Popcorn garlands took on a different look this year thanks to a local manufacturer.
With family-owned Jolly Time Pop Corn's 100th anniversary coming up, staff set out to partner with a cranberry farmer at the national level to illustrate a time-honored tradition of combining popcorn and cranberries for a holiday decor, explained Tracy Boever, director, PR & Marketing Communications at Jolly Time Pop Corn.
"The idea sparked from a colleague's continued family tradition of making popcorn cranberry garland," she said. "Our goal was to connect families across the nation through family traditions, gift giving and, ultimately, popcorn cranberry garland."
The enterprise illustrates that everything old is new again, Boever pointed out.
"Popcorn garland has served as a popular home decoration in early American homes," she said. "You can make your own garland to decorate a tree, either inside or outside your home, using popcorn and cranberries. After you take the tree down, you can even place the garland outdoors and give a great treat to the birds. This simple craft is appropriate for all ages."
Jolly Time publicized the endeavor on the Internet. What surprised Boever was how passionate bloggers have been to get involved in this program.
"We had nearly 300 bloggers apply to be a part of the holiday outreach," she said. "Our goal was to find 75 websites that were best aligned with the Jolly Time brand. Many bloggers were motivated to participate because they were so excited to start, and continue, this new tradition with their families."
Danielle Simmons of San Diego, Calif., is a work-at-home-mom of two children ages 2 and 4 and writes at the Simmworks Family Blog.
"I'm always looking for great crafts to do with the whole family to provide a bit more family time into our busy schedules," she said. "This holiday garland was not only a fun craft to do with the family but also incorporated one of our kids favorite things: fresh popped popcorn."
Simmons, whose Sioux City connection is her great aunt, Karen Luken, blogs about her family life, the journey to healthy living, her family's favorite recipes, going green, and crafting.
"I found it's much easier to string more popcorn and less cranberries together. Maybe a 10:1 ratio," she said. "When you’re done stringing up the popcorn and cranberries, you can use the leftovers to fill an empty glass vase for an added touch of holiday flair."
Another plus from this undertaking, Boever cited, was starting a garland tradition with others.
"In addition, the relationship-building and brand awareness for Jolly Time has been amazing," she said. "Partnering with another family-owned Midwest company, Habelman Cranberry Bros., and bloggers across the nation, as well as gaining new Pinterest fans and Facebook followers, while supporting the local food shelf has made this a meaningful holiday campaign for Jolly Time."
Even Boever has gotten the cranberry, popcorn garland fever.
"Growing up we had a lot of traditions, but not the popcorn garland," she admitted. "I do have a bag of cranberries in my fridge at home with a goal to do it the weekend before Christmas with my husband and two sons, Jack and Cael. I've found the key to easy stringing is to let the popcorn sit out overnight; otherwise, they break easily."