The Christmas Pickle Tradition Is Fake News, but I Don’t Care
I will never forget the time I first learned about the Christmas Pickle. I had been dating my then-boyfriend for a little over a year and I went over to his house at some point on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts with his family. Coming from a household with a Brazilian-Portuguese and Irish background, there were certain traditions we adopted during the holidays and I was curious to see how the Dudek family handled Christmas as they are Irish and Polish.
When Greg's mom said it was time to find the pickle, I was very confused. I was told that the Christmas Pickle is an old German tradition. The Dudeks are not German, but that did not stop Donna from participating in this festive game the last few years.
According to The German Way, “A very old Christmas Eve [sic] tradition in Germany was to hide a pickle [ornament] deep in the branches of the family Christmas Tree. The parents hung the pickle last after all the other ornaments were in place. In the morning they knew the most observant child would receive an extra gift from St. Nicholas. The first adult who finds the pickle traditionally gets good luck for the whole year.”
We played a quick game of hot and cold to find this hidden pickle in one of the two trees that were displayed in the home. I did not find the pickle and my future sister-in-law was the one who got the extra gift that year. I still had a fun time and look forward to playing each year.
I'm a little sad to learn, seven years later, that this tradition isn't actually German at all. Apparently, most Germans have never even heard of this. Still, it's a fun and silly way to celebrate the holiday and one that I'll do with our own kids one day. Until then, I'm hoping that someone will give me a carrot ornament before our wedding. According to The Spruce, carrots were believed to "bring the bride good luck in the kitchen." I'll need all the luck I can get.