The Legend of the Christmas Pickle

By | December 19, 2018

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A 'Christmas Pickle' hangs on a Christmas tree in New York. If the children manage to discover it, they receive another present. Photo: Johannes Schmitt-Tegge/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Johannes Schmitt-Tegge/picture alliance via Getty Images)

A quirky Christmas tradition, the legend of the Christmas pickle is said to be an Old German holiday tradition that has been slow to spread to other parts of the world. The thing is, if you were to ask your old German grandmother to tell you about the tradition of the Christmas pickle and how her family used to celebrate it back in the old country, she would probably shrug her shoulders. Not many Germans, in fact, know about this odd and whimsical Christmas custom. Is it really an obscure tradition? Or is it a modern-day custom cleverly disguised as an antiquated one for marketing purposes? 

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What is a Christmas Pickle?

According to the stories that are told today, the Christmas pickle, known as die Weihnachtsgurke, was an old German tradition. Each family had one special Christmas ornament, usually made of glass, fashioned into the shape of a pickle. It was even painted green. This pickle ornament was hidden somewhere on the Christmas tree, camouflaged among the evergreen boughs. The first child to find the elusive Christmas pickle on Christmas morning received a special gift.