While living in a digital world, I have begun to appreciate cards in the mail in a special way. I like seeing “punny” cards and the families that show their realness by leading with the crying baby on Santa’s lap. It’s interesting to see the places that people have traveled and how super coordinated five people can look standing in a field wearing different shades of blue with a pop of orange. And, the hand-written notes go straight to my heart. This makes it even more difficult for me to know what to do with the cards AFTER Christmas. Recently, one my friends asked just this question on her social media feed, and I found some enlightening suggestions from her respondents as follows.

Keep them forever.

Many people said that they keep them in a bag or punch a hole and save them on a ring. One person said that they had cards dating back to the eighties! Bless their sentimental hearts. Sorry, I can’t go there, but if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy knowing that they are in the attic, then go for it!

Stack them up and then pray for one person/family each day/week.

This was a novel idea that I had never heard of and quite liked how you are honoring that family for sending joy in an envelope to you. Some suggested that they begin praying for a person or family each week starting January 1. Others hold onto the cards and bring them out during Lent praying for a family during each of the 40 days.

Another version of this was cutting up the pictures from picture collage cards and storing them in a stocking. During the next Advent/Christmas season, their children would reach in the bag and pray for the person in the picture that they pulled out of the stocking.

Bag them up and place them in the box with holiday decorations as a starting point for next year’s cards.

This is what I starting doing a couple of years ago. This is helpful for addresses, and it’s beautiful to see how families have grown from one year to the next. It also puts a limit on my clutter as I then recycle those cards after writing this year’s cards.

Personally reach back to those friends and family who sent you a card.

I’m going to try to do this by text/messenger this year. It makes my heart smile to see cards with the lovely faces of family and friends on my mantle. I often read the handwritten notes multiple times as well. I would like to honor that time and effort this year with return messages of gratitude.

Some years are busier than others and the Christmas cards don’t get sent. (Hand raise. Been there.) I also know people that opt not to send cards in order to decrease on their holiday craziness or to save on natural resources or to offer charitable donations in lieu of spending money on cards. This option of personally reaching back with a text, call or email might also be a special way to give back cheer to our friends and family.

Straight to recycle.

Quite a few people mentioned that this is the fate of the cards that they receive. So, maybe consider this when you are ordering cards next year. Regardless if you do any of the above, hopefully all cards eventually get recycled.

What are you going to do with your Christmas cards this year?

Allison Hall
Dr. Allison Hall, PT, MPT, DPT is part of tight knit party of five plus two rescue dogs. All three of her children were born in London, England during her family’s great decade abroad. She and her husband both grew up in Texas and returned in 2013 after purchasing a home after seeing it only via webcam. She finds joy in walking in nature, traveling almost anywhere, learning new things, pondering life intensely, caring for others deeply and doing anything that makes for a good laugh with family and friends. She is a pediatric physical therapist and the CEO/Founder of My Kid Blooms (mykidblooms.com), a digital resource for parents to find pediatric/OBGYN health-related information and professionals that match the needs of their families.



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