Ask Design Mom: Holiday Card Display

December 12, 2006

Ask Design Mom Question:
They are already arriving. Only one or two each day, but I know they’ll be pouring in soon enough. Don’t get me wrong — I love to receive beautiful cards in the mail, but I just don’t know how to display them. Don’t want anything too fancy or complicated. Any thoughts? And what about the photo cards? Please help, Design Mom!
Many Thanks —Allie

Design Mom Answer:
Love the question, Allie. I’m facing the same dilemma, and I’ll bet most of my readers are as well. I love temporary/disposable/easy to store solutions for Christmas Card Displays, because they’ll only be around for a few weeks. Here are a some ideas.

1) In a small space I love seeing a pretty basket or elegant bowl full of Holiday Cards on a console or piano. You can put the prettiest ones in front.

2) There are stands out there made just for this purpose, but many are inadequate for growing mailing lists. If you’re expecting a few select cards, try this or this. You could even use a display stand for your prettiest cards, and use a basket nearby for the rest. Maybe rotate cards in and out of the basket.

3) I’ve seen lovely displays of twine hung clothesline-style across a wide doorway, with cards attached with good-looking paper clips or tiny clothespins.

4) My best/easiest Christmas Card display was in an apartment where we had beautiful French doors made of shutters dividing the dining area from the living room. The shutter slots were perfect to slip the cards into. No tape. No tacks. And looked great. I no longer have shutter doors, but I totally have street-found shutters in my garage waiting for a project. And if you’re crazy like me, you probably do as well.

5) Last year, and this year, I’m using a spare piece of homasote (in the garage with the shutters) which I staple-gun fabric to. (This year it’s covered in some really rad fushia and red corduroy fabric my mom had in her sewing closet during my entire childhood.) Then I lean it against an empty wall — I don’t even attach it — and staple/tack the cards to the impromptu bullitin board. It’s a two errand project. You can buy homasote in 4′ x 8′ sheets at Home Depot for about $15. They’re not supposed it cut it down to smaller sizes for you, but if you speak sweetly to the power-saw guy, and it’s not busy, he’ll do it. I’ve also cut it down with a straight edge and a utility knife. Then you’ll need to stop at the fabric store. That’s it.

6) Speaking of projects, I think this Martha display is beautiful. Though it is definitely one for pretty cards only.

7) I love the look of vertical ribbons. Hang a few floor-to-ceiling in a not busy doorway or from the ceiling against a blank wall, then staple the cards to the ribbon. Use a heavy duty ribbon like grosgrain that can handle the staples. Keep the ribbons close together and kind of cram all the cards in letting them overlap each other to make a more casual, festive display, or carefully space and align them for something more formal. The more casual display allows you to sort of hide-in-the-back cards you don’t love.

8) This stuff looks like a possiblity. Has anyone out there used it? Can it be cut into shapes? Maybe a big circle above the couch. Or cut to panel size on a 5-panel door. A possible solution if you already have lots of cards to display, but not attractive if any of the sticky surface is showing.

9) Use what you have. Similar to my thinking with the shutter doors, look around your house. For example, do you have an easy to reach chandelier hanging over your dining table? You could hang 8-inch pieces of ribbon over each arm and pin a card to either end of the ribbon.

One important note: You don’t have to display every card you get. Notice that in both pics on this post, the cards displayed all coordinate in either color scheme or style — that’s what makes the display look good. If you’re going for pretty, just put out the pretty cards and tuck the rest away — although it seems like good manners to display anyone’s card that might be visiting your home over the holidays. On the bullitin board, I do actually display everything (cards, holiday party invitations, baby and wedding announcements I happen to receive in December), in a kind of jammed in collage-like manner. But the mix of photos and cards and colors and textures seems to work in my eclectic house. If I was going for simple or understated, I wouldn’t display every card.

Chime in, readers. How do you display your holiday cards?

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous December 12, 2006 at 9:07 am

That sticky stuff is cool…Wish I had seen that a month ago! We have a felt Christmas tree hanging on my wall that the kids make decorations for to countdown to Christmas. (it’s an advent tree in simple terms…lol)

Thanks for the ideas! The tree in the first picture is really really cute!


2 Emily S. December 12, 2006 at 10:04 am

I have used the ribbon idea (hanging from the ceiling to the floor against a wall) – but instead of stapling, I punch a hole in the corner of the card and string it on the ribbon. I alternate corners to balance the look. It’s worked pretty well and it’s easy.


3 sarah December 12, 2006 at 10:19 am

I use two big magnet boards from ikea and tiny extra strong magnets I bought on ebay. I start out displaying everything, then as the haul gets to be too much, I whittle it down to just photos and the really pretty cards. After Christmas, I leave the photos on the boards and move them into my sewing room, where we can view our famly and friends the rest of the year.


4 Anonymous December 12, 2006 at 10:43 am

i love that card tree! i’m going to make one!

i’ve hung cards on a ribbon by using a tiny hole punch to make a hole through the front and back of the card, then putting a cute little ‘brad’ through it to hold it on.


5 katie December 12, 2006 at 11:10 am

i have a mini album with slide in slots where i keep all the photos i recieve in the mail. Christmas cards, birth and wedding announcements.


6 brenbot December 12, 2006 at 11:40 am

too bad most holiday cards are not as cute as those shown in the pictures.


7 allie December 12, 2006 at 11:48 am

Thanks for posting my question and giving the great ideas!


8 Anonymous December 12, 2006 at 4:21 pm

I like photos kept in an album as Katie suggests. It’s fun to see families change, and when they come to visit you ten years down the road you can haul out the album.


9 Bubbles December 12, 2006 at 6:54 pm

I use the ribbon idea — make a bow for the top of the ribbons, hang them on a blank wall, and staple the cards as the come it. Most all the cards we get are family photos, so it is fun to have them all displayed. After the season is over, I file them in a large envelope with the year, and the hopes that someday they will be in a book . . . . . .


10 Jessie December 12, 2006 at 9:24 pm

One way to save/display Christmas cards, especially if you have small children, is to create a Christmas alphabet book. Using 8.5×11 paper and sheet protectors, you can use your cards as illustrations for the alphabet, i.e., A is for Angel, B is for Baby Jesus, C is for Candle. This could be an ongoing project, using cards from several years.


11 Anonymous December 13, 2006 at 1:36 am

Cute card ideas! Thanks for posting such cool stuff — even if we’re not trying to win something ;o)


12 amy December 13, 2006 at 2:39 am

Oh my you are all so creative…I tape the cards and pictures to my pantry door in the kitchen.


13 cruststation December 13, 2006 at 7:43 am

This post is fantastic, I love the display trees both of them so beautiful.


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