Most homeschoolers are conscientious recyclers of paper, plastic, and aluminum, but what do you do with all those beautifully decorated cards when Christmas is over? Don't throw them away or toss them into the closet. Incorporate any of these creative and easy art projects into your homeschooling day and recycle those Christmas cards to last another year, such as:

Christmas gift tags - You don't need to buy gift tags anymore - label your next year's Christmas gifts with recycled Christmas cards. Find an appropriate pattern, word, or picture on your card and cut it into 2" x 3" squares with pinking sheers. Then, use a paper punch to make a hole on one end. Finally, use left-over ribbon from opened Christmas gifts for the string.

Homemade Christmas cards
- What's better than a homemade Christmas card from a child? Your child can make his own cards for next year from the ones you received this year. Have your child cut out the front of the card with a pinking sheers or follow the outline of a particular design on the card. Glue the cut picture to a fresh piece of heavy weight construction paper folded into fourths. Your child can personalize his new card by adding additional designs, borders, and his own Christmas greeting inside. You can also use these "new" cards as thank you notes for the gifts that your child received for Christmas.

Christmas confetti - Pick the most colorful area of the card, and have your child use a round paper punch (punches can be purchased that make different patterns like trees, snowmen, etc.). You can even make confetti from left-over wrapping paper, too. Red, green, silver, and gold punches will make the prettiest confetti to be used in Christmas cards for next year or you can make other colors of confetti for different seasons of the year.

Christmas napkin rings - Cut out colorful strips from the cards and staple them together in one-inch loops for napkin rings. Make your strips wide enough to fold in the sides for smooth outside edges on your Christmas napkin rings.

Christmas ornaments - Have your children place a favorite Christmas cookie cutter over a colorful part of your Christmas card. Trace the outline and cut out the pattern. You can use these ornaments next year to decorate your child's room by attaching them to the walls with sticky tack or you can punch a hole in them and hang them on your tree with bright red ribbon. You can also decorate your child's bedroom door by cutting out the letters of your child's name. Letter templates work best, but if you have an expert with the scissors, let him try cutting out the letters free hand. For a finishing touch, border the edges of your ornaments and letters with a black marker.

Christmas gift bags - Decorate those paper sacks you've accumulated throughout the year and you'll have gift bags for next Christmas. Cut out the scene from the front of your Christmas card and glue it to the front of the paper bag. If the advertising on the paper sack is too large, you can carefully turn the bag inside out or glue the card to a 8½" x 11" piece of red or green construction paper before attaching it to the sack. Add a final touch of ribbon or a bow above the card and wrap your gift with inexpensive tissue paper when you use your bag next year.

Christmas card placemats - Have your child cut out their favorite scenes and words from the Christmas cards and glue them together in a collage on a heavy weight piece of paper. Laminate your Christmas collage placemat between two pieces of contact paper or take the placemats to a print shop to be professionally laminated.

So stop throwing away your old Christmas cards! Be a good steward of God's earth instead and recycle those Christmas cards using the homeschooling supplies you already have on hand. There's no need to buy your next year's Christmas supplies at those after Christmas sales! Simply use what you already have and help your child discover the joy of making inexpensive, homemade Christmas gifts for next year.