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You get so much cheer from the holiday cards you receive -- but very little joy out of the clutter they tend to create. We asked five prominent DIYers to share their most creative ideas for decking the halls with paper greetings.

Christmas cardsHow are you displaying your Christmas cards this year? Photo: Tim Morgan, Flickr

It's that time of year -- or that week to be particular. The week when all of your friends' and family members' Christmas cards start rolling in en masse. Holiday cards are a joy to receive to be sure. But the tumbling avalanche that occurs when you add another card to the bunch? Not so much.

This year, we wanted a creative way to display our cards -- not the old standby solutions, like displaying them on the mantel or hanging them from a ribbon or string. So we asked a bunch of clever crafters to reveal their favorite, most unexpected ways to display cherished greetings. Here, several great ideas that are far from ho-ho-ho-hum.


Brooklyn-based lifestyle blogger, Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien, suggests going for maximum impact with minimal effort: Tear off strips of washi-paper tape and stick the loveliest cards onto a bare wall to spell out words that invoke the spirit of the holiday: Nöel, Joy, Peace -- even favorite song titles like Silent Night. The result? Walls that sing!

Centsational Girl ribbon treeDIY blogger Kate crafted this ribbon tree to display her holiday cards. Photo: Centsational Girl

DIY blogger Kate, aka Centsational Girl, cooks up a new DIY plan for showing off her holiday cards every year. This year she's "grown" a ribbon tree.

To do the same, you'll need the following:
• 2x3-foot corkboard
• Large piece of fabric (any color) for the background. It needs to be large enough to wrap around and cover the board entirely
• Small scrap of fabric (different color than background) to cut into a tree base
• 3 yards of ½-inch thick velvet ribbon (any color) for "branches"
• 3.5 yards of 2-inch thick ribbon (a pattern is especially nice) for a border
• Staple gun
• Fabric glue
• Ball peen hammer
• Three packages of decorative nails

Step 1: Stretch the fabric as taut and evenly as possible over the surface, flip the board over, and fold fabric under (to create a nice hem). Then staple it in place on one side at a time. Tip: It's best to staple one side, stretch the fabric tightly again, staple the side directly opposite, then re-stretch and repeat on another side until all sides are complete.

Step 2:
Cut the ½-inch thick ribbon (for branches) into:
• Two 6-inch segments
• Two 8-inch segments
• Two 10-inch segments
• Two 12-inch segments
• Two 14-inch segments

Step 3:
Cut the 2-inch thick ribbon (for border) into:
• Two 2-foot segments
• Two 3-foot segments

Step 4:
Secure the ribbon "branches" of your tree by pounding decorative nails into the tips. Start with the topmost branches, using the shortest ribbon segments; the branches should increase in length as they travel down the tree trunk.

Step 5:
Add the base of the tree; fold the edges under and use nails around its perimeter.

Step 6:
Glue the 2-inch ribbon around the corkboard frame.

"Hang" your cards on the tree's branches using thumbtacks.

Pottery Barn Wakefield ChandelierGet inspired by Pottery Barn's Wakefield Chandelier. Photo: Pottery Barn

Prop stylist Kirsten Fields recently saw a tiered chandelier -- complete with clips to showcase anything from photos to finger-paintings -- in Pottery Barn and realized it's quite easy to make your own (minus the lights).

You'll need:
• Three wooden embroidery hoops (one large, medium and small)
• Scissors
Monofilament (a type of fishing line that's also used for crafts)
• Package of tiny wooden clothespins
• One yard of 1 ½ -inch thick festive ribbon

Step 1: Cut twelve 6-inch lengths of monofilament. You'll use these to tie the hoops together.

Step 2: Tie and knot the medium-sized embroidery hoop to the smaller hoop in four evenly-spaced spots. (Although hoops will hang in descending-height order, it's easiest to construct this way.)

Step 3: Pick up the larger hoop and repeat step 2 with the medium sized-hoop.

Step 4: Turn the piece upside-down, so that the smallest hoop is closest to the floor. Then tie the last four pieces of monofilament to the largest hoop and knot them to form a hook.

Step 5: Snip off excess monofilament, attach clothespins to each tier and add cards.

Step 6: Cut desired length of ribbon, tie it to the monofilament hook and hang!

NYC-based prop stylist Meghan Guthrie of Etsy shop Marshmallow Guild uses greetings from Christmases past to build a holiday card house.

Step 1:
Start by setting aside two of the prettiest cards for the walls.

Step 2: Grab a utility knife and carve out several windows and one (semi-attached) door.

Step 3: Construct a simple box by opening up the two cards and taping -- or sewing both together with red or green embroidery thread via evenly-spaced punched holes -- along the inner sides.

Step 4: Cut pieces of card "shingles" for the roof, and glue the shingles onto each other in an overlapping pattern. Then stick the finished roof onto the card house.

For added visual interest, use pinking shears to snip cute rutted edges. Guthrie likes to mount the completed home on a piece of plain cardboard and surround it with peat moss and tiny plastic animals.

Bonus idea: Create a landscape around the house by using extra holiday cards to make tree foliage! Cut two or three other cards in half. Recycle the written sides. Roll the picture-portions into loose or tight cones to make tree foliage. Secure inner edges with transparent tape. Cut a recycled-cardboard toilet-paper roll into thirds (it doesn't matter whether it's even; you want trees of different heights and widths). Glue the card foliage to the cardboard trunks. Settle trees into the peat moss landscape for a complete holiday cards homestead!

Christmas card ornamentsUse old Christmas cards to make glittery tree ornaments. Photo: Erinn Valencich

Here's a great idea for upcycling cards from Christmases past into festive holiday decor. Erinn Valencich, interior designer and host of HGTV's 25 Great Holiday Ideas, cuts up her cards and fashions them into shimmery 6-inch tree ornaments.

Before you follow her lead, it's important to decide how many ornaments you'd like to make: You'll need three greeting cards to make each one. Tip: Make a 2.5-inch cardboard template before you begin and use throughout the process for consistency.

Step 1: Cut out 15 colorful 2.5-inch circles from the illustrated portions of 3 different holiday cards.

Step 2: Choose 3 dissimilar circles and fold each one in half -- just to make a crease.

Step 3: Glue two circles together on one side (illustrated side out) and wait a bit so the bond has a chance to set.

Step 4: Carefully smear glue all over the inner sides of the attached circles, and stick them onto to the third circle, which is lying flat. The circles should now form a three-dimensional triangular shape.

Step 5: Press the 3 circles firmly together and let sit.

Step 6: Repeat steps 2 through 5, a total of four more times.

Step 7: After they're dry, dip outer edges in glue and roll in a bowl of sparkly glitter.

Step 8: Punch a hole in the top and thread with yarn. Knot the top and add a wire hook, or display the orbs among springs of winterberry and pine branches for a festive Christmastime centerpiece to enjoy year after year.

Tell us how you display your holiday cards in the house!

  • Gina Mortenson

    Oh my gosh, the glittering card ornaments bring up such wonderful memories of Christmas past with my Grandmother...thank you! My favorite way to display Christmas cards is by tying individual cards to the spindles of my stair bannister. A festive way to decorate and it is easy to see all of the cards. Thanks for the great article!

  • Dana

    I tape them all to the inside of my front door.. that way everyone that comes and goes looks at them including me , and it brightens my day.. a lot of cards are photo cards these days so you get to see all your family and friends like a large photo collage..

  • thinkingperson

    We have a whole 10' wall covered with received cards, and this year we added glittery (gold, red, blue, and silver) snowflake, butterfly, and 'word' ornaments (Peace, Hope, Joy, Merry Christmas). And in the center is a large cross made of red and white ribbon bows encircled by white glittery garland. This year these's no room to put the tree, so the wall makes the room very festive!

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