I dug out my Christmas decorations yesterday in anticipation of decorating the cottage in a couple of weeks. And when I dug them out, I was faced with stacks and stacks of old Christmas cards, as I am every year. Only this year is different because this year I have decided to disassemble (most of) the cards so that I can do a bit of upcycling and recycling.
It’s not easy to do, that’s for sure. But at the same time, when I’m gone someone else would just be throwing them out so I may as well help them out! And this way, I get the joy of re-reading notes and of re-using these lovely images. And I’ve not torn all of them to bits! No, I have kept the cards that my parents sent me along with a few others that have more sentimental meaning. (Not that I’m not sentimental about everyone I know who sends me cards, but there are degrees!)
It was actually a cathartic (and slightly sad!) process. As I cut the fronts of the cards away from the backs, I stacked envelopes and occasional “Christmas Letters” (like the ones Paul and I used to send) into a pile for straight paper-recycling, and the backs of the cards were separated based on how and if they could be recycled. The fronts of the cards were then stacked into piles based on their potential re-use. Ones with writing on the other side were placed in a pile for crafts whilst others were split into piles based on their suitability to act as gift tags, wrapping materials, or non-Christmas uses.
By the end of it all, I had a rather large collection of paper for the recycling bin – and quite a bit of extra space in my storage box!
So far, I’ve used about 10 of the old cards as gift tags, wrapping material, and little notes of Christmas joy. I was thinking that I might make some nice garland with the rest of the cards but the reality is that I won’t. Instead, I’ll keep the rest with my Christmas decorations and will slowly use them up over the next few years.
I feel that I receive fewer and fewer cards each year, in part because people are either too busy to send them or have decided to use their money to support a good cause instead of sending cards. That means that as time goes on, I will have fewer and fewer cards to disassemble in the future. And that’s nice because I won’t then have to feel bad for not keeping a card. But it’s also sad because it means that the lovely tradition of Christmas cards is slowly becoming a thing of the past. And it’s always been a tradition I’ve loved, so I will be sad to see it gone.
As for me, I will keep sending cards – although I admit that my list has grown smaller and smaller over the years. And if you’re one of the lucky few to be on my Christmas card list, please know that I am OK with you getting rid of the card I send. (Hopefully with some sort of recycling or upcycling process!)