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The Mystery of the Christmas Pickle

Dec 24, 2013

by Jeni Sandberg

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

It’s a strange juxtaposition: an ornament in the shape of a pickle hanging in your festively decorated Christmas tree. The Christmas pickle is a beloved holiday tradition for some, but one with very murky origins.

Though the details can vary, the basic premise is this: the Christmas tree is decorated and, while the children sleep on Christmas Eve, a parent hangs a pickle ornament somewhere within the branches of the tree. Because the green pickle is hidden amongst the green boughs, it is difficult to see, and the first to find the special ornament on Christmas morning would get an extra present, or be blessed with good luck all year.

This tradition is often said to have origins in 19th-century Germany. Though there is a long history of blown-glass ornaments made there, a quick survey of my German friends found that none had ever heard of a Weinachtsgurke.

Another story about the Christmas pickle is set during the American Civil War in the notorious Andersonville prison, where a starving soldier begged for a pickle to sustain him. One of his captors miraculously procured the desired gherkin and when the war ended, the man hung a pickle ornament from his tree to commemorate his good fortune.

Regardless of its origins, the tradition of the Christmas pickle adds a layer of fun to the day’s festivities. For many, no tree is complete without this tart treat!

Polymer Clay Christmas Pickle Ornament
Polymer Clay Christmas Pickle Ornament
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323 comments

  • gardenjewels

    Julie DeGroot from JewelsInTheGarden said 4 years ago

    The Christmas pickle, too fun! I have never heard of this before :) Thanks for sharing!

  • LittleNik

    LittleNik from YoungBards said 4 years ago

    Well, the Christmas pickle! That's a new one on me :) Not something we do here in the UK but sounds fun!

  • thebibliophile

    thebibliophile from thebibliophile said 4 years ago

    I must admit, this is the first I've ever heard of a Christmas Pickle XD I now want to hang one up to see if anyone in my family spots it.

  • simpleedesigns

    Lee Castle from SimpleeDesigns said 4 years ago

    Never heard of the Christmas pickle in Australia but I sooo want one!

  • rebeccapfister

    Rebecca Pfister Rachel Isch from RachelAndRebecca said 4 years ago

    Several years ago we had an exchange student from Denmark staying with us. He gave me a Christmas pickle ornament as in your picture and was pleasantly surprised to find out I knew about the tradition. I think his family does that at Christmas and seemed to convey that is a German, or at least European tradition. I had heard German.

  • pixiepaper

    Theresa from pixiepaper said 4 years ago

    We have the Christmas pickle and my children love to hide it from eachother.

  • AcrylicPixie

    AcrylicPixie from StitchingPixie said 4 years ago

    I've heard of the Christmas pickle before, but my German-American relatives didn't seem to use it.

  • emwi

    Emily Wirt from emwi said 4 years ago

    I've never heard of this pickle ornament tradition. I have German heritage on my father's side, but maybe we're too far removed from German tradition now that we don't carry this on anymore. I'll have to ask my dad if he's ever heard of it. Really interested article. Thanks for sharing such a fun story!

  • LoveButtons

    Julia K Walton from FireHorseVintageHQ said 4 years ago

    Oh, I had never heard about this tradition. How interesting! I will have to pick one out for my own tree - just because I love eating them :)

  • rellarae

    Tracey from rellarae said 4 years ago

    We have a Christmas pickle!! Our daughter made a pickle in school one year as part of their holiday celebrations while learning about other cultures. It's a fun tradition...we generally give a small (4 piece) box of chocolates to the winner. I've never heard the Civil War story associated with the pickle...thanks for the sharing!!

  • EriMill

    Erin Miller from ThreePoisonApples said 4 years ago

    I always wondered why they sold pickle ornaments!!

  • irinisklavounou

    irini from IrinisWorld said 4 years ago

    I prefer the version that goes: Baby jesus wouldn't stop bawling whatever they did to calm the poor little fellow until they realised he was lying on a pickle that had fallen out of a cheese sandwich that one of the shepherds had been keeping in his top pocket and must have slid out when he was leaning over the manger to get a good look. Ever since then......

  • homesteadbread

    Melanie from TwoBlessedBoutique said 4 years ago

    I was born in Germany, all my family lives in Germany and we have never ever heard of a Christmas Pickle ornament....

  • ninadelaune

    Nina Delaune from DelauneQuiltDesigns said 4 years ago

    It may be a southern German tradition. We always had a pickle for the children to find and it was just fun for them to find it. There never was an extra gift ,but they were told that it was the tradition in Germany.

  • strawberrycupcake7

    Dinah from strawberrycupcake7 said 4 years ago

    I have handmade glittery flying pickles in my shop! (:

  • rosebudshome

    rosebudshome from rosebudshome said 4 years ago

    Love to hear about these traditions that I never knew about before.

  • KnotInLove

    Jeanie from KnotinLoveDesigns said 4 years ago

    My husband laughed when I told him about this story. 'Hide the Pickle you say?'. He is still laughing, why? ........OMG!!!!!

  • tresameyerdesigns

    Tresa Meyer Clark from MeyerClarkCreative said 4 years ago

    Love the shiny pickle. I'll ask my Oma and my Dad and friends about this tradition. Sounds like my husband and I might start a new tradition with a pickle. Frohe Weinachsten! (Merry Christmas)Thanks!

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty said 4 years ago

    Fun!

  • hasincla

    hasincla from travelwanderings said 4 years ago

    I have never heard of this tradition before, and it sounds like fun! Maybe a pickle ornament is in order...

  • FleaMarketGal

    Stacie from FleaMarketGal said 4 years ago

    This is a great tradition we have been doing in our family for years :)

  • MyEverAfter

    Liz B. from GossamerandQuill said 4 years ago

    I'd never heard of a Christmas pickle when I grew up in Michigan, but when I moved to Florida & married my husband, I found it was a longstanding tradition in his family that whoever found the Pickle hidden on the tree would get a special gift. Lovely article; it was especially interesting to hear about it's Civil War origins!

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 4 years ago

    My pickle is missing! I may have to buy another one on Etsy. Great story!

  • DorianD

    DorianD said 4 years ago

    We had a pickle from my earliest memories. My mom got it from her mom, or was it her grandmother...? My mother was born in Prague and claimed the pickle to be a German tradition that had somehow "stuck". I got pickles for all of us at some point, but the old original still survives! Not quite sure who has it now, though.

  • valeriephoto

    Valerie from valeriestitchery said 4 years ago

    I learned this tradition when I was a docent at a Victorian home-turned-museum when I was in high school. The home was built by German immigrants, so I was always under the impression it was an old German tradition too. I introduced the idea to my parents and we've done it every year since. I love it!

  • buddhacat444

    Dana from BuddhaCatCreations said 4 years ago

    We have a pickle on our tree (I'm West Michigan born & raised) My Grandmother always had a pickle ornament on her tree as well. We didn't get an extra present, but it sure was fun looking for it! Meijer Botanical Gardens has a German tree in their 'Christmas Around the World' exhibit and they hide multiple pickles on a 12 ft (higher?) tree. good luck finding all of them! *lol!*

  • sofiatrinker

    Sofia Sanchez from Dedosen2 said 4 years ago

    I didn't know about this Christmas pickle!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • TStyles

    Tsetsi La Mode from TsetsiLaMode said 4 years ago

    great story I never heard about it but maybe this can become a tradition in my family

  • TwitchyWitchy

    Bonnie Waller from TwitchyWitchy said 4 years ago

    My family has been hanging the pickle for a while now. Whoever finds it gets a present. Next year that person gets to hide the pickle and also provide the pickle prize present. It's fun.

  • PennyBirchWilliams

    Penny Birch-Williams from PennyBirchWilliams said 4 years ago

    I learned of the pickle ornament tradition from my mother in law, who lived in Germany in the mid 50's when my father in law was stationed there. Her version is that the pickle, which is large, is placed where it's easy to see, but a tiny little gherkin is nearly hidden and you have to work to find it. It was more of a game than a competition, and no extra gift was given, it was more about good luck I think. Similar to getting the only almond in the rice pudding, from my family's Swedish tradition. Anyway my husband and I were given German glass pickle and gherkin ornaments for our first tree after we married, 25 years ago this month, and they still get questions and comments!

  • CarpetShopPrincess

    Katie Koshy from carpetshopprincess said 4 years ago

    Pickle ornaments are easy to find if you have a silver tree :)

  • jamasters

    Jess Masters from RefinedRock said 4 years ago

    fun! I may have to add that to our holiday traditions

  • ZuliDesigns

    Billie from ZuliDesigns said 4 years ago

    I used to know a sweet German couple who told me about the Pickle tradition. Too cute!

  • KMalinka

    Natalia from KMalinkaVintage said 4 years ago

    Awesome story!

  • iammieCLAYshop

    iammieCLAYshop from iammieCLAYshop said 4 years ago

    Interesting!

  • silversorbetdesigns

    Melissa from silversorbetdesigns said 4 years ago

    Love the idea of a Christmas pickle! Will have to get one for my tree :-) always keen to add touches from other cultures to my traditions.

  • naturesdghtr

    naturesdghtr said 4 years ago

    I have a German grandparent on both sides of my family and we have been hiding a pickle ornament on our tree for as long as I can remember. We never actually did the extra gift, but were told as kids that was part of our German heritage. I have my own pickle now and am starting the tradition with my family, except with the extra gift, cause why not?! :-)

  • sannipanni

    sannipanni from sannipanni said 4 years ago

    Yup, I am German and had never heard of that tradition before coming to the US but now I have the cutest little pickle hanging in my tree here, too. :) Heck, if it's German I'd better do it! LOL. I had not heard the prison story. Very sweet!

  • wrist9art

    Bruce Kung from wrist9art said 4 years ago

    hello! merry christmas first! i heard more stories about pickle,chinese pickle story,korean pickle story... but your story is very interesting,i like it.

  • RivalryTime

    Phil Jackson from NuptialNotion said 4 years ago

    We have our Christmas pickle ready to go.

  • purposedesign

    Julie Pedersen from purposedesign said 4 years ago

    We have one!

  • ArtDecoDame

    Desiree from ArtDecoDame said 4 years ago

    Cute tradition!

  • reneeanne

    Renée Anne from reneeanne said 4 years ago

    Neat tradition, I just learned about it this year! I've heard that it has it's roots in one of the stories surrounding the life of Saint Nicholas, who freed two boys from a pickle barrel with the tap of his staff.

  • susanmack3

    Susan Mack from HappyValleyHerbs said 4 years ago

    We always have our big Family gathering at my Sister's house. She started this tradition several years ago. Whoever finds the pickle wins $20! The winner usually seems to be either her tall grandson, or her son-in-law. :-) I think this year I need to get more competative! haha Thanks for the history lesson!

  • epicstitching

    Mel Ladner from epicstitching said 4 years ago

    I've never heard of this tradition. How incredible cute! I may have to go and find myself a Christmas pickle now to start up a new game of finding the pickle when the kids come to visit!

  • AllyFashion

    Tina Giuntini from AllyFashion said 4 years ago

    The Christmas pickle - crazy! I have never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing!

  • zenophobe

    Tina Giuntini from BeaEvie said 4 years ago

    This is the first I've ever heard of a Christmas Pickle. I will now hang one up to see if anyone in my family spots it.

  • TabbiesandTrains

    TabbiesandTrains from TabbiesandTrains said 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing - obviously the mystery still remains, but now I might have to buy the mysterious pickle ornament - I love a Mystery! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All !! My your 2012 be Merry and Bright

  • love2crochknit

    Amber Taylor from FantaOrange said 4 years ago

    I have never heard of this before, sounds like it would be a great starter for my grandbabies one day..

  • wardrobetheglobe

    Wardrobe the Globe from wardrobetheglobe said 4 years ago

    we've been doing this for the last 10 years or so. it's so fun!....our "pickle present" is usually a box of holiday cookies or candies.

  • wheatleypaperworks

    M Wheatley from wheatleypaperworks said 4 years ago

    While working, (as a Pastry chef), one of my co workers told me about this tradition passed down to her from her Oma. I thought the story was so funny that I told my husband about "hiding the pickle" to which he quickly quipped, "so that's what they're doing on those long, cold, winter's nights!"

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle said 4 years ago

    I have not heard of this before, but I think it would be a fun to start the tradition!

  • Mtnglasslass

    Jennifer Nauck from NauckGlass said 4 years ago

    I love the pickle tradition--it's how my brother proposed to his wife! Thank you for putting a picture of one of my pickles in the blog! :) Merry Christmas to all!

  • GoddessOfJewelry

    GoddessOfJewelry from GoddessOfJewelry said 4 years ago

    I've never heard of this tradition either! And I lived in germany for 10 years! But we love pickles in our house, so I think I may have to invest in a cute pickle decoration for the tree!

  • SoftForest

    Betty Heppner from SoftForest said 4 years ago

    I have never heard this before either, very neat! Thanks for sharing!

  • KimberlyEstrada

    Kimberly Estrada from KimberlyEstrada said 4 years ago

    I have never heard of this before but will definitely keep it in mind when I start having children. I LOVE PICKLES!!!

  • ManInTheMoonHerbs

    ManInTheMoonHerbs from ManInTheMoonHerbs said 4 years ago

    I love the stories behind quirky traditions. Thanks for sharing!

  • uniquelynancy

    Nancy Tanguay from uniquelynancy said 4 years ago

    Quiltsy was just talking about the Christmas Pickle! Fun to see an answer!

  • runningwithfoxes

    Shannon Marie from runningwithfoxes said 4 years ago

    We have a Christmas pickle ornament on our tree that has been passed down for several generations, and now we share the tradition with my 3 year old son and his cousins. I'm so surprised at how many people have not heard of this! One of my favorite Christmas memories from my childhood.

  • kkebshop

    Kimberly K from SomethingStrappy said 4 years ago

    We love the Christmas pickle and have done it ever since my 13-year-old daughter was little. We hide ours on Christmas Eve. When we return from church that evening, the children search for it. The first to find it gets to open the special family gift - which is always a new game that we then spend the evening playing together. Ever Christmas Eve the house is filled with laughter and squeals as the kids search frantically for the pickle. I use to always hide it on one tree, but now that they are older, it can be hidden on any of our Christmas trees - which make the hunt even more entertaining. Can't imagine a Christmas without it.

  • NaturelMistik

    Naturel Mistik from NaturelMistik said 4 years ago

    Oh, the beloved pickle ornament. Our family had one much like the top photo. It was so old the green was falling off in spots. One of my favorite ornaments. Here is the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_pickle

  • CountryCents

    Joanna from CountryCents said 4 years ago

    Our family has a pickle that is over 100 years old and is passed down from one generation to the next. Hanging it on the tree Christmas eve for some lucky person to find. A fun tradition!

  • StyleGraphicDesign

    Maria from StyleGraphicDesign said 4 years ago

    Lovely!:)

  • rctees

    toni from RCTees said 4 years ago

    This is too funny. While teaching school, one of my students (4th grade) gave me a pickle ornament. I ask him what was the idea behind it...he said he didn't know he just thought I needed a pickle for my tree.....kids!! LOL Now I know : )

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 4 years ago

    I've always thought that hanging a pickle from the xmas tree sounds absolutely revolting & I'm totally unconvinced by the Civil War story. Still, you don't need any justification to do something silly like this at a celebration, & it sounds like a fun way of keeping kids amused for a while (which is priceless at this time of year!)

  • SEWFUNQUILTS

    SEWFUNQUILTS from SEWFUNQUILTS said 4 years ago

    Our Quiltsy Team was just talking about this pickle ornament and tradition. I wish I had known about it when my kids were young.......sounds like fun!

  • IlluminatedPerfume

    Roxana from IlluminatedPerfume said 4 years ago

    How fascinating! I have some vintage pickle ornaments that I hang every year along with other fruits and veggies. I had no idea of this history. Thanks so much for enlightening us, what a treat indeed!

  • FeltHappiness

    Juliane Gorman from FeltHappiness said 4 years ago

    Truly interesting to learn about the many flavors of how Christmas can be celebrated by various folks/places/cultures! Smile-worthy too!

  • PrayerNotes

    Prayer Notes by Cynthia from PrayerNotes said 4 years ago

    Wow! What a fun story! Merry Christmas!

  • PrayerNotes

    Prayer Notes by Cynthia from PrayerNotes said 4 years ago

    Wow! What an interesting story! Merry Christmas to all!

  • janaison

    Jana Sunflower from shredlock said 4 years ago

    I was born and raised in Germany but never heard of a christmas pickle until I moved to the US and my american husband told me the story behind that "mysterious" pickle. It's been a christmas tradition ever since.

  • littlepancakes

    Melissa Pancakes from littlepancakes said 4 years ago

    Our tradition was a banana ornament. It broke, so I bought my mom a new one on etsy this year

  • dayslonggone

    Gwynne Collins from DaysLongGone said 4 years ago

    This has been a tradition in my family for years! I grew up with this and I now have one that I hang on my tree. It is for good luck...the last ornament I hang on the tree.

  • thenakedbird

    Brooke Griffin from GideonAndBrisby said 4 years ago

    i've never heard of the pickle ornament!!! no one in my family or extended family has ever done it, I'm shocked now to discover oodles of pickle ornaments here that I'd never noticed before!

  • solocosmo

    Jessica Grundy from solocosmo said 4 years ago

    I have a pickle ornament just because I like it, I never knew there was a story behind it!

  • DanaCastle

    Dana from DanaCastle said 4 years ago

    I have grown up with the pickle ornament - my mom's family is German. The first person to find the pickle gets an extra present, so there was always a mad dash between myself and my sister to find it! I'm happy to now pass on the tradition with my own family. :)

  • joannebassham

    JoAnne Bassham from DramaBowsByJo said 4 years ago

    First time of hearing about a pickle ornament! We have so many different traditions in this world and its really neat to hear some of them ! I think this one sounds fun! We read One Christmas book every night starting December 1st until Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve we read The Ledgend Of The Candy Cane and on Christmas Day we read One Wintery Night! Of course we do The Magic Elf Thing too! Merry Christmas everyone!

  • PoppyFandango

    PoppyFandango from PoppyFandango said 4 years ago

    My mom does this for the grandkids and I gotta say, I'm a lil jealous I don't get to partake in the fun- lol!

  • lindaslinger

    Linda from FabulouslyHomemade said 4 years ago

    We've had a Christmas ornament for years!

  • Kauai2012

    Karol Tidwell-Holloway said 4 years ago

    I learned about this fun practice when I was in German class in high school 40 years ago. There is a small restaurant in the small town in Texas where I live called the "Green Pickle". People here were so surprised that I knew about the fun game! I need to get me a pickle and start the tradition in my family!

  • rockfabricscissors

    rockfabricscissors from rockfabricscissors said 4 years ago

    We've done this for years. This year I hung the pickle in plain sight as a joke. Maybe someone will re-hide it!

  • brainfart

    brainfart said 4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing , I wish for you all at Etsy to have a Merry Christmas !! Happy Holidays to all ! :)

  • ladyeireland

    ladyeireland from ladyeireland said 4 years ago

    I live in Germany. This is a tradition that has been passed from generation to generation. It is also said the first child to find it may also pass out the presents. The trimming of the tree and gift giving is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Christmas day is of reflection and religious observance.

  • ADandherdesigns

    Alice DeLonge from ALYCESCREATIONS said 4 years ago

    I was checking ETSY before going to church and was pleasantly surprised to read about the 'pickle' ornament - I will not let another Christmas go by without a pickle on the tree for the grandchildren to find

  • KcSoapsNmore

    Kasey Hachler from KcSoapsNmore said 4 years ago

    I actually have 2 pickles. One mercury glass one and one Crazy Felt one from Etsy shown above. I love them!

  • Souloboy64

    Alex S. from FoldsbyAlex said 4 years ago

    Me and my sister do this. On Christmas Eve my mom hides it while we're in a different room then whoever finds it gets the pickle gift!

  • TheMillineryShop

    Marcia Lacher from TheMillineryShop said 4 years ago

    Being Jewish, I have never celebrated Christmas. But nothing ever stopped me from enjoying it and I love to look at the trees and ornaments. I have seen these pickles before. Having seen lots of quirky tree decorations, it is funny to know that the pickle is actually a "thing" even if no one really knows just what that "thing" is. Traditions take all shapes and sizes. Happy holidays everyone!

  • Tinadh

    Tina Druce-Hoffman from Tinadh said 4 years ago

    My German mother grew up with the lucky pickle, she taught it to us as well. We were just talking about it this weekend.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 4 years ago

    I've only ever come across this in the US rather than the UK, it is a bit of fun and quite an unusual decoration!

  • kgpaintings

    Kirsten Gilmore from PaintingsByKEGilmore said 4 years ago

    I thought it was just an advertising gimmick. I'm glad to learn there's more of a history to it.

  • iowajewel

    julie macneil from iowajewel said 4 years ago

    funny because i was just at someone's house last night and saw their pickle, but i did not know the tradition behind it! i have a white tree and i am afraid it would be hard to hide!!!!!!

  • laughngypsy

    Deborah Patterson from laughngypsy said 4 years ago

    I got a pickle for my tree last year, don't know why as I didn't know the reason people put them on the tree at the time I just thought it would be an interesting ornament.

  • PinesVintageClothing

    Pine from GoodOldVintageOnline said 4 years ago

    hooray for Christmas pickle!!!

  • alyssamenz

    alyssamenz said 4 years ago

    I learned about the tradition of the Christmas pickle while I was stationed in Germany. I need to get make a pickle ornament to hang on my tree here for my own son to search for.

  • rosebudsvintage

    rosebudsvintage from WillowsWear said 4 years ago

    Have had 2 pickles stored safely away for many years. This story just reminded me of them. I purchased my first one for my wonderful friend who I lost contact with and didn't know she had moved back to Germany. So I will unearth them now and tell the story when my granddaughter finds hers in her tree. The other will be added to my Victorian tree for someone to hunt for. Thanks for the great story "Little Pickles" Happy Holiday!

  • fetchmycoat

    fetchmycoat from fetchmycoat said 4 years ago

    We do this every year. My sister in law gave one to us when my boys were young. We usually get a gift and the gift tag says to - Picle Boy since we have sons. Lots of fun, for the one that wins anyway :)

  • AnneN

    AnneN from AnneN said 4 years ago

    I too have a green pickle ornament hanging on my Christmas tree. And I bought it on Etsy! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

  • 2RavenChicks

    2RavenChicks from 2RavenChicks said 4 years ago

    Yes!!!!! We have a pickle too - my best friend sent it to me about 25 years ago and it goes on our tree every year. Wishing all of you a most joyous, peaceful and love filled Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

  • CornflowerCreations

    CornflowerCreations from CornflowerCreations said 4 years ago

    Help! We can't find ours this year. : ( I think the Grinch stole it.

  • dianemarie23

    Diane Marie from DianeMarieArt said 4 years ago

    My husband and I heard of this story while shopping in a store up near San Fransisco many years ago. Needless to say, we purchased a pickle ornament there, very similar to the one shown. Each year since, we hide it somewhere on our tree, and each person present after Christmas Eve dinner (normally this is a night for my 3 kids and significant others/friends to share a meal with us) will take a turn looking for the pickle ornament. We time each one, and the fastest gets a gift. It's fun and something they look forward to each year! It's become quite a sport with them hamming it up, doing stretches, etc before getting started. My daughter gets frustrated because to this day she has never won :(

  • inameliart

    amelia from inameliart said 4 years ago

    :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

  • BizzieLizzie

    Bizzie from BizzieLizzieHandmade said 4 years ago

    I was stunned to see this article. Hub's familt hangs a pickle and my family had never heard of this. We were just discussing the reason they hung a pickle on the tree! Amazing!

  • BizzieLizzie

    Bizzie from BizzieLizzieHandmade said 4 years ago

    *family - iPad working it's magic!

  • koolizkaz

    koolizkaz said 4 years ago

    So now we'll all be in a pickle to find a Christmas pickle to hang on our tree! Christmas Eve in Australia now, so not much time left!

  • paletteroyale

    Marie Catherine from paletteroyale said 4 years ago

    We have two pickles LOL..because one of our sons, usually the younger one can't find the first one.

  • econica

    Natallia from econica said 4 years ago

    Growing up in Denmark, we always had our Christmas pickle up on the tree first! Great to see Etsy sharing an old European tradition!

  • HandpaintedThreads

    Maureen from HandpaintedThreads said 4 years ago

    What a nice lighthearted educational story at Christmas time! Educational for me because I have never heard of a Christmas Pickle. Love the idea and the story. Merry Christmas to all my fellow Etsonians and best wishes for a healthy (and prosperous) handmade New Year! Maureen

  • sparetimecrafts

    Carolyn from sparetimecrafts said 4 years ago

    we have been doing the pickle for years. My girls have really enjoyed this. Now they are starting to do it with my grand-kids. so the tradition continues

  • sandrostumpo

    Sandro Stumpo from GalleryDiModa said 4 years ago

    That is one lucky pickle.

  • Rail19

    Rail19 from Rail19 said 4 years ago

    What a sweet tradition. Will have to try...along with black eye peas for the new year!

  • Studio207

    Tammy from Studio207 said 4 years ago

    We have a Christmas pickle on our tree and it is the first thing my boys look for on Christmas morning. In our house the first to find the pickle opens the first present! Merry Christmas

  • patspottery

    Pat Parker from PatsPottery said 4 years ago

    I have had a Christmas blown glass pickle ever since I was a little girl, 70 years ago. It is now so fragile it is put away and I have a new one, just as beautiful, but not quite the same:>)

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 4 years ago

    I have a Christmas pickle...My daughter just found a really small one while shopping in Michigan...It is sooooooo cute!

  • forgoodnessgrape

    Lisa from ForGoodnessGrape said 4 years ago

    I have heard of this as a German tradition. My husband is of German heritage and we have a pickle hanging in our tree :)

  • TheBeautyofBoredom

    Gracie from TheBeautyofBoredom said 4 years ago

    Never heard of this before...interesting idea although my boyfriend and I hate pickles! Some of those pickle ornaments are pretty cute though. Perhaps we will do this next year just for fun.

  • justmadeline

    madeline from OnePrecociousPeacock said 4 years ago

    my friend does this, im hoping that i can convince my parents to!

  • artdecadence

    Chrisy McConnell from ARTDECADENCE said 4 years ago

    Happy★* 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ • •。★Holidays★ 。* 。 ° 。 ° ˛˚˛ *_Π____*。*˚ ˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/ ~\。˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •˛• ˚| 田田|門| ....★* 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ • •。★never heard about the Pickle Ornament!★ 。* 。

  • victoriaenglishcharm

    victoriaenglishcharm from VictoriaEnglishCharm said 4 years ago

    I'm English, and have never heard of this- but it certainly sounds like fun!

  • lmouer

    Lynsey from lmouer said 4 years ago

    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  • ArtParlor

    Sabine from ArtParlor said 4 years ago

    I'm German too and have never heard of it either. I keep arguing about this myth with my American friends though (who always have one in their tree). It's too much fun! ;) Happy Holidays!

  • FoxyGloves23

    Marie Cashin from MEmbroideries said 4 years ago

    I wonder if the pickle ornament began just because the pickle was common winter food. Now, who knows about the pierogi ornament??? Those of us who follow Polish American traditions always have Pierogi on Christmas eve. But I haven't seen too many pierogi ornaments - may start making them!! Merry Christmas to all!!

  • butikonline83

    Hendri . from butikonline83 said 4 years ago

    Great job!

  • madebymirjam

    Mirjam from madebymirjam said 4 years ago

    It is the first time I heard of a christmas pickle. Thank you!.........Very interesting!

  • PLJohnsonGlassArt

    Patricia Johnson from PLJohnsonGlassArt said 4 years ago

    Several people I know have pickles on their trees..but no one knew what it meant. Great story! Merry Christmas to all!

  • acertainworld

    Meg Reber from acertainworld said 4 years ago

    My parents picked up this tradition from my dad's family, who are ancestrally German. But they've also been in central PA for years - maybe it's partly Pennsylvania-Dutch? I can't recall ever getting an extra gift for finding the pickle, the lucky person was simply be the first one to open a gift on Christmas morning. Now we just like having pickle ornaments on the tree, for no reason at all - the count is up to three pickles so far!

  • claudetteherman

    claudette from ZNextDesigns said 4 years ago

    Never heard of this tradition before, but I must say it's very interesting. Love it!

  • carley465

    CAT Tillinghast from CATTATTING said 4 years ago

    A friend of mine the other day ago told me about this tradition and up until then I had never heard of such a thing. They are not German but they have been doing this tradition since she was little. Cool tradition.

  • theheirloomaddict

    theheirloomaddict from TheHeirloomAddict said 4 years ago

    This year I hosted a white elephant party and dedicated a special tree just for the Christmas Pickle. There were 14 (one for each guest to take home at the end of the night). It was pretty amazing!

  • kvolle62

    Kevin Volle from ChloesMosaics said 4 years ago

    The kid in Bad Santa almost cut his thumb off carving a xmas pickle for Billy Bob Thorton, now I understand why he was carving a pickle in the first place.

  • anushkas10

    Anushka Singh said 4 years ago

    Nice one! I haven't heard of this tradition before but I think this is gonna be another tradition to add!

  • CharmedByWine

    Mary from CharmedByWine said 4 years ago

    I don't know about German...my Italian family does this too though! I have to admit, this was my first married Christmas, and I was a bit sad I had no pickle for my tree.....little did I know my mom bought us one to open on Christmas morning! =)

  • Stef2603

    Stefanie said 4 years ago

    Well, all my family are German and in our region (South) we've never ever heard anything about a Christmas Pickle. Sounds like a fun idea, though.

  • EdelweissPost

    Patrick from EdelweissPost said 4 years ago

    what a pickle!

  • brendabordas

    Brenda Bordas from brendabordas said 4 years ago

    My husband and I put the pickle on our tree every year. We have such fun with it. Our children now adullts look forward to finding the pickle after all the gifts are opened. We always have a pickle gift for the person who finds the pickle. We purchased a pickle for each of our kids for them to start the tradition in their family. We now have a granddaughter so we will keep passing on the tradition with her. Every Christmas tree must have a pickle on it in our family. Traditions will live long after we are gone.

  • GisieArt

    Giselle from MyArtAndFashion said 4 years ago

    Nice story. Great tradition, I will start mine next year. Thank you for sharing and happy 2013!!

  • Motleycouture

    Motleycouture from Motleycouture said 4 years ago

    I enjoyed reading this interesting story! First time I have ever heard of this tradition. Sounds like a lot of fun!

  • juliannaeller

    Julianna Eller from Rockabybabys said 4 years ago

    My three year old is obsessed with three things: Spiderman, pickles, and Christmas tree ornaments. I've never heard of this tradition but needless to say, there will be pickles on my tree next year!

  • leafprintstudio

    Camille from leafprintstudio said 4 years ago

    I don't have a pickle, but after I got married, my aunt gave me a glass carrot ornament and the paper that came with it said it traditionally was given to new brides to bring them good luck in the kitchen.

  • nativestrandsjewelry

    Rachel from PeppersJewelry said 4 years ago

    Great post! Thanks!

  • SecondActDesigns

    Julie Kastner from SecondActDesign said 4 years ago

    Now I know I am home amongst fellow artists who get it - the pickle ornament!!! Best part of Christmas morning in my house every year ~ thanks for the smile!

  • bpdmso

    Mary from MarySanzJewelry said 3 years ago

    Intersting history, thanks for sharing! Happy Holidays!

  • Agasart

    Aga from AgasJourney said 3 years ago

    Inspiring and interesting story, especially for pickle lovers. Merry Christmas !!!!

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 3 years ago

    Never heard of this! Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  • verityunmondoaparte

    silvia beneforti from vumap said 3 years ago

    I never heard this story of Christmas Pinkle, so interesting story!!!! Merry Christmas!!!

  • joycebartoli

    LOU BARTOLI from SecChnceTreasure said 3 years ago

    Grew up with the Christmas Pickle , recently came across a beautiful one in resale shop . Told my son the story and gave it to him to carry on the tradition . This article brings back great childhood memories and more to come as son carries it on . Thanks very much

  • fairyrealm

    Rima from fairyrealm said 3 years ago

    Oh! I thought it had something to do with Arlo Guthrie. Well, you know-"I don't want a pickle, just want to ride on my motor-cicle"

  • WhitebirdDesign

    Joan from WhitebirdDesign said 3 years ago

    My Mom sent me a beautiful pickle ornament some years ago, which I thought was very silly, especially since I was living on a sailboat in Alaska at the time and never had a tree! But I still have it and it comes out with my other ornaments every year now.

  • WhitebirdDesign

    Joan from WhitebirdDesign said 3 years ago

    My mother sent me a beautiful pickle ornament some years ago, which I thought was very silly, especially since I lived on a sailboat in Alaska at the time and we never had a tree! But I still have it and it comes out with my other ornaments every year now. :)

  • jizbasusan

    Susan Jizba from TheWeaverOfWords said 3 years ago

    What a Wonderfully Quirky Tradition! I’ve never heard about that before. I really like the idea of having to search the tree to find that one very uniquely different yet special pickle, like the “black sheep” ornament of the batch so to speak.

  • WomanShopsWorld

    Carter Seibels Singh from WomanShopsWorld said 3 years ago

    I have a pickle ornament that I got as a child. Just because I loved pickles. A few years ago, a German friend told me about the tradition, and then I fell in love with my childhood ornament even more! I love this tradition!

  • RelativePics

    Therese and Bill from RelativePics said 3 years ago

    We have a Christmas Pickle Ornament. It's the 1st one onto the tree every year ;o) B

  • Wisteria2211

    Tammy from CapeBellaJewelry said 3 years ago

    I have a Christmas Pickle Ornament. I have not heard of this tradition how great. I have a pickle ornament for another reason. My sister would tease me when I was a small child, she had said my parents found me in a pickle barrel floating on a pickle, she was a twisted child. About 15 years ago, she bought me the ornament for a giggle. I'll share the true pickle ornament tradition with her, she'll enjoy the story. Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays

  • ikabags

    IKA PARIS from ikabags said 3 years ago

    Thank you for taking the time to create such a beautiful selection ! And happy winter , Happy Holidays and M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S :)

  • foxaphant

    Emma Bush from Foxaphant said 3 years ago

    We have a pickle in my family, and I (usually) find it. Perhaps that's why I have such good luck! Merry Christmas to you all!

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 3 years ago

    Ah, the pickle!

  • chellecarmody1

    michelle from chellechet said 3 years ago

    Very interesting and historical thank you.

  • winterboomershine

    Winter from FauxRealFood said 3 years ago

    We have a pickle ornament but we do something slightly different. We hide it on the tree and the person who finds it immediately receives a gift. The gift however, is a family gift and is shared. Some years a new Christmas story, a board game, a box of treats, or chocolates etc.

  • SilverStarLuna

    Luna Blackcrest from SilverStarLuna said 3 years ago

    My family and I partake in this! Since my brother and I are grown now however my mom just hangs it on the tree, we don't have a little contest to see who finds it first anymore but we use to!

  • PoofyDove

    Olivia Moore from PoofyDove said 3 years ago

    This is so funny! We have 3 Christmas pickle ornaments that we add to our tree every year too :) So cool to hear the back story!

  • annamariapotamiti

    Annamaria Potamiti from annamariapotamiti said 3 years ago

    This is all news to me but it sounds like great fun and very interesting in terms of it's history. Merry Christmas to you:-)

  • animalcharm

    Tina from AnimalCharm said 3 years ago

    I have a jar of pickle ornaments and just remembered I forgot to hide one on the tree. Thanks for the story and the reminder!

  • GeorgieGirlLLC

    D George from GeorgieGirlLLC said 3 years ago

    I've seen these pickles, but never knew the story! Thanks for the insight, this Christmas Pickle is a must for my tree! Thanks for sharing!

  • kkmodel

    Kendra from SteamPunkKreations said 3 years ago

    I only learned of the Christmas pickle, when I met my now husband. Setting up his tree, led me to discovering the pickle decoration amongst his wares. It's his, very german, family's tradition. My partially german family, never did anything like it.

  • norarssmith

    Nora Smith from SewUniqueDolls said 3 years ago

    Well, I'm German, from the North-Rhine area, close to the the Netherlands, and no one there does pickles. We have tons of relatives who have never heard of such a thing. Our friends in Bavaria are equally clueless. My best friend's aunt in Dresden also denies all knowledge of such a tradition. As a matter of fact, the German Consulate online service for the U.S. put out a statement a few years ago specifically disclaiming all knowledge of the pickle tradition as a German tradition (they kept getting inquiries). They checked into it and discovered it is not a tradition anywhere in Germany that they could find. Their guess was that some ambitious glass ornament manufacturer created the story for its great potential (you can see how lucky they got, if you read some of the above comments.) Another case of a truly ineradicable 'urban legend' for our day? You bet.

  • silvergr17

    Brooke from PurpleandPlatinum said 3 years ago

    I think I am even more confused now! ;-) I have always wondered about the pickle. My husband and I are German and I was thinking this would be a great tradition to start but it seems like it may be an urband legend after all. Back to the drawing board! Thanks for sharing =)

  • ReverseClothing

    L. Corina La Due from GeminaeClothing said 3 years ago

    The way I heard it is the person who found the pickle got to open the first present....that's how we do it anyway. :)

  • madiherbert

    Madi Herbert from madimaydesign said 3 years ago

    My father's side of the family is German. I remember as a child at my grandparent's house they always did (and still do) the pickle ornament. I was always told it was a German tradition. Whoever found it was given good luck for the new year!

  • bedouin

    Nicole from Crackerjackarma said 3 years ago

    Hmmm Sounds like a naughty Santa played a trick on someone !!

  • GoatsAndKaleidoscope

    GoatsAndKaleidoscope said 3 years ago

    Maybe it's not so much a German tradition as a German immigrant one?

  • FawningInLove

    Fawning Inlove from FawningInLove said 3 years ago

    I recently looked this up, and found that it's actually not a German origin tradition, but pretty much now saying American Tradition. "There are a number of different origin stories attributed to the tradition, but it was primarily thought to have originated in Germany. This has since been disproved and is now thought to be an American tradition from the late 19th century." This year we've decided to give it a try! I hope we'll continue it for many years to come. :)

  • AntoinettesWhims

    Antoinette from AntoinettesWhims said 3 years ago

    Um, please view pictures of the prisoners of Andersonville and see if such a happy tradition could be born of such horror. Please really, really research a topic before posting a theory like that.

  • schatzie12

    schatzie12 said 3 years ago

    Every December my sorority sisters & I go out for a lovely dinner, then back to one of the girl's houses for dessedrt, coffee & gift exchange. Right before it's time to go home, the 12 of us hunt for the "pickle" on the Xmas tree. Her house is quite large with a xcathedral

  • littleshopofphotos

    Michele Iljazi from OneDecember said 3 years ago

    A very close family friend from Germany brought us a pickle as a Christmas gift while visiting 15 years ago. She taught us all about the tradition of the pickle and have been hiding it in our tree every year since. Each year we are reminded of her while we search for the pickle!

  • schatzie12

    schatzie12 said 3 years ago

    Needless to say her husband has the most fun of all of us while he watches all of us "hunting the pickle". Whatever country it came from, it is a real hoot to play & certainly as much fun for the adults as it is for the children. Try it, I'll bet it quickly becomes part of your Xmas tradition.

  • aiseirigh

    Cat Shanahan from aiseirigh said 3 years ago

    cute!

  • expressyourself

    Natalia Snemis from expressyourself said 3 years ago

    Great picks!

  • laramored

    Anemone from AnemoneReadsVintage said 3 years ago

    My Japanese in-laws have a pickle ornament on their tree, and we have fun trying to figure out why and what the pickle is for. The story seems to change every year.

  • natureselementsjewel

    Deanna from natureselementsjewel said 3 years ago

    It is a North American German tradition with some basis in Germany. Germans, in some regions, use food shaped ornaments. Since the pickle was one of the more quirky ones, children started hunting for it, but only in North America.

  • blissfulthinkin

    Sister Butterfly from MyButterflySister said 3 years ago

    My dogs name is Pickle. I have always loved this tradition : )

  • RRParks

    Richard Parks from RRParksVintageAndArt said 3 years ago

    TOO COOL! hah! Two years ago I was at one of those upscale stores (dragged along by the neighbors doing their last minute Christmas shopping) and I found a hand blown glass pickle ornament. It looked so ridiculous I had to get it and it's on my tree now. I had NO idea there was actually a backstory to a Christmas pickle ornament... I simply thought it was too ridiculous NOT to buy it! ... it's actually a lovely little ornament.

  • Motleycouture

    Motleycouture from Motleycouture said 3 years ago

    Great feature!

  • katherinedooren

    katherine Lenz from 214EVER said 3 years ago

    THIS IS DEFINITELY WHAT I WANT AND HOPE. I WILL FOLLOW THE TIPS YOU OFFERED AND MAKE THE CHRISTMAS DAY A SPECIAL ONE THIS YEAR.

  • rach5551

    rachel valentina from rachelvalentina said 3 years ago

    never knew there was a story! my mom always had a pickle just like the one in the picture, in her "vegetable" set of ornaments. btw, i cannot wait to use all those vintage glass ornaments when i'm finally settled enough to have a big tree of my own! WOO VINTAGE

  • seasidecloth

    seasidecloth from seasidecloth said 3 years ago

    Never heard of this pickle story you speak of...I do, however, now desire a sequined pickle ornament of my own !

  • illuminativeharvest

    Jennifer Presler from IlluminativeHarvest said 3 years ago

    Always wanted the story. Thanks for sharing!

  • angelpaws014

    Ana from angelpaws014 said 3 years ago

    Never heard of this but I cant wait to incorporate it into our holiday planning next year! Thnks for sharing!

  • debvasbinder

    Deb Vasbinder from BabyCuteBaby said 3 years ago

    I too have never heard about the Christmas Pickle and I see I'm in good company with so many others never hearing of this story. Will keep it in mind now that I know & I'll use this. Thanks for sharing and you know this story will be told again by many. Pretty Cool!

  • MadeByKatarina

    MadeByKatarina from MadeByKatarina said 3 years ago

    I've lived in Germany for 14 years and never heard about the Christmas Pickle. I love the story and next year I'll have a pickle ornament for sure:-)

  • dianabags

    diana wessel from fredandgus said 3 years ago

    I've hung a pickle ornament on our Christmas Tree for over 30 years. My sons love the tradition and still look for the pickle today.

  • misscharlottejewelry

    Joyce Davies from JewelryByCarlotta said 3 years ago

    So that explains the pickle ornament. I love it. Thank you.

  • opendoorstudio

    Martha Layton Smith from opendoorstudio said 3 years ago

    Merry Christmas Etsy people!

  • mettaville

    Alison Koh from Mettaville said 3 years ago

    Interesting story, never heard of it before. Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas everyone!

  • peppybaby

    peppybaby from PeppyBaby said 3 years ago

    Gorgeous! Congrats!!

  • sukran

    Sukran Kirtis from SukranKirtisJewelry said 3 years ago

    This is the first time I've heard about it..but great to know so now I should find one for my mother in law..Merry Christmas :)

  • mjgharvey

    Maryann Harvey said 3 years ago

    Barnes and Noble sells Christmas pickles.

  • mouserrano

    Lisa Serrano Diaz from PrincessMouseyCards said 3 years ago

    That is a beautiful history lesson! thanks for teaching us all this beautiful tradition. Merry Christmas!

  • attiladesign

    tiina from lummedesigns said 3 years ago

    OMG-... a pickle :0??? I thought I have heard it all by now... Inspiring: must create a totally new decoration trend- what? hanging pancakes.... squirted mustard.... leftovers... tree decorated with syrup... diapers... old socks..... pieces of ham.... Happy Holidays!

  • HaleighOverseth

    Haleigh Overseth from HalesBeeHandmade said 3 years ago

    We have done the Christmas pickle search for an extra gift at my house. I'm not sure of the origins either - it does not seem to be a genuine German tradition, but possibly attached to German origin because of a German town, Lauscha, known for its own tradition of glass-blowing. Evidently artisan glass blowers in the town began making fruit and vegetable ornaments in the mid-1800s which are still exported all over the world. It seems the German tradition story may just be a marketing ploy for these particular pickle ornaments - which seems to work :) Marketing strategy or not, its a fun tradition and a funny, cute little ornament :)

  • shellseye

    Shelley McElhiney from shellseye said 3 years ago

    I've seen these ornaments from time to time, I think the first time was in Germany, & wondered "Why a pickle ornament?" Thanks for sharing some of the stories behind this funny little ornament :)

  • KnottinPearls

    Elizabeth Mangels from KnottinPearls said 3 years ago

    Very interesting, I have seen pickle ornaments but just thought it was a just a funny trend, I did not know the story behind them. I like it, thank you for the article!

  • accessoryalamode

    Deborah McGovern from deborahmcgovern said 3 years ago

    We have the pickle ornament! It has been a tradition in our family for many years. Merry Christmas to all!!

  • lyale22

    Lenamae L. said 3 years ago

    I had always heard the tradition came from Germany... but then again, most of the people that I know (myself included) that practice this tradition have Pennsylvania Dutch (NOT AMISH) roots....

  • Silverlight18

    Tammy Macuda said 3 years ago

    I have never heard of a christmas pickle, or of hanging one on the christmas tree.. What a unique, and very interesting story.. Thank so much

  • robertclough

    Robert Clough from SilverFoxAntiques said 3 years ago

    My wife's family has always done this, they had friends which actually put the tree up and decorated it every Christmas Eve (Santa and his Elves did this) and they were from one of the Northern Countries. But My wife and her family has ALWAYS had a small gherkin on the tree each year, and it must be found and not left on.. also a small mushroom!! these are all fun Traditions to pass on.

  • patspottery

    Pat Parker from PatsPottery said 3 years ago

    I have had a Christmas Pickle on my tree ever since I was a little girl. My Christmas Pickle got broken, but I still hung it every year with the broken side facing the back, until my BF bought me a new one. This is the 63rd year in a row, that I have hung my Christmas Pickle:>)

  • emmi009

    Constantina Pratsas Lopez from emmi009 said 3 years ago

    I'm German and we never had a pickle in our tree. No one from my family or friends knows about a christmas pickle.

  • sarapastrana

    Sara Pastrana from GracyDesignAndCraft said 3 years ago

    What a fun idea!

  • Capoeistra

    Ronja from RonjasVintageRoses said 3 years ago

    It is actually an American Tradition, not a German one according to Wikipedia. I did some checking and no one German has ever heard of the Christmas pickle, but it's a fun myth for Americans.

  • macheanimal

    Macheanimal animal from Macheanimal said 3 years ago

    Whimsical decoration!

  • nataliecosgrove

    nataliecosgrove said 3 years ago

    When I was a child, I would help my Nan decorate her tree. She had one pickle ornament. I thought it was an odd decoration but put it on every year. We didn't search for it and there was no prize but it was there every year. I wish I had asked where she got it. She is still alive but has dementia. I am going to ask her anyway. I don't know what happened to it but I am going to buy one for my tree.

  • jax71896

    Jackie E. from NorthernCottageGifts said 3 years ago

    It does sound like a fun tradition! Thanks for passing it on to us. :-) Merry Christmas greetings from Alaska, Jackie

  • mackenziebeltz

    Jennifer from aaahpaper said 3 years ago

    My family is Russian and Yugoslavian and we love the Christmas pickle! Merry Christmas!

  • TheCupcakeMarket

    Julie Lynn from imjulielynn said 3 years ago

    Interesting.... :)

  • dillasbeads

    Maria Marz from dillasbeads said 3 years ago

    First time I've ever hears if the Christmas pickle, but it's pretty cool.

  • xZOUix

    Zoui from XZOUIX said 3 years ago

    ahahahhaa, what a joke :D great article, thank you for sharing this unusual mystery ;---)

  • medorizheng

    Medori Zheng from TournesolMaison said 3 years ago

    my first impression on Christmas is Santa Claus, interesting to know about something about Christmas pickle :)

  • TheGreenFinch

    TheGreenFinch from TheGreenFinch said 3 years ago

    When I was younger my parents actually started doing this after being introduced to the idea from a German immigrant friend.

  • violetriotgrrrl

    Chloe from wearetheweirdos said 3 years ago

    It's a tradition in my family :)

  • atelierpompadour

    paola from atelierpompadour said 3 years ago

    sweet tradition!! never heard before!! thanks for sharing

  • ktmichael

    Katie Michael said 3 years ago

    I have had pickles on my tree for a long time and never knew of any folklore - I just thought they were whimsical and wacky! I love that there is something to them! Thanks so much!

  • brittanylaurendesign

    Brittany Lauren from brittanylaurendesign said 3 years ago

    We love the Christmas pickle in our family! Started this last year and it was a hit again this year!

  • kc9089

    kc9089 said 3 years ago

    I am of PA Dutch origin and have used this tradition for years :)

  • BullsEyeMercantile

    BullsEyeMercantile from BullsEyeMercantile said 3 years ago

    My grandmother's family came here prior to 1845, but I don't remember doing this as a child. My mom started doing it about 20 years ago. It's a cute thing to do on Christmas morning, but I think it's probably a german-american thing.

  • rociomartinez82

    Rocio said 3 years ago

    I had been wondering about this! Thanks for the share!

  • CreativeCastle

    Evonne from CuppaStitches said 3 years ago

    I've never heard any origins behind the Christmas pickle so thanks for sharing this. My kids each got a pickle ornament this year. I forgot to hang them on our tree, but I think we will start this tradition next year.

  • lindyjean

    Linda from bitsokits said 3 years ago

    we have had an ornament pickle for 20 years, and while all three kids used to hunt for the pickle, only my youngest has hunted for it in earnest the last ten years or so. this year, he got married, and I gave him his own pickle ornament to carry on the tradition with his new bride and the children they will have someday.

  • casadeboneca

    casa deboneca from casadeboneca said 3 years ago

    Ha!!!

  • kathynordham

    Kathy from KjewlDesigns said 3 years ago

    My family is of German heritage and we have had pickle ornaments on our tree for years. They come in all sizes, so the trick is to use larger ones when the kids are little.( easier to find on the tree) and smaller ones for older kids and adults. Who ever found it got an extra surprise present.

  • 8point8

    8point8 from ThinkEco2 said 3 years ago

    What a fun article. Thanks for sharing.

  • LaurenLeigh08

    Lauren Pruitt from LadyLoot said 3 years ago

    My fiance's parents sent us one for our tree, but neither of us knew the origin. We just thought it was cute and hung it up! I will have to tell him. Thanks!

  • mcneffc

    Carol McNeff said 3 years ago

    After 25 years my pickle was met with its untimely death this year:(

  • truetexasscents

    Beverly Mahanay Short from truetexasscents said 3 years ago

    First year for me to hear of it and I ordered one. Decided against having the grandson's try and find it and start an argument over one of them getting an extra gift. But, love the tradition.

  • swaggjewelry

    April McGee-Riess from RawLuxGems said 3 years ago

    That's a lovely piece of history to learn today. I just recently saw these ornaments at a little boutique shop, but I had no idea what the story was behind them, until now.

  • MurrayDesignStudio

    Jeanna Murray from CharMmarket said 3 years ago

    Love this! New traditions coming to our house next year!

  • anklamike

    Mike Ibarra from Sterlingsilverrings said 3 years ago

    Loved it!!! Wow, thank you for sharing!

  • JewelryByDeezines

    Denise Mierop from JewelryByDeezines said 3 years ago

    I always wondered....! Why a pickle...now I know! thanks

  • susantique

    Susan from susantique said 3 years ago

    We do the pickle gift every Christmas eve and have for the past 10 years or so. It's a wonderful new tradition in our family that we hope our children pass on to their children some day.

  • dlitt

    Dale Litt said 3 years ago

    I give away a pickle ornament every year! My friends find the "new" tradition entertaining. Just this past Christmas, I used the pickle ornament to purpose to my boyfriend. When he found the pickle hidden in the tree, the ring was attached to it. Caught everyone by surprise! :)

  • FurriPersonal

    Carole Gernett from FurriPersonal said 3 years ago

    We were given a pickle ornament a number of years ago from a friend who was of German background. We don't do the xtra present thing but it always makes a great conversation piece.

  • Richarme

    Julie Richarme from Richarme said 3 years ago

    We've got one, but the kids are a bit young to go searching through the tree for it. It was a gift from a German friend. She told us her family has done this tradition for generations. She was the first in her family to come to America and I tend to believe an actual German over a user submitted Wikipedia article.

  • bluefolkhome

    Margo Seibert from bluefolkhome said 3 years ago

    We did this tradition for many years with my husband's German family...lots of fun!

  • beadstylin

    beadstylin from beadstylin said 3 years ago

    We did this one year at my mom's house...fun!

  • trinlayk

    Silly Kitty from trinlayk said 3 years ago

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_pickle It's more probable an 1890s marketing gimick. Christmas trees weren't particularly common in the US till after the Civil War. They only became common in the UK in Victorian time due to the tradition being brought over from Germany with Prince Albert when he went over to the UK to marry Victoria. With the well documented privation/starvation in Andersonville, it is unlikely a gift of a pickle would have been life saving. (Riot inducing maybe...)

  • Watstore

    Wat Uttha from Watstore said 3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing.

  • mimienes

    Mimi Enes said 3 years ago

    I have this and it is a blast! We did it this year and it is great seeing the children laugh and play looking for it X-Mas Day!

  • farandtwee

    Vintage Minnow from VintageMinnow said 3 years ago

    learned of this a while ago..but as a kid i would see pickle ornaments being sold and think.."what's up with the pickle ornament?"

  • SimplySpainDesigns

    Julie and Cory from SimplySpainDesigns said 3 years ago

    Saw some friends post about a Christmas pickle and had been wondering about this - thanks for the info!

  • azulmarino

    Maria Steko said 3 years ago

    Nice story! And a really nice tradition, but definitively not from Germany. I am German, living in Germany and we don't have the Christmas pickle... I even saw it on German TV before Christmas, that the Americans believe the pickle tradition came from Germany, but it is not.

  • meanjeanarts

    Jean from Meanjeanarts said 3 years ago

    The first time I ever saw a pickle coupled with Christmas was in the movie "Bad Santa". I thought that this was just one more bizarre element in an already bizarre movie. Now I find that there is a precedent for giving a pickle as a present!

  • marisam4

    Marisa M. from FeltInMyHeart said 3 years ago

    My husband's family always had a Christmas pickle ornament! Whoever found it first got a tiny gift, and searching for the pickle was the first thing he and his siblings did when they woke up Christmas morning. I had never heard of it until meeting my husband, but now we keep the tradition with our own kids.

  • mkb1262

    Melody Curtis said 3 years ago

    Adorable tradition. Thanks for sharing it. We all have a fun family tradition that adds to the joy of the season. Mine is hanging candy canes on the tree. I keep the tree filled with the tasty treats so anyone who is near the tree can have a special sweet.

  • bananabanner

    Caitlin from BananaBanner said 3 years ago

    My mom bought me a yodeling pickle ornament this year and it's my favorite!

  • liesl

    Liesl from LieslMade said 3 years ago

    I grew up with this tradition! I thought it was more common but a couple years ago I was surprised to learn that no only do many German-Americans not have a pickle ornament tradition, a lot Germans don't either. For us, "Santa" would hide the pickle ornament and whichever kid found it in the morning got to pick the first present from under the tree. :)

  • kustomkwilts

    Joanna Marsh from kustomkwilts said 3 years ago

    My family has the Christmas pickle tradition as well. We started it after seeing "Bad Santa"...when the little boy tries to carve a wooden pickle and bleeds all over it!

  • EvelynsStuff

    Evelyn R. from EvelynsStuff said 3 years ago

    My mother is from Germany - never heard of a Christmas pickle ornament!

  • agardenofdreams

    a garden of dreams from agardenofdreams said 3 years ago

    .....a curious mystery which may never be solved, perhaps it is something that adds to the charm of this lovely tradition!

  • SPQNANCY

    NANCY PHILLIPS from SensibleSisters said 3 years ago

    My tree is western, complete with a red felt hat as the tree topper. But I heard of this tradition a number of years ago and was actually able to find a large pickle dressed as a cowboy complete with hat and lasso. Now that's a hard pickle to hide!

  • fantasyofflying8

    Chandra said 3 years ago

    My family tired it twice. Both times, my crazy aunt violently, and humorously, stripped the tree of boughs and decor in search of it. We now stock two trees. One to look pretty, one to house the pickle.

  • SPQNANCY

    NANCY PHILLIPS from SensibleSisters said 3 years ago

    I have a western Christmas tree, complete with red felt hat as topper. A number of years ago, I was able to find a rather large pickle dressed as a cowboy, including hat and lasso. Now that is a hard pickle to hide.

  • DesignerPillowShop

    Samantha from DesignerPillowShop said 3 years ago

    Haha... I've never heard of this before!

  • scdesign

    Patti Lippold from scdesign said 3 years ago

    It's a great tradition, we've had a pickle ornament for many years! Thanks for sharing this story!

  • ilavayoulolipop

    Jessica Dennison from shoplolipop said 3 years ago

    When I went to a friend's Christmas party in Elementary school I got a glimpse of this tradition. Their family hid the pickle ornament somewhere in the house, and the first one to find it won a prize, then the ornament was hung on the tree. We don't do this pickle thing in my house, but it is really cute :D hahah

  • BleuCarnet

    LeCarnetBleu from LeCarnetBleu said 3 years ago

    i had no idea!!!!!

  • anney33

    Anney TaZanney from AnneyTaZanney said 3 years ago

    Time to get a pickle! Love this quirky ornament, and a good way to insure a fabulous New Year, if you find it, I hope!! :)

  • ScatteredConfetti

    Kathleen from byDunkelbunt said 3 years ago

    Thanks for clarifying that it (most probably) does not have its origins in Germany - none of my family and friends, including me, has ever heard of it before, so I'm always a bit annoyed when it's said to be German. ;)

  • cajuntriangle

    Brad Rine from cajuntriangle said 3 years ago

    We have always hung a pickle (vintage style german glass ornament) in our Christmas Tree. Our daughters would enjoy being the first to find the location of the hanging pickle. And still do, as adults. a fun tradition. Brad

  • 777carolala

    Caroline Barbosa from OldSoulVintageltd said 3 years ago

    Interesting, never heard of this tradition.

  • mbgoberg

    Brenda Goldberg said 3 years ago

    My mom is 92 and she is not German. She is Swiss - Irish. She always has a pickle ornament on the tree. At least two of her great-grandfathers fought in the Civil War. She said the pickle was for luck.

  • auntaudreycreations

    Audrey Bielfelt from auntaudreycreations said 3 years ago

    I had only heard of the German origins of the pickle and I had been searching for a number of years for just the right pickle ornament and just found what I wanted this year. The Civil War story is new to me but I think I like it as much as the other tradition.

  • bluecow27

    Amanda Fletcher from LilyTreeDesigns said 3 years ago

    I lived in Germany for a few years when I was younger, my dad was in the military. I'd never heard of the Christmas pickle until just a few months ago when I was at Kmart with my mom and we saw an ornament for sale there. It had the story of the tradition on the packaging. Maybe it's just a tradition in certain parts of Germany?

  • VieletMerino

    Melanie Marie from VieletMerino said 3 years ago

    Family friends have been doing this for years, and it was always a little bit of a mystery! Thanks for sharing!

  • martin1206

    Martin Lam from martin1206 said 3 years ago

    So cute. Have ever heard about it from a friend but never seen it.

  • Celticcatphotos

    Celtic Cat Photos Mary Catherine Campbell from Celticcatphotos said 3 years ago

    It is a good day when you learn something new!

  • kmacdonald5

    Karin M. from EchoesOfEla said 3 years ago

    Definitely NOT German. I am from Germany and the entire story is made up. the most obvious flaw in the story is that the pickle is hidden in the tree in the night before Christmas and the child who finds in in the morning when gifts are opened gets a special gift. Germans open their gifts on Christmas Eve:)

  • NooraP31

    NooraP31 said 3 years ago

    We do use that ornament as a family... however, I asked via online discussion group if this custom was known at all in my native Germany - they all answered in the negative, but got a good laugh out of it. :-D However, I have sent a Christmas Pickle over to my mother and sister. I'm doing my best to get the old tradition started over there! LOL

  • RingAroundbyRosie

    Rosemary Babikan from GirlsRings said 3 years ago

    I'm German and have always played the Pickle game. They are sold at the Kristkindl Markets everywhere. We just play games with the children to find the hidden pickle....there is no extra gifts or whatever......just fun finding the pickle. The child who finds it is the next one to hide it. The kids love it.

  • pinksnakejewelry

    pinksnakejewelry from pinksnakejewelry said 3 years ago

    Very Cute and seems to have stirred up some interesting comments this Christmas Pickle!!

  • ionesAttic

    Barbara from ionesAttic said 3 years ago

    To accompany the pickle my favorite kitchen store is also stocking glass ornaments in exotic shapes of pomegranates, artichokes and figs...not vintage but still a sweet treat for my foodie friends.

  • randella1960

    Randi Omley-Tatum from LaLaSophisticates said 3 years ago

    My scandinavian grandparents brought this tradition with them in the early 1900's...

  • truformjewelry

    Laurie from truformjewelry said 3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing Jeni. I just bought "pickles" for all of my friends and family this year to add to their Christmas traditions. It's so much fun adding to the excitement of the day, and we like to do it for the little AND the big children!!

  • TheMushroomPatch

    Annette Poindexter from TheMushroomPatch said 3 years ago

    We have been doing the pickle tradition in our house since my lids were about 6 years old. This year I placed the pickle on the tree for fun and really didnt put much thought into a gift, lol. My youngest daughter is 20 now and she came up to and said "i found the pickle, wheres my present"? LOL, I had no present! I told her she will get a present tomorrow and congratulations! She got a fantastic homemade bar of soap. The kids really enjoy the tradition and as you can see it stays with them and seem to expect it now at any age.

  • preservinghome

    Roberta from preservinghome said 3 years ago

    According to Wikipedia the tradition was found to be an American one - but fun none-the-less! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_pickle

  • tootsieraymond

    Lisa Raymond from ModernSimpleBaby said 3 years ago

    My in-laws do this!

  • nelago14

    Christine said 3 years ago

    It has long been documented to NOT be a German tradition - just ask any German (like me, my mother, any of our family members and friends that live all over Germany, ...) It's a cute tradition that is actually now gaining some steam in Europe (as an American import), but marketing it as a German tradition is just that: marketing!

  • AwesomenessA

    Vanessa C. said 3 years ago

    I can vouch - this is definitely not a German tradition, but it is so harmless (unless you have very competitive children) that I don't really mind when people mistakenly attribute it to the wrong culture.

  • AwesomenessA

    Vanessa C. said 3 years ago

    The German Christmas Cucumber on the other hand...

  • TheBoutiqueJewelry

    TheBoutiqueJewelry from ParakeetsPerch said 3 years ago

    An interesting and fun tradition!

  • branda

    branda Moreno from branda said 3 years ago

    Great! Thank you Jeni!! :-) :-)

  • MookieDesigns

    Merideth from MookieDesigns said 3 years ago

    I'm from Alberta, and always knew about the pickle, but thought it was a Ukranian thing!

  • MookieDesigns

    Merideth from MookieDesigns said 3 years ago

    I an an Albertan, and always knew about the pickle, but thought it was a Ukranian thing!

  • melaniesOriginals

    Lanie from SolitarySnowOwlCraft said 3 years ago

    It's not really a European or German tradition. It was made in the USA but was given that to it that it started in Germany in order to sell more. However, I still think it's a cute thing to do. A friend of mine has a friend from Germany who was visiting here in Orlando and got really offended seeing the Christmas pickle thing at Epcot. I don't really get why she was so offended as it's not like it's something negative made up about Germany.

  • marg1886

    Mari Givens from GlitterZombiess said 3 years ago

    Never heard of this tradition before. Sounds interesting ? Maybe a dill will find its way to the tree next year :)

  • FieldsOfVintage

    Fields Of Vintage from FieldsOfVintage said 3 years ago

    Jeni, was agreat story about the Pickle! I had no idea.

  • randella1960

    Randi Omley-Tatum from LaLaSophisticates said 3 years ago

    This is a second post for me - checked in with older sister about our family's tradition - both the swedish side arriving in the late 1800's and norwegian side in 1904 brought this tradition and pickle ornaments with them. The ornament we had hanging on our tree was from the norwegian side and had been passed to our father. In our family we celebrate Christmas with smorgasbord on Christmas Eve - but when it was time to open gifts it was the child who found the pickle who would get the first sweet item - hard candy or chocolate - and every year my dad would say that finding it meant something good would happen - like all a's on the report cards! I gave pickles to my children as they married to carry on this longstanding tradition.

  • emilygarrard

    emily williams from 3littlemustardseeds said 3 years ago

    What a cute idea! I love hearing about other cultures traditions around the holidays .

  • WhimzyWing

    Ginger from WhimzyWingz said 3 years ago

    Oh cool! ! I never heard of that before, but have several pickle ornaments anyway just because pickles are awesome.

  • Jeaninerose1

    Jeanine Dell'Orfano from FleecyFeetsies said 3 years ago

    Very cool. Now heading to the fridge for a Gherkin myself.

  • CreativityHappens

    Barbara from CreativityHappens said 3 years ago

    We have been doing the Christmas pickle in our home for years! It is so much fun and everyone looks forward to participating. (don't forget there is a prize for the person finding the pickle). We have recruited some new family members to start doing it in their homes too!

  • dailydangerco

    Dejah Danger from DangerIndustries said 3 years ago

    We did this for the first time this year and it was fun. I love adding interesting traditions to our own holiday experience. The kids enjoyed having a pickle hunt.

  • LondonandGranger

    Felie Hempfling from LondonandGranger said 3 years ago

    We incorporated this tradition a few years ago, it's so much fun watching everyone try and find the pickle. One year it was so hidden it took almost 20 minutes to find people started getting antsy! Love the pickle!

  • TheresasGourmet

    Theresa Ryales from TheresasGourmet said 3 years ago

    Very cool.

  • juhus

    Alice Her said 3 years ago

    We also have that kind of christmas pickles on christmas tree, but I didn't knew that they also have some kind of history or tradition. I think my grandmother bought them in the soviet time, maybe some German in our country started to produce them for luck to every home.

  • cronopia6

    cronopia6 from cronopia6 said 3 years ago

    lovit! congrats!

  • patterntreasury

    Tess from patterntreasury said 3 years ago

    i hadn't heard of this story either. At our house one year when the kids were little (and not being very good at the moment), I told them the story about Santa bringing a lump of coal to the bad little kids. Well, they had no idea what the a lump of coal had to do with anything. They hated pickles. So, I told them, it was like Santa bringing a jar of pickles to the bad kids. Then they understood the meaning of the story. Every year since then, if we have a trouble maker at Christmas they get the a jar of pickles under the tree (along with their other presents).

  • CupcakeZombieGrl

    Tj Rutherford said 3 years ago

    I bought a set of antique/vintage Christmas ornaments and one of them was a pickle, I have wondered about it since it is relatively out of place amongst the Santas, poinsettia, etc. Now I don't have to wonder and have a tradition to start!

  • ViennaIsLove

    Jennifer Serene from ViennaIsLove said 3 years ago

    Funny! We just received a Christmas pickle ornament as a present this year, and I thought it was bizarre. Now I know this is a real tradition for some people!

  • Raeshellia

    Rachel Monroe from SunflowerRelics said 3 years ago

    We are so going to do this when we have a family! Love it!

  • ThreeChicksVIntage

    Mrs Berry from ThreeChicksVIntage said 3 years ago

    Our family has done this for years! My children are grown up, with spouses, etc., and we still do this. On the day of our gathering, everyone leaves the room while my husband hides the pickle. He's really good at it and it took the five kids almost half an hour to find it! My kids range from 19-30 years old and it's still a fun tradition that they insist upon.

  • donDiLights

    Dondi Prestwood from donDiLights said 3 years ago

    Never heard of this and I love it! What a great idea!

  • gemsofmary

    Maria and Liz Stechschulte from GemsofMary said 3 years ago

    I enjoyed reading your blog about Christmas Pickle Ornament. My late husband was of German heritage. In fact, their family is easily traceable in Germany. Well, we have a beautiful "Christmas Pickle Ornament" which we have had for years. The ornament actually came from Germany. I am aware of the German tradition but not the American one. Thank you for sharing your blog about it. Maria

  • claire1927

    Clara said 3 years ago

    My family actually has three different pickle ornaments, though we don't follow the tradition of searching for them on Christmas. We know about the idea, but just hang them on the tree with the others.

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 3 years ago

    Love the pickle....I am German, but didn't know about it until my mother-in-law started doing this for the youngest grandchildren. Not sure why she didn't do it for all of them, but she didn't... We have done it a few times since then, but don't seem to be doing it on a regular yearly basis.... It is a fun tradition to start when you have children...

  • keychainbydesign

    Hope from Keys2please said 3 years ago

    I love the idea of the Christmas Pickle! It's really a great idea!

  • Bailoutabarista

    Beaver Brown Burke from Bailoutabarista said 3 years ago

    I love your blog about the pickle ornament, I just called my German friend who have never heard of this but was asked many times about this "tradition." Her parents are from Germany and came over in the late forties. They never heard this either. My friend is married to a Japanese and they host a New Year's Day Open House every year as their family tradition. I suggest she visit your shop for a pickle or I might buy it for her. Thanks you for the story.

  • beautiesretreat

    Beauties Retreat from BeautiesRetreat said 3 years ago

    We just learned about this in 2013. After a lot of research, we found out that most people from Germany do not even know about the Christmas pickle ornament, but it is used in the USA. What a great story and we will be using our Christmas Pickle next year! Thanks. :)

  • FyreflyHollow

    Liz-n-Dan from FyreflyHollow said 3 years ago

    A little late for me this year, but maybe next year I will hide a pickle ornament in my tree. Thanks for sharing!

  • Coloradofinds

    Coloradofinds from Coloradofinds said 3 years ago

    A pickle is a prominent feature in 15th Century Italian artist Crivelli's oil painting "Madonna and Child". A large green pickle /cucumber hangs in the upper left corner above the head of the Virgin Mary. This painting is full of whimsical details to include the bare bottomed Christ child sitting on a throw pillow and staring down intently at a nearby fly. It is quite possible that the "pickle" ornaments are actually cucumbers. Regardless, the origin of the custom quite likely predates that of the Christmas tree. I propose that this Italian painting, as opposed to the various pickle legends and stories, stands as a more reliable historical reference for the "Christmas pickle". Patti Todovich

  • Coloradofinds

    Coloradofinds from Coloradofinds said 3 years ago

    Here is the link to the Metropolitan Musem of Art's site and the image of the 1495 painting by Crivelli http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/436052 There appear to be numerous other versions of this subject by the artist, but the one above is the most famous.

  • GILDBookbinders

    GILDBookbinders from GILDBookbinders said 3 years ago

    IT IS FANTASTIC! I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO LOVELY PICKLES BEFORE! Very interestiong story- now I am much more clever! Thank you!

  • jojobeandesigns

    Joanna Sargent from jojobeandesigns said 3 years ago

    If you do a bit of research on this story, it's origins are actually just myth:) It is supposedly a German tradition, but ask anyone living in Germany and most likely they will never have heard of it! http://www.german-way.com/history-and-culture/holidays-and-celebrations/christmas/the-christmas-pickle-ornament/

  • kkat1994

    kkat1994 said 3 years ago

    We have been doing this particular tradition since before I can even remember. However, sadly I only remember once actually finding the pickle first once, and as a prize I received a chocolate bar.

  • dominna

    Katrina Dzerkale from Dominna said 3 years ago

    pickly !

  • jrenaes

    Jenna May from amayzingstitches said 3 years ago

    Love this tradition :) my grandparents started it with my sister & cousins many years ago and I plan to continue it with my family!

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