I came across a great idea for those Christmas cards you have that you may be thinking of throwing away. Now you may be thinking why is Gena giving crafting tips?! But this is a great way to preserve the greetings, writing and signatures of family members and enjoy them year after year. However, this is not a way to archivally protect those items. So do not put your old Christmas cards that you want to save for posterity. Those should be placed in some sort of archival safe medium-like a scrapbook, page protector or acid free box.
This idea comes from my friend Bonnie. She recycled Christmas cards into place mats for her dinner table. She took her old Christmas cards and cut them into 3 inch circles. She used a can lid to measure and cut the lids but you could also use a die cut machine, available at your local scrapbook stores, or you could choose a different shape like a square.
She then arranged them into a place mat size design so that the picture side of the Christmas cards were on one side and the writing on the other. She used laminate to laminate it all together and allow it to last year after year. The laminate allows her to wipe the place mat down with a damp towel after each use. She used the clear, adhesive shelf paper liner that you can purchase at the grocery store, hardware store or place like Target or WalMart. You could probabably use any kind of laminate you may have handy.
Like I said before, this is not an archival method for saving your family history. It is simply a fun way to reuse your cards that you were going to throw away anyway. Bonnie did it because she liked the fact that she could look at the handwriting of her family members year after year.
I found 2 websites that have a similar idea that may be of help in creating your placemats, http://www.aokcorral.com/how2dec2000.htm and http://www.mycraftbook.com/craftidea.asp?craftID=167.
I plan on doing this project with my kids. This might be a great way to introduce your grandkids to all their family and to family history.