The Christmas Pickle: A Delightful Holiday Tradition

Every family has its own unique way of decorating the Christmas tree. For the Drummond family, the Christmas tree holds a special place in their hearts. Ree Drummond, the matriarch of the family, describes the Christmas tree as not just a tradition but something sacred. Speaking of traditions, have you ever heard of the Christmas pickle? It may sound like a funny food gag or a vintage Christmas relic, but it’s actually a cherished part of many households’ holiday celebrations.

The Tradition of the Christmas Pickle

Sometime between setting up the tree and the arrival of Christmas Day, a pickle ornament is hidden among the branches. On Christmas morning, the hunt begins, and whoever finds the pickle is rewarded with the honor of opening the first gift or an extra present. It’s not just about luck; it’s also a delightful and silly moment that children eagerly anticipate. This tradition encourages kids to slow down and savor the joy of Christmas morning instead of rushing through their gifts.

Unraveling the Mystery: The History of the Christmas Pickle

The Christmas pickle’s origins are shrouded in mystery. While it is commonly believed to have originated in Germany (also known as Weihnachtsgurke), a 2016 survey by market research firm YouGov debunked this theory. Only 8% of German nationals were familiar with the Christmas pickle tradition, and a mere 2% actually practiced it. So, where did this quirky tradition come from?

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One possibility is that a particular ornament company popularized the tradition. Old World Christmas, a beloved company known for crafting exquisite mouth-blown ornaments, includes the pickle’s origin story in every box. The company’s founder, Tim Merck, started importing ornaments from Lausch, Germany, in the 1980s. He wrote the pickle’s story, but whether it was based on a German tale or a product of his own imagination remains unknown.

Another suspect in the pickle’s history is Woolworths, a retailer that began importing and selling German glass ornaments in the late 1800s. Legend has it that when the pickle ornaments weren’t selling well, a clever salesman invented a European Christmas tradition to boost their popularity. If this tale is true, it certainly worked!

The Meaning of the Christmas Pickle

The Christmas pickle is often associated with luck, and there are various origin stories that reinforce this belief. One such story dates back to the Civil War, where a captured Union Army soldier received a pickle on Christmas Eve, which miraculously helped keep him alive. Upon his return home, he started hanging a pickle on the tree every Christmas.

Another tale connects the Christmas pickle to an old St. Nicholas myth—a rather jarring one, at that. In this grisly story, an innkeeper traps two boys in a barrel of pickles on Christmas Eve. Fortunately, St. Nick comes to their rescue just in time, allowing them to return home and celebrate the holiday.

With no clear consensus on the true origin, you can treat the Christmas pickle as a “pickle-your-own adventure.” Get creative and come up with your own imaginative story to share with the kids. After all, the excitement of being the first to find the pickle on Christmas morning is what truly matters.

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So, this holiday season, as you gather around the Christmas tree with your loved ones, consider adding a pickle ornament to the mix. It’s a quirky tradition that adds an extra element of fun and surprise to your festive celebrations. And who knows, maybe the luck of the pickle will be on your side! 🥒

Christmas Pickle

To discover more delightful holiday traditions and festive recipes, visit Family Cuisine. Happy holidays!

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