Holiday Card Puppets

We took our tree down on New Year’s Day. It was a Saturday and my brother was visiting, so we chatted with him the whole time we were dismantling the spray-painted macaroni ornaments and star garlands, and maybe for a minute or two might have fooled ourselves into thinking we weren’t doing what we were doing. What is it that is so depressing about taking down the tree? Is it because all you can think of while you are doing it is the seemingly short time ago that you were erecting it, hot chocolates on the table, Frank Sinatra crooning carols on the iPod, a whole glorious week of vacation ahead of you? But arguably, I think what can be more depressing than dismantling the tree is not dismantling it. In my mind, a tree up past January 1 is like having ice pops for dessert on a ski trip: sad and wrong.

We are a bit less ruthless in our disposal of holiday cards — mostly because it is hard for me to come to terms with the fact that the discarded photographs of my friends’ children are sitting in the recycling bin with a broken down box of Trader Joe’s Multigrain Pancake Mix. So the cards get a stay of execution for a little while and take on a new life in the form of these “skewer puppets.” The girls and I cut out silhouettes of a few kids (and pets if we’re lucky) then tape a wooden skewer (popsicle sticks work, too) to the back so the sharp point is covered with tape. Then the girls get to put on a puppet show with some old and new friends — like the children of our college pals who they’ve never met and who may be shocked by the sight of their butchered up cards. Sorry Brian and Beth!

(P.S. Remember Christina’s cool annual ritual? She turned cut-up holiday cards into placemats.)

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We put the cards in the ornament boxes so that when we open the box the following Christmas we can compare cards to see how much the kids have grown. Or to see who didn’t send us a card this year, Harumph!

This is a fun way to recycle all those cards though!


Wow, I can totally relate to your sentiments in this post – taking down the tree vs. putting it up, respectfully throwing away your friends’ childrens’ faces. Thank you!


I’m with Mamacita up there–January 6 ends Christmas, and not a moment before. And the good part about it is that by now–I’m *ready* to take the stuff down. Plus, this year as a bonus, it gets me one more snow on our outside tree.
Also: we have a Christmas card album for the photo cards–each year we go through and put in the photo cards and talk about who these families are and why we love them. I like the skewer puppets too!


agree with Amanda–my oldest sister has kept the photos in a box that gets put away and taken out with the Christmas stuff, and it is hilarious to go through the umpteen years’ worth with her (now teenage) daughters, as they look at photos of their friends and neighbors when they were all so little. (with all the archive, it’s hard not to notice how much better the card quality has gotten, and how much more designy-designy they are now.)

Alexis Dorst

too funny — my daughter will be very excited to see herself here. we make collages of the pictures, laminate them and use them as placemats all year. That will be tomorrow’s snowy day activity.


Hmm. I love both the puppet idea and the putting them in a box until next year idea. We are taking down our tree tonight – will see what the kid votes for doing with the cards!

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}

What a cute idea! I love this. I saved my cards this year and my husband called me a hoarder! It’s so hard to throw away all those cute faces. Now I have a fun project to do with my daughter. Thank you! 🙂