When the winter cold sets in and the holidays are in full swing, there is plenty of opportunity to hunker down inside with loved ones. But when the family gets a little stir crazy, it’s good to have some fun and easy craft ideas to keep everyone busy!

The folks at the Wisconsin Historical Society know all about good old-fashioned family fun. They’re offering an assortment of easy crafting activities along with their seasonal Ever Gleaming: The Enduring Love Affair with the Aluminum Christmas Tree exhibit at their museum, 30 N. Carroll St., through Jan. 13.

Not among those crafts, however, is a beloved tradition that used to be a staple in so many households—popcorn and cranberry garlands.

It’s a simple activity that can be “kind of addicting,” according to WHS public relations manager Kara O’Keeffe.

Popcorn/cranberry garlands are an easy step-by-step process:

  • Tie a knot at the end of the string.
  • Begin the string with a cranberry followed by popcorn and repeat.

That’s all it takes!

Although O’Keeffe had additional advice for string crafters: use fishing line or a thin jewelry wire since they’re easier to drape on a tree and are sturdier. Also try to pop the popcorn a day or two before doing the craft so it’s stale and the popcorn won’t fall apart as easily.

Munching on the popcorn while crafting might be tempting—and it’s OK to sneak a piece or two—but O’Keeffe had some tasty suggestions for any extra popcorn.

S’mores popcorn: Add chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and crushed graham crackers to the popcorn. Optional: melt some of the chocolate and drizzle over the popcorn.

Cheddar popcorn: Add powdered cheese and melted butter to the popcorn.

If the popcorn strings spur an excitement for more holiday crafts there are more to be done at the Ever Gleaming.

According to O’Keeffe, visitors are able to create their own small Evergleam tree, make other holiday decorations and take part in coloring activities at the museum’s Ever Gleaming exhibit.


Amanda Finn is an arts and lifestyle reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.