Christmas DIY: Cinnamon Cranberry Garland

My kids aren’t allowed to watch television.

Don’t worry, it’s not cruel and unusual punishment (except maybe for me).

They used to be allowed to watch a small amount of television, but they quickly became so addicted that if a day happened to pass where we didn’t get around to 20 minutes of TV time my house quickly turned into Main Street of Meltdown City. No thanks.

I know it’s better for them this way, but I have to admit, some days I really kick myself for our No TV standard, because twenty or so minutes of three preschoolers in a television-induced silent coma sounds like pure parenting utopia.

But for the most part, they’re good at engaging in minimally supervised activities for short amounts of time when I have something to do.

I did not expect the making of Cinnamon Cranberry Garland to be one of those “minimally supervised” activities. Needle, thread, rolly polly cranberries… but it was! Call me shocked.

This is your standard string of fresh cranberries for Christmas decorating. Most of the examples I found around the web mixed in popcorn with the cranberries, but my husband detests the smell of popcorn. I think it reminds him of the sound of popcorn being chewed, which might actually give him a feeling of being physically ill (don’t ask).

Anyway, we don’t have popcorn around much, and cinnamon smells a whole lot better, so we decided to string cinnamon sticks on with our fresh cranberries.

My girls chose a pattern of five cranberries, one cinnamon stick. We used cheap wax floss (not minty) for the string and a dull, ball-point needle.


[Side note: I think this probably goes without saying, but if you are going to involve kids in cranberry garland making, PLEASE make sure you use a needle with a rounded tip, not a pointy tip. You really don’t want anyone to poke their eyes out.]

All I did was secure the first cranberry with a knot, and my four-year-old and three-year-old went to town. This is serious concentration.


They counted out five cranberries at a time, and settled on a sharing system where one girl threaded five cranberries and a cinnamon stick, then she handed off the needle to her sister who did the same. With the super long string, whoever wasn’t threading would help to slide the berries down to the bottom.


I have to admit, I was so shocked at how well they were working together and how long they concentrated on their project that I didn’t even manage to get any work done while they were occupied. I was too busy staring at them with my mouth open.


I guess this is what happens when you find a project they are actually excited about. Fascinating.

The only problem they had was getting the needle to go straight through the cranberry – it would skew and pop out the side occasionally, but after a little practice they got it more often than not.

They can’t handle a string long enough to make a full tree garland, so we’re working on several smaller sections that we’ll put together at the end.


Especially if you have older kids to help regulate, this would be a great activity to occupy the kids during Thanksgiving prep or cleanup, and you have a jumpstart on your Christmas decorations!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Don’t forget to peer out of your kitchen once in a while at all the things you’re thankful for and the people that truly make you happier, like a posse of munchkins.



2 thoughts on “Christmas DIY: Cinnamon Cranberry Garland

  1. Found your blog from PW homeschooling. Took a peek around. Love your photos. And I’m commenting here because this garland sounds amazing. Think I’m going to go buy some cranberries and cinnamon sticks. Thanks for sharing

    • Thanks, Susan! If I was going to make another one, I would do a higher cranberry-to-cinnamon ratio because the cinnamon sticks can be a little expensive; ten to twenty cranberries between cinnamon sticks would still have tons of cinnamon fragrance but use a lot less cinnamon sticks. And two bags of cranberries was plenty for our medium-sized tree (maybe 6 feet?). Enjoy!

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