The Mysterious Reason Families Hang a Pickle on Their Christmas Tree
Somewhere among the flashy ornaments and glowing lights is a shiny, green pickle hanging on some Christmas trees.
Yes, a pickle.
Why People Hang Pickles On Christmas Trees
The reason behind the tradition of a pickle on a Christmas tree is different depending on who you ask.
Southern Living explained the tradition of hanging an ornament shaped like a pickle is called "Weihnachtsgurke."
"For many families, Christmas morning starts with a hunt for a pickle ornament, deemed the Christmas pickle, on the tree," Southern Living reports. "the first person who finds the pickle gets the first gift, and bragging rights until next Christmas."
Many believe its roots can be traced back to Germany. That's unless you're actually from Germany.
According to German-Way.com, there is little history in Germany regarding the pickle.
"Teachers of German in the U.S. and in Europe have never been able to find a native German who has ever heard of the pickle legend, much less carried out the Christmas custom," the website reports. "It may have been some German-American invention by someone who wanted to sell more glass ornaments for Christmas."
In 2021, a writer for MarthaStewart.com sought out to tell The Untold Story of the Christmas Pickle Ornament. The article supported the idea that the tradition was fabricated as a way to peddle more ornaments to families who were none-the-wiser.
"Historical evidence supports the theory that the tradition was most likely fabricated by salesmen during the late 1800s to promote German glass ornaments in America stores," MarthaStewart.com reported.
Where To Buy Pickle Ornaments For Christmas
Fabricated or not, the story continues to work as nearly every major retailer is selling pickle ornaments once again this Christmas.
Amazon is selling a hand-blown glass pickle ornament that comes in a collectible box. Under the box's lid is an explanation of the pickle "tradition."
There is no mention that that the story may have been a farce.
Even condiment-maker Heinz has gotten in on the pickle ornament game selling a version of its logo emblazoned on the decoration's side.
"But no matter how you slice, crunch, or stack it, the Christmas pickle isn't going anywhere anytime soon," Southern Living says. "And as for where it came from, we care more about where it is now—and being the first to find it."
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