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Ruby Beauty! 5 Cran-Crafty Ideas to Make Your Holiday Décor Pop

cranberries and white flowers floating in water in bowl

With their lovely crimson color and their sweet-tart flavor,  cranberries are a healthy (and gorgeous) staple at the holiday table. There are lots of ways to cook these ruby-hued hits, but you don’t really have to eat them at all: Cranberries also add a note of elegance to your holiday decor. Here are five ways to get cran-crafty with kiddos of every age:

1. Your Own Little Bog!

Cranberries are filled with pockets of air, which is why they float. (You and your wee ones can learn more about cranberries, and how they grow,  in this great video.) For a cheerful centerpiece, fill clear glass bowls or vases half way with water and then have your little one plop in fresh cranberries and watch them bob about. You can also add the heads of a few complementary flowers (such as white roses) or, once the centerpiece placed out of reach of little hands, floating candles

Great for: Toddlers who love putting things in bowls. 

2. Elegant Orbs!

Inexpensive foam balls, which can be found at craft stores, are the base for this easy project—you can also use foam wreaths or cones. Start by painting the foam balls red with craft paint and then set them aside to dry. Next, break a pile of toothpicks in half and push the broken end into the cranberries. If you want to make an ornament, cut a piece of pretty ribbon and pin it to the foam ball in a loop before adding the cranberries—but you can also just pile your finished orbs in glass bowls or place them on top of candlesticks for some playful décor. 

Great for: Three-year-olds who love building stuff.

cranberries and popcorn on a string

3. Festive Garlands!

All you need to make this festive decoration for the mantle, window, or Christmas tree is one or two 12-ounce bags of fresh cranberries, a sewing needle, and waxed dental floss. Floss is the ideal base for threading because it’s strong and slick, making sliding a cinch. Simply knot one end of a long piece of floss, and thread a needle onto the other; then pierce the cranberries with the needle and slide them to the end, filling up the length of floss. When you’re done, secure with another large knot. Kiddos who are old enough can help with the needle, while smaller ones can help slide the fruit down the floss. You can also add popped popcorn or cinnamon sticks to your garland for a little variety. 

Great for: Four-year-olds who love drawing (stringing a garland uses similar motor skills). 

Note: Cranberries are fresh fruit and will get mushy after 3 to 10 days if kept indoors. You can make them last longer by using your decorations outside, or coat them with shellac.

4. Tie-Dye Napkins!

Cranberries are used to make the all-natural dye for this awesome project from Kiwi Crate. The napkins will make a lovely addition to your holiday table or child’s lunchbox. 

Great for: All ages, depending on the task. Older kids can help in the kitchen, younger ones will love squeezing dye out of napkins. 

5. Cran-in-a-Can Craft: Adorable Garnishes!

Get your toddler in on the holiday table set-up by having her prepare a very special cranberry garnish. Open a can or two of jellied cranberry sauce and cut it into ½-inch slices. Place each piece on a cutting board and have your child use cookie cutters to cut fun shapes into each slice—turkeys, pilgrim hats, pumpkins, stars, hearts, etc. 

Great for: Toddlers who are discovering shapes and textures.

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