One of the things that I love about this time of year, in addition to all the good food, is the giving and receiving of Christmas cards. I know that this is a lost or dying art to many but now, as postage has gone up and up, I think of Christmas cards as little gifts sent to all the people I care about. And there's nothing better than getting a card in the mail, expecially when it contains a handwritten letter or photo. But what to do with the cards after the season is over? I hate to waste the glittery card stock, or the shiny Christmas scene. So here is what I do. I pack all the cards away with my wrapping paper for the following year. When I start my holiday wrapping, I take out the cards and enjoy them once more. Then I cut them into tag sized pieces and use them again for hang tags on my gifts. You will find the most beautiful scenes, pictures, and even some verse. Cut them with fancy paper scissors that pink or cut in a wavy pattern or if you have edge punches, that's perfect! If you have large craft punches, you can use them to cut out tags too.
And don't stop with recycling cards! I keep boxes from year to year and bows and ribbon as well. And we have recycled gift bags forever! Sometimes when the handles break, I will weave ribbon or twine for new handles to prolong the life of the bag. I even recycle wrap if it is in large enough pieces to be used. Did you know that you can iron some wraps? You want to use a warm iron on the back of the paper. If the paper is metallic or glittery, you don't want to do this. If the wrinkles won't come out by finger pressing, you may not be able to reuse. I like the way the gifts look under the tree when all the paper is different.
And don't be afraid to ask recipients of your baked treats to return the container when finished. If they expect to get additional refills, they will be delighted to do so. I love to share my cookies, breads and canned goods and I always let the giftee know that I would like the containers returned. It, in no way, diminishes the giving.
Hope these ideas help to make your Thursdays and everyday a bit thriftier.