit that cards are one crafting thing that I have really mixed feelings about.  They are fun to make and there really are some amazing designs and creations out there - but being a practical person, I think about their short term life - and the waste created. I mean when you receive a card - how long to do keep it for? I stand mine up for all to see for a few days or even weeks, but then they are done - finished - used up!

Except for this awesome story that appeared a few months ago - of two brothers that have been sending each other the same card backwards and forwards for the past 40 years! Now that's recycling at it's finest! and certainly not a wasteful card!

I can't say I've been this good at recycling my cards but I do try to recycle and reuse them as gift tags and parts for future card making, but there is a big part of me wants to just ignore the whole card thing and send email greetings!

Why do we send Christmas Cards?

  It seems that the tradition of sending Christmas Cards originated when the postal service first began back in the 1840s as a way for the common people to use the service! Over the years it has gradually become more of a big thing as companies have mass produced cards for any occasion you can think of (and some you never would have thought of!).
So card giving does not have a warm fuzzy traditional meaning or origin - other than making use of an available service - which makes me feel better about sending e-cards - as that is now making use of the newer service of the internet and email - so I guess you can say it's continuing 'tradition'!

But for that part of me that likes actual Christmas cards...let's take a look at them!

Handmade or store bought?

 To be honest, I don't send many Christmas cards myself now - emails have taken their place for many family members and friends around the world.  But my girls still love to send cards to their school friends and teachers, and each year I do encourage them to make their own.

A couple of years ago, I admit I bought a large stack of commercial Christmas cards from the local supermarket. It was several week after Christmas and they were having a final Christmas stock clearance and I bagged several boxes of very cute cards for just a few cents each.  Cheaper than buying the card to make our own cards from, but not so personal or as much fun.

Making cards is a huge business these days - with endless scrapbooking papers, stamps, embellishments etc to buy and use. 
But I do think that you can make Christmas Cards at zero cost, to yourself by using materials you have at home - cereal boxes for cards and other bits and pieces you find - especially if you are a crafter and have any kind of crafting stash - fabric, paper, ribbons, bells, even junk mail!

Budget and Eco-Friendly Handmade Cards

For me, if I'm going to make cards, I want to be able to 'use what I've got' - and make something that can last for more than just a few days/weeks.
I love the idea of sewn cards - like this one:

But when so much effort is put into making a card and they turn out so pretty, you don't want to just throw them out - and they can no longer go in the recycle bin!
So here's an idea I've been thinking of for a while that I tried out. It still needs more work but here's the general idea..
A Christmas card that is also a ornament you can hang on the tree!

I made it using a cereal box, and some Christmas fabric with a piece of an old white shirt for extra padding.

I appliqué stitched around the snowmen - then stitched the fabric onto the card using an old blunt needle (I knew I saved them for something!).

trimmed the edges with my pinking shears,

then just added a little ribbon to hang the card with!
The back loop threads through the front loop to close the card when hanging. I think I needed a smaller loop at the front as my card didn't quite stay closed!

That's the idea anyway - a card that is, well, more than just a card - a keepsake if you like.
It's not a very exciting design, but it's a start and definitely something I'll be exploring more in the weeks to come. So if you have any suggestions or ideas please do let me know, and keep coming back to see what I come up with!

Of course there are endless ideas out there for recycling old Christmas Cards, so for all those store bought ones you receive from other people - you can turn them into new cards, gift tags and gift boxes for the next year! Another great budget and eco-friendly crafting idea!

There is plenty of inspiration for making Christmas cards on the 
which is full of budget and eco- friendly Christmas crafting ideas. (Feel free to ask to be a board contributor - the more the merrier!)

Finally, here are some fun facts about Christmas Cards to finish off with!

To see what other Eco and Budget Friendly Christmas crafting ideas I've explored and shared so far - visit the 
And do keep coming back each week for more!


  1. Love the idea, and I think your double loop construction is very cool. I must put my gray cells to work.

    1. Thanks Michelle,

      I've got one new idea to try this week and will post on the blog, still trying to figure out a better way to do the ornament one though!

  2. Good idea with the ribbon and the fabric...
    Would love to get such a card for Christmas!
    I'm still thinking how I'm going to make my cards this year...

  3. I have mixed feelings, too, Jill, but I know some of my friends would think it was a cop out if I sent emails, so I continue to send cards. However I now send photo cards made by my daughter. Hope you don't mind me including the link. No Christmas card there yet...
    Friends seem to appreciate the photo and I include a hand written message as well.

    Thanks for showing my sewn card. And I agree about recycling - you'd have to rip the fabric and threads off first. That one went to my Mum and I can guarantee she still has it. I only go to this amount of trouble for family and close friends.

    I do like your idea of cards that become ornaments. Look forward to seeing where you go with this one.

    1. Oh yes - custom cards are a great idea Pam - especially the ones with photos on. I've kept ones that I've received like that in my photo albums!
      I'm working on another idea for cards this week - hopefully will have it posted in the next few days!


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