Christmas Pickle

Christmas Pickle

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Updated Mar 05, 2019 at 02:50PM EST by Brad.

Added Nov 29, 2018 at 03:51PM EST by Matt.

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About

Christmas Pickle, also known as "Weihnachtsgurke," refers to an American Christmas-time tradition of hanging an ornament in the shape of a pickle on the Christmas tree. This decoration is typically hidden amongst the other ornaments, leaving it up to the children of the household to find the pickle on the tree. The finder receives an extra present.

Origin

While no one can provide definitive proof for the pickle's origins, there are three prevailing origins for the tradition. These origins include one in which two children were captured by an innkeeper and held hostage in a pickle crate, only to be rescued by Santa Claus.

Others center around the emergence of German-made fruit and vegatable-shaped Christmas ornaments, which began production in 1847. As one legend tells, a captured solider during the Civil War, John Lower grew ill while imprisoned and convinced a guard to give him a pickle, recovering soon after. He celebrated his luck by commemorating the pickle with an ornament on the tree.

However, the glass pickles produced in Germany were not imported to the United States until around 1880, when F.W. Woolworth began selling them in Woolworth stores. Additionally, many of these glass "German Christmas Pickles" came with legends about the item, so it's likely the tradition was just a marketing gimmick.[1][2]

Spread

On December 20th, 2016, YouGov published a poll that indicated the tradition is largely unknown. The poll showed that only 91% of the more than 2,000 Germans had heard of the tradition.[3]

On December 23rd, 2016, The New York Times[4] published an article on the Christmas Pickle, "The Christmas Pickle: A Tradition Taken With a Pinch of Salt."

On November 22nd, 2018, Twitter [5] user @oldlogchurch tweeted, "Long ago when parents decorated the Christmas tree, they hung the pickle ornament, hiding it in the tree. When the children were allowed to see the tree, they searched for the pickle because the first to find it would receive an extra gift from Santa for being the most observant." The tweet received more than 375 retweets and 1,600 likes in one week.

Several media outlets covered the pickle, including Atlas Obscura,[6] Cosmopolitan,[7] Southern Living[8] and more. On November 28th, 2018, Twitter [9]published a Moments page about the Christmas Pickle.


Long ago when parents decorated the Christmas tree, they hung the pickle ornament, hiding it in the tree. When the children were allowed to see the tree, they searched for the pickle because the first to find it would receive an extra gift from Santa for being the most observant.

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