Have you been looking for bags of fresh cranberries and have come up short? Is your freezer section at the grocery store devoid of the glistening globes? Have you noticed a smaller portion of sauce on your Swiss Chalet Festive Special dinner? Have you heard? There is a cranberry shortage! The shortage is partially due to a dry season and smaller yields but also because of the increasing popularity of the cranberry. It used to be that Christmas was the high season for cranberry demand but the widely touted health benefits of cranberries have made them in high demand all year round. Cranberries are used in everything from trail mix, to baked goods to cocktail. The sweet dried version has become as popular as the California Raisins dancing to Marvin Gaye in the 80â€™s. So what will we do for Christmas dinner? Here are some alternatives to cranberries to consider: Cranberry Sauce Substitutes: try a fruit chutney â€“ dried fruits are widely available and make great combos for savoury meat. Apricots, figs, dates and prunes are all good choices. Look for kumquats; these are the tiny oranges you see in the produce section. You can cook them and eat them skin and all - they make a nice tart sweet sauce not unlike the cranberry, great compliment to turkey or goose. Baking Substitutes: blueberries fresh or dried make a pretty good substitute for cranberries, If you want the bright red colour, depending in the recipe, raspberries may work. Dried Cranberry Substitutes: Why not use raisins? So out of vogue these days, they must be poised for a comeback. Lead the pack and send your kids to school with a little box of raisins instead of the de-rigueur dried cranberries, put them back into your oatmeal cookie and bran muffins and hot cereal. Remember they are high in iron and Iâ€™m sure once the raisin resurgence takes off a whole lot of other health benefits will be attributed to the lowly raisin. Decorating Substitutes: Skip filling vases with cranberries and nestling candles in amongst the precious fruits This year sacrifice the mandarin oranges, pine cones or what about the old Poinsettia, whatâ€™s wrong with that! Save the cranberries for the turkey!