When I was a kid, my mom had one of those stove top popcorn makers from the 1950s that made the BEST popcorn. It had a wooden handle on the side and a little orange knob on the top that she flipped around with her finger, stirring the popcorn inside. Back then, she used shortening to pop the corn. When she had filled a big bowl full of popcorn, she'd melt some butter and pour it over the top and toss it with some salt.
In college, I had the electric type that had a big yellow top. When it was done, you'd flip it over and use the top as the bowl. Then came the air poppers and Orville's famous microwave popcorn. I've never cared for any of it. Nothing tastes like Mom's and I hope one day she'll pass down her beloved popcorn maker to me. Hint hint! :)
For years, I've made my own microwave popcorn by simply putting a handful in a brown paper bags and storing them in the freezer. I tape them shut with masking tape and when I feel like having some popcorn, I simply pull off the tape and set the bag inside the microwave for a minute and a half. I then melt a little butter and pour it and a dash of kosher salt over the top. It's still not as good as mom's but it comes close!
This is a great project that you can get your kids involved in. They can help you make a supply for your freezer. Let them stamp and fill the bags, fold them over and tape shut. And this is a super thrifty. A bag of popcorn costs about a $1.25 and a supply of paper bags a $1.
HERE'S SOME TIPS: Undo the tape when putting into the microwave. Unfold the bag and use the same tape to tape the top of the bag shut in order to prevent popcorn spilling out.