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Learn the history of the Christmas pickle tradition and how to easily start your own. It is definitely a young child’s favorite!
Christmas pickles are a thing. Odd, isn’t it? Let’s talk about it.
History of the Christmas Pickle
Apparently, the Christmas pickle tradition, otherwise known as Weihnachtsgurke, originated in Germany.
Some sources say that the Christmas pickle custom is an old German tradition. Parents placed a glass pickle inside of the Christmas tree and the first adult who found it would have good luck the next year.
Other sources say that Germans used pickle ornaments to promote glass ornaments. In the 1800’s, companies began to use glass ornaments and used replicated vegetables to promote them.
Although this tradition supposedly originated in Germany, not a single German today remembers it. Also, evidence has been used to support that its origination doesn’t involve Germany at all.
All over Germany, citizens have been asked if they were aware of the Christmas pickle, and none recognized it. Could the origin of the tradition be a lie, or is there a small group of people who know about it?
Although the answer may never be found, the custom will always be a fun and interesting Christmas tradition.
Christmas Pickle Legends
Even though the origins of the Christmas pickle are unknown, there are many different stories of the odd tradition.
First is a story of a soldier from the Civil War by the name of John Lower. John wrote a letter of his experience that involved the Christmas pickle.
During the war, John was captured and put in a camp in Georgia, where he was starved to the brink of death. It’s said that the dying man pleaded for a pickle- which, odd choice, no cap, but whatever.
The guard obliged in pity, giving John a single pickle. John said that by the grace of God, the pickle gifted him the strength to live on.
When he returned home, he began the custom of hanging a pickle inside the leaves of a Christmas tree. The first who found the pickle would receive good fortune the following year.
Another story is about St. Nick. One day, the Saint found two boys trapped by an evil innkeeper in a barrel of pickles. Not the most ideal place to be stuck in, to say the least.
St. Nicholas freed the boys, who were able to make it back to their families for Christmas dinner.
How do you Celebrate the Tradition?
The Christmas pickle is in fact very simple, although it is somewhat strange. Families everywhere have adopted the tradition, celebrating it each and every year.
First, and most obviously, a Christmas tree needs to be put up in order to do it. Then, a pickle is placed inside of the leaves of the tree so it’s difficult to find.
The pickle can either be real or just an ornament. After the pickle is placed into the tree, everyone begins to search.
The first person to find the pickle might receive a special gift or it can just be done for fun. Some people believe that the first person that finds the pickle receives good fortune the next year.
Types of Christmas Pickles
What variations of pickles are used for hiding the pickle on a Christmas tree?
The only real requirement for the pickle is that it looks like a pickle. Real ones can be used, glass pickles, or any other artificial pickle have been put into use.
Some people use real pickles, but most commonly glass pickles are used. In the 1800’s, Germany used glass pickles to endorse glass ornaments.
Also, plush pickles or plastic pickle can be placed inside of the tree. All in all, no matter what type of pickle is used, it works.
My Pickle Tradition
Although the pickle in a Christmas tree isn’t an important tradition for my family, it’s still a fun one. Every year, my family and I go to my grandparent’s house for the custom.
My grandparents set up a small, green tree so we don’t have to go looking through the big one for hours. They hide it secretly inside of the tree with none of the children looking.
My siblings, cousins, and I are all put into a room separate from the tree so it can be hidden without us seeing. Then, once the pickle is placed, we all go and search for it.
It usually takes a few minutes, but at some point, somebody finds it and is awarded with a solid $20. Over the years we’ve somewhat grown out of it, but it’ll always be a memorable, fun tradition.
If you haven’t tried this before, which most people probably haven’t, I do suggest trying it out.
There you have it! A fun new tradition to start that involves a pickle!