How to make a popcorn and cranberry garland for the birds

Christmas is a time to share with loved ones, whether family members, friends of nature or both. Creating a cranberry and popcorn garland for the birds is a great way to do both.

To create a garland of popcorn and cranberries, all that is needed is a bag of frozen cranberries, plain popped popcorn, heavy thread and one needle for each family member. Other ingredients can be added, such as grapes, slices of oranges or even raisins. This is an activity that is made for everyone in the family from young to old. The popcorn strings best if it is a little stale, so it could be made a few hours, or a day, before the activity is to begin.

By using frozen cranberries, the mess is kept to a minimum. Otherwise the cranberries can become a juicy mess. The needle needs to large enough to make the task easy without being too big to pierce the fruit and popcorn without destroying it. Even though this is a family activity, children need to be supervised so they do not poke their fingers with the needle.

For the thread, regular sewing thread will work, but a heavier thread will be stronger and hold up longer outdoors.

Once all of the ingredients are gathered, it is time to begin stringing. Thread the needle with the thread but do not cut the thread. By leaving the thread attached to the spool, the garland can be as long as needed.

One of the ways to string the garland is to alternate a kernel of popcorn with a piece of fruit. Or another way is to string popcorn then cranberry and then another fruit, if desired. Other patterns can be designed by each creator. Perhaps they like to have two popcorn kernels and then a piece of fruit. There is not a right or wrong pattern; the birds will love it regardless. As the items are placed on the thread, gently push it down the thread toward the spool. If shorter strings are desired, the thread can be cut from the spool to the length desired. The end of the thread should be double-knotted to help secure the food on the thread.

This is not a quick activity, but it makes great family memories. Perhaps this is a time to listen to Christmas music, or watch some movies, or just take the time to talk with the family members.

When the garlands are strung, double knot the threads and then they can be placed on an outdoor tree. The birds will show their appreciation by displaying their beautiful colors and songs.

There are other decorations that the birds would love. Cover a pine cone with peanut butter and then roll it in bird seed. By placing a loop of thread around one end of the pine cone, this bird-friendly decoration can be hung from a branch and give another focus for the birds.

Stringing cranberries and popcorn add some decoration to outdoor trees. Or they can be hung on an indoor tree for an old-fashioned look. Then when Christmas is over, hang it outdoors to give as a gift to the birds.