They are fresh. Unfortunately, they don’t stay that way.

The folks at Ocean Spray Cranberries say “to dispose of the garland after a day or two, before berries get soft.”

Two days? Stringing cranberries is way too much work for one or two days of decoration! Racking our collective memories, we may have kept strung cranberries on a Christmas tree for as long as two weeks, but we do recall them looking pretty tired at that point.

Ocean Spray says you can spray shellac on the strung berries to prolong their life, but only if you promise to hang the garland indoors, where birds and squirrels won’t try to eat your shellacked berries.

There is a consensus that using all cranberries is pretty time-consuming and labor-intensive, and requires a lot of cranberries. An awful lot of people generously intersperse them with unbuttered, unflavored popped popcorn, but you can also use acorns, small pinecones, cinnamon sticks, or other rustic decorations on your string (and you will probably also need a drill). Fishing line, dental floss, a craft wire, or another fine, strong line will be essential to your project. Waxed dental floss and possibly waxing your needle may make it easier to string the cranberries.

Fresh cranberries have a remarkable ability to stain, so keep your garland away from cloth or light painted surfaces.