What do you do with all your Christmas cards after Christmas has come and gone?

We’ve tried a few different things. Before the days of photocards, I would save the pretty paper and use it to make gift tags for next Christmas — and I would save any enclosed photos in an album, but those days are (mostly) gone.

This is what we do now. About 3 years ago, as Christmas mail arrived, I started putting it in a little basket so I could attend to it when I had a calm moment. Turns out, I liked keeping them in the basket, so I kept doing it. The basket has turned into a sort of Guest Book of Our Lives.

The basket stays out year round. Sometimes it lives in the family room or office. Once it even lived on the mantel because it looked good in the display I had put together. And through the year, I add graduation announcements, wedding invitations and baby notices. Because they’re stacked flat against each other, the cards don’t take up much space at all, and our basket can hold several years worth easily. If envelopes indicate a new address, I keep the envelope at the back of the basket until we’ve updated our records. Occasionally, I’ll clear out any cards we no longer need to keep, but mostly it just keeps filling up, up, up.

I love sitting with the basket every month or so to look through the familiar faces. It always makes me emotional — so many people that I love!

What about you? Do you keep holiday cards? Or do they hit the recycle pile with the Christmas tree?