Dec 302008

You all (I was going to write y’all, but I just can’t pull that off, being from the Midwest and all) know that I hate clutter. I’m always paring down and weeding out, and trying to make our life simpler. I have no problem parting with most things, but I do struggle in one area.

Greeting cards. I have trouble letting go of greeting cards.

I feel sentimental about words. I feel that if someone actually took the time to write me a letter or card, they must really care about me, and therefore, I must keep their words forever.

This year, I decided that I must be realistic. I can’t keep every single card I ever receive. It’s just not practical, and truthfully, I will probably never look at most of them again. So, I sat down with my memory box, and I went through all of my cards. It was easy to part with the ones that were just signed, with no handwritten message. I kept the ones that had special, funny, or touching messages. I also kept everything that my children have given me, and all of my husband’s cards and letters. He often writes very heartfelt and eloquent messages, and I could never part with any of them.


“Heather, you’ve taught me that bigger isn’t always better, and that less can be more. You’ve helped me to recognize that I can’t HAVE everything, while at the same time having EVERYTHING. I now know that possessions don’t bring lasting happiness. Together we have learned that true happiness means sharing your life with your great love.”

Uh huh. I know.

I also went through my girls’ cards, and when I added this year’s Christmas cards, I had a big pile of nearly 100 cards. I was going to throw them into the recycling bin, but there were many that were really charming and beautiful, so I decided to investigate creative ways to recycle greeting cards. Here are a few ideas:

1) ***My choice this year***St. Jude’s Ranch, a therapeutic residential treatment center for abused and neglected children, is accepting used, all-occasion greeting cards until February 28th. In their recycled card program, children make new, recycled cards by removing the front of an old card, and attaching a new back made with recycled paper. I removed all of my card fronts with my paper trimmer, to save work for the kids, and cut down on mailing costs.

2) You can make a wide variety of crafts with used greeting cards. I haven’t purchased gift tags in years, because I just cut out a pretty picture from an old greeting card, write the recipient’s name on it, punch a hole in the corner, and tie it to the package with ribbon. You can find other crafts that use recycled cards here.

3) In California, Arizona and Nevada, you can drop off cards in bins at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets until January 20th. As part of their “Recycle Your Good Tidings” program, they will recycle the cards and donate the proceeds from the recycled paper to American Forests, a non-profit organization that plants trees for environmental restoration.

4) Contact preschools, children’s hospitals, day-care centers, and nursing homes in your area. They often incorporate used holiday cards into their arts and crafts programs.

I’m sending my cards off to St. Jude’s today.

It’s nice to know that they will be used for a good cause.