The Christmas ‘pickle’

The Legend of the Pickle 

The Christmas pickle is not really a pickle at all, it is a pickle-shaped ornament. A very old Christmas Eve tradition in Germany was to hide a pickle (ornament) deep in the branches of the family Christmas Tree. The parents hung the pickle last after all the other ornaments were in place. In the morning they knew the most observant child would receive an extra gift from St Nicholas. The first adult who finds the pickle traditionally gets good luck for the whole year. It says that Germans hang a pickle-shaped glass ornament on the Christmas tree hidden away so it’s difficult to find. The first child to find it on Christmas morning gets a special treat or extra present.

Rumor and speculation place the origin of the tradition in Germany. However few in modern-day Germany recognize or have even heard of the Christmas pickle. Regardless of where it came from, the Christmas tradition survives and is a fun and great family tradition worth sharing. Ornament manufacturers continue to make the specialty ornaments and enjoy sharing this legend and its origins regardless.

I was given my pickle years ago, totally oblivious to the tradition.  Honestly, I think I read the enclosed card describing the legend, but discarded the relevance.  I had just received a fun gift from someone unexpectedly – I was totally enamored by the thought.  Since my children were young, I kept the ornament out of reach.  Besides, it was mine.  That sounds a bit selfish, but as a parent,  few things are about us.  So, when something like a pickle ornament makes you smile every time you see it… .  Well, you hide it from your children.

Recently, a Bronner’s catalog was delivered to our house. For those who don’t know, Bronner’s IS the be all, end all of everything that is Christmas – especially  ornaments.  Moreover, it’s located in one of those ‘cute’ Michigan towns with a German heritage named Frankenmuth that is on every ‘must see’ geriatric tourist bus trip.  Anyway, I was  flippin through the catalog and stopped when I came to the page highlighing their pickle ornament.  I smiled.

In general, I’m not a ‘tradition’ dude.  My blog has a few  ‘annual’ elements, but those have a purpose.  And, it’s all me.  When others, especially family, are included in, well, anything planned, a different kind of ‘pickle’ inevitably results.  Individual expectations about what said family tradition is and means differ.  Rarely are those views shared.   So, something that is supposed to be fondly remembered turns into something that everyone wants to immediately forget.

Over the years, I have continued with my original decorating concept, embracing my tradition – subtle pickle placement in a ceramic basket with other similarly themed ornaments. Still out of reach – from everyone. Truthfully, I’m not even sure if anyone in my household is even aware of the folklore.  So, for me, that’s one legacy I hope prevails.

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Deck the halls with boughs of  … pickles?

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