My pickle ornament pairs well with the antique and glass ornaments on this tree.
At our extented family Christmas Day gatherings, after the presents and food, perhaps during game playing, movie watching and family discussions, you can usually find our 23 year
old stretched-out, in full, sound asleep on the floor. His brother and sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents are used to this. We step over and around him. I think one year I put my plate of Christmas cookies on his stomach
while we were watching It's a Wonderful Life. It's what we do.
Last year, however, his large presence was missing from
the floor, or at least the sleeping didn't commence until much later in the day. "Why?" you may ask. I have but one answer: the pickle.
had been overseas for work in the fall and had gone to a winter outdoor bazaar in Dusseldorf, Germany. I happened to be at his house when he returned and enjoyed hearing about his experience at the charming bazaar complete with live music, hot
Gluhwein, and snow. When I asked him what he got at the bazaar he showed me a neat little wooden box with... glass pickles in it. The ornaments came packaged with one large and two small pickle ornaments. Apparently, it is a German tradition
to hide these pickles on the Christmas tree. The person who finds a pickle can expect good luck, an extra present, or a sweet treat. I was intrigued by this tradition, and when I googled it I found different takes on the legend of the "pickle."
Jan Wiese-Fales, in the Columbia Daily Tribune on 12/18/2013, pointed out that F.W. Woolworth of Woolworth's Five and Dime Store began importing the ornaments to America in the 1880s,
eventually making a fortune from doing so. She also wrote that Christmas trees are a German tradition and that glass ornaments in the shapes of fruits and nuts also originate
in east-central Deutschland, supposedly made by glassblower Hans Greiner in the mid-1800s.
Sure. Why not? Sounds reasonable. And didn't my brother-in-law
bring back Christmas pickles from the source?
Not according to Wikipedia.
staunchly reports that the Christmas pickle is an American tradition that did not originate in Germany but has been imported back to that country because of the stories associated with it.
The Christmas pickle, referred to as a Weihnachtsgurke, can be traced to two origin stories. One being that at Camp Sumter during the American Civil War, a Bavarian born soldier in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry was captured and taken to a prison
camp. On Christmas eve he supposedly begged a guard for a pickle because he was literally starving. This pickle saved his life and upon his release from the camp and his return to his family, he started a tradition of hiding a pickle in the tree.
The second story is from the Victorian era. In it St. Nicholas saved two Spanish children who were trapped in a barrel of pickles.
But enough about that... My sister-in-law is very effective at hiding this ornament in the tree. It took my son a good 20 minutes, on and off for over an hour or so, to locate said pickle. Once he did,
he was presented with a basketful of small wrapped gifts from which to choose, and it was then his turn to do the hiding.
You aren't planning a trip to Germany any time soon?
No worries. You can pick up your pickle ornaments at Cost Plus World Market for $3.99. Quite a deal for hours, nay years of Christmas fun if you ask me!
courtesy of Julie Gatewood.