Wednesday, December 9, 2015


It's 'Old Fashioned Christmas' day tomorrow over at Jann Olson's blog, Have a Daily Cup.  I thought what is more old fashioned at Christmas than stringing popcorn as a garland for the Christmas tree.
Here is our tree this year with its popcorn garland.
Those of you that have read my blog over the last few years have heard about our tradition of the red balls and the popcorn garland.  For those of you who haven't heard -----
In Christmas 1958, we had been married three months, were still teenagers and poor college students.  We managed to scrape enough money together to buy a tiny tree and one red ball.  We painted the year on the ball, and strung some popcorn for a garland.  Here is a picture of that glorious tree from 57 years ago.
Every year since, we have bought a red ball and painted the year on it and added a popcorn garland.  That's 58 red balls now and a lot of popcorn.  When our kids were growing up, it was a family activity to string the popcorn.  After they left home and before the grand kids were old enough, Bob and I (mostly Bob) continued to string the popcorn.  The grand kids then strung a lot of popcorn with us, but are now teenagers and not around as much.
On the home tour last weekend, one of the most asked questions was about the popcorn.
Here are our secrets -- 
In order to keep the popcorn from crumbling,  string using a very fine (quilting) needle and strong quilting thread.  Keep your thread at about 20 inches long threading in short units, then tying the ends together to make longer garlands.  Try to stick your needle through the puffiest part of the popcorn kernel.  
But, here is our biggest secret of all that we figured out when kid labor was no longer available ----
The garland freezes wonderfully.  I have a big Tupperware container that we twirl the garland in, then stick it in the freezer until next year.  Every few years, it's necessary to replace some or all of it, but that is so much easier than doing the whole thing over each year.  And now you know!

 And ---Try not to eat too much popcorn as you string along.

I'm joining the following:
Common Ground for Christmas Open House Dec. 9th
Have a Daily Cup for Old Fashioned Christmas Dec. 10th
The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Smiling Sally for Blue Monday (stretching it with my Uncle Sam ornament!!)


Anonymous said...

Hi Sally! Your tree is beautiful! I'm amazed that that red ball has lasted since 1958! You must wrap them all up very carefully. Love the popcorn garland and we used to do this when I was a little girl. I was guilty of taking a few kernels and eating them right off the string at times! ;) I love your tradition of the red ball with the year on each one. Wish I had thought of that years ago! ;)
Your living room looks beautiful.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Liz said...

What a wonderful tradition you started with that first red ball and string of popcorn! Your tree is so pretty! We used to string popcorn and cranberries when the kids were little. But we always decorated the outside trees for the birds to enjoy after Christmas! Putting it in the freezer is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

SmilingSally said...

Hi Sally,

It seems that each time I visit you, I find yet another thing we have in common. We're the same age, we married in 1958, our first Christmas tree was about the same size, grandchildren helping with the tree, but the red ornament is uniquely yours. Creative!

I like your Uncle Sam blue; thanks for sharing.

Happy Blue Monday.

Ann said...

Fantastic tradition and that is what makes ornaments such wonderful memories!!!

Jeanne said...

I truly love your traditions today. Stringing popcorn is not something we do but I love te old fashioned look so much. Fiftyseven red balls is a wonderful tribute to your marriage. Nice post today.

LV said...

I understand and appreciate what you are saying. Back in my young days, we made do with what we could find. Popcorn was one of them.

joyh82 said...

Great idea, stringing the popcorn.
Love your tree, beautiful.
Hope you have a Very Merry Christmas!
Joy@Books and Life

The Charm of Home said...

Your tree is so lovely! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

Oh gosh Sally, I love the story of the red balls! Such a fun tradition, one that your kids will always remember and tell. Love your tips for stringing popcorn. Always thought it would be fun, but a lot of work. The best is the freezing tip! Thanks so much for sharing it with Creating Christmas!

doodles n daydreams said...

Oh what a lovely tradition, very poignant. I wonder, do any of your children have a similar tradition?


Cindy Lou said...

Great traction! Lovely tress ! Great old fashion ideas!