Do you know the history behind the Christmas pickle? Join us as we explore the untold story of the Christmas pickle tradition!
The Christmas Pickle Tradition
For many years, Christmas enthusiasts believed that the Christmas Pickle tradition was passed down through generations upon generations from Old World Germany. Of course, the Christmas Pickle is not an actual edible pickle, but, instead, a pickle-shaped ornament that is hidden deep inside the branches of a family’s Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.
The parents would sneak out of bed on Christmas Eve to hide the Christmas Pickle among the maze of ornaments and lights already on the tree. The greenish color of the ornament usually disguised itself well in the Christmas tree, making it harder to find.
On Christmas morning, all the children in the house would scramble out of bed to be the first one to find the pickle-shaped ornament in the tree. Of course, the first child to find the Christmas Pickle received an extra present for finding the prized ornament!
The Andersonville Pickle
Although most Christmas enthusiasts believe that the Christmas Pickle tradition began in Germany, an alternate theory regarding the Christmas Pickle tradition attributes the custom to a Civil War soldier named John Lower.
After being captured during the Civil War and sent to a prison in Andersonville, Georgia, John’s health began to diminish. As he lay there starving and near death, he begged the prison guard for one last pickle before he died. The guard took pity on him and supplied him with a pickle to eat. This pickle gave him the strength to live on!
As the story goes, after John Lower returned to his family, he began hiding a pickle in the family Christmas tree to bring good fortune and luck to the person who was lucky enough to find it Christmas morning!
My Christmas Pickle Tradition
Every holiday season my Christmas tree and house are decked out from top to bottom in glistening lights, personalized ornaments, and seasonal decorations. Among all the sparkling and shiny ornaments and lights, hangs my traditional glass pickle.
Every year on Christmas Eve, when my children were little, I would sneak down my stairs and hide my glass pickle ornament within our Christmas tree. Since the glass pickle ornament was dark green in color, it blended right into our fresh evergreen making it harder for my children to find. I would then wrap up an extra present, using special wrapping paper to symbolize the gift one of my children would receive for finding the Christmas Pickle. The present was then placed under the tree among the rest of the gifts.
On Christmas morning, my children would come running down the stairs, eager for their chance to find the glass pickle. Each one of my children would then inspect the tree in search of this famous Christmas Pickle. The first one to find the ornament was granted the privilege of unwrapping the special gift from under the tree.
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