This old-fashioned garland can be strung in a flash -- and the results look good enough to eat.
To microwave the popcorn, pour the kernels into the paper bag and loosely fold the bag closed. Place the bag in the microwave. Cook on high for 3 to 6 minutes or until the popcorn has popped (the exact time will depend on the power of the microwave). It's done when the pops slow to a near stop.
Carefully remove the bag from the oven and open it to let the steam escape (an adult's job). Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and let cool. Open the bags of dried apricots and dried cranberries and pour into separate bowls.
Next, thread a needle with about 36 inches of white thread doubled to make the thread strong and a workable 18 inches long. Tie a knot at the end.
Choose a pattern to repeat, for example, two pieces of popcorn followed by a dried apricot, then two more pieces of popcorn followed by a dried cranberry. String several short garlands, then hang them on the tree.