The Christmas Pickle
Every family has holiday traditions; some large, some small. Some traditions focus on family gatherings; Easter egg hunt at Grandma’s after a sunrise church service, travel to visit family every year at Thanksgiving or a large Christmas dinner for fifteen with the in-laws (be sure to bring your famous mac-n-cheese!). Some traditions are smaller, more personal to mom, dad and the kids. Maybe you decorate your Christmas tree together on Thanksgiving, celebrate half-birthdays or hide some really hard to find Easter eggs with special prizes inside that take a good hour of searching to locate. One tradition I have enjoyed is making my boys a special, crocheted Christmas gift. Over the years I have crocheted stuffed monsters, cats, gnomes, popular characters, and most recently, stuffed dragons playing my kids’ favorite sports.
There is one holiday custom I recently discovered that I believe will become a new tradition in our home. The Christmas Pickle. This custom is so silly that I feel it will be welcomed with open arms in my household. If you haven’t heard of it, it is pretty simple. A Christmas ornament in the shape of a pickle is placed upon the Christmas tree. The first child to find the ornament on Christmas morning receives a special gift or will have extra good luck for the year. That is it. The pickle, being green, is hard to see and therefore a type of treasure hunt. But why a pickle? That is what is so silly. What do pickles have to do with Christmas? There is no connection to the religious celebration for Christians or the Santa Claus/St. Nick aspect of it. It is totally random.
Surely there must be a reason for the pickle. A quick internet search will yield a few different theories as to the origin of the custom. It was originally thought to be a German tradition but that seems to have been disproved. One theory as to the origin is about a dying prisoner of war who asked a guard for one last pickle. His wish was granted and the pickle gave him enough strength and the will to live. The prisoner survived and was able to return home to his family. True or not, it is a touching story about how a little act of kindness in an awful situation could inspire an individual. Another theory is that the custom was fabricated by a creative glass Christmas ornament salesman in the late 1800s in order to sell his pickle shaped ornaments!
I don’t know what the origin of the custom may be. I do know it can be a lot of fun to hide the pickle and have the kids search for it. Something silly and quick that they will look forward to each year. I am really excited to introduce The Christmas Pickle to my family. I love the story of how one individual’s kindness in a horrific environment inspired a man to survive. It is a tradition that at first seems a little silly but has meaning that will inspire. I hope my boys enjoy the story, the pickle and the hunt, and continue this family tradition for many years.
It is never too late to start a new tradition with your family. You can buy a Christmas Pickle ornament, or like us crocheters love to do, make your own. Choose a yarn that is as close to the color of your tree as possible. Or, if you tend to have a different live tree every year, make a couple of pickles in different shades of green. You will always have one that can be easily camouflaged deep within the branches.
The Christmas Pickle would make a fun gift for new families just starting out. Perhaps a family member or close friend was recently married or engaged, or maybe a new baby arrived. Make your loved one a Christmas Pickle ornament, enclose the story of kindness and continue the tradition.
The Christmas Pickle Gift Set includes both a crochet pattern and a gift card explaining the tradition. Print the included Christmas Pickle story and enclose with your hand-crocheted Christmas Pickle ornament.