'Critter' craze kicks off holiday season with hand-crafted ornaments

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Saturday, December 5, 2020
'Critter' craze kicks off holiday season with hand-crafted ornaments
These holiday critters made from all-natural plant material have become a decades-old tradition for many local families.

CHADDS FORD, Pa. (WPVI) -- "People have a spirit inside them that makes them want to make something happy," said Anna Marie Newman. "That's what's special about critters."

Newman has been volunteering in the critter workshop at Brandywine River Museum of Art for 31 years. While this year's traditions were altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the critter craze carries on.

Each of the 130 volunteers spent many months crafting from their own homes. They gathered all-natural materials such as pinecones, leaves and seeds to make these whimsical decorations.

"We've been in the business of preserving art and the environment for over 50 years," said Donna Gormel, Director of Volunteers and Events. "The money we raise benefits the museum volunteers' purchase fund and art education and programming."

Just this year, the museum has prepared 7,604 critters to sell, ranging from dancing bears to flying pigs.

"Every year, we add a couple new ones to the tree," said Dave Rudolph, who is carrying on a 15-year-long tradition to his young children.

This weekend's public sale will continue Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. However, the museum will continue to sell critters during their normal hours of operation as well as online.

"If there's something in one of these critters that hits the right chord, it makes you smile," said Anna Marie Newman. "I think maybe that could lift up a few hearts this season."

To learn more, visit their website.

RELATED: Historic holiday art shines at Glencairn Museum

You can now tour through the historic holiday displays at Glencairn Museum, a "priceless gem" in Montgomery County.