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Ever been pulled into a pickle ornament-spotting contest? No, not a real pickle, but a pickle ornament? What's that you say? You don't nestle a Santa hat-clad cucumber amongst the balls and baubles on your tree? Well, here's your sign to start.
At first glance, a glass pickle suspended among the usual Tannenbaum tinsel might seem a bit strange. But as Wide Open Country writes, it's said to be a fortuitous sighting—and part of an Old World holiday tradition. There are a few variations of the story, but legend goes that the first child to find the Christmas pickle ornament receives the first present, an extra present, or the job of handing out the presents, as well as good fortune for the year.
While the quirky custom known as Weihnachtsgurke, or Christmas Pickle, supposedly has its roots in Germany, apparently most Germans haven't even heard of it. In fact, the New York Times reported that out of 2,057 Germans polled, YouGov determined 91% were unaware of the legend. The pickle ornament tradition is actually most popular in the Midwest, says the publication. Perhaps the large number of German immigrants in the region, including in Berrien Springs, Michigan, a German settlement and the self-proclaimed "Christmas Pickle Capital of the World," has something to do with that. Berrien Springs even hosts an annual Christmas Pickle Festival.
But the origin of the salty snack as a Christmas tradition is a bit of a, well, pickle. No one really knows the truth. In one tale, a villainous innkeeper trapped two boys in a pickle barrel, and St. Nicholas himself set them free, according to Tampa Bay Magazine. Others say a Civil War soldier (and German immigrant) being held captive in Georgia begged for and was given a pickle, which ended up sustaining him. But a third theory suggests perhaps it was a mere marketing scheme. In the 1840s, German glassblowers made ornaments shaped like fruit and nuts, so pickles might have been a possibility, and by the 1880s, F. W. Woolworth Company (the American five-and-dime store) started importing them to sell, paired with the story.
Want to start this tradition with your own family? Take your pick of these pretty pickle Christmas ornaments.
Cheery Pickle Ornament
A pickle with rosy cheeks and a Santa hat? Adorable!
Blown Glass Christmas Pickle
This one comes boxed for gifting.
Glass Blown Pickle Ornament
We love the heart detail on the top of this ornament. Too cute!
Personalized Pickle Ornament
Claim your cuke with the name and date option!
Family Pickle Ornament
This elegant spin features a pretty pink personalized bow.
Sparkling Pickle Ornament
What's better than a pickle ornament, you ask? A pickle ornament covered in glitter, of course!
Glass Pickle Ornament
This small dill will blend right into the tree, creating the ultimate Christmas challenge.
Felt Pickle Ornament
A preppy pickle complete with a knit scarf and hat is guaranteed to bring smiles.
Kurt Adler Old World Pickle Ornament
Give us all the shine! This vibrant option features a shiny finish and meticulous detailing, and comes beautifully packaged too.
German Christmas Pickle Ornament
This pickle is nestled snugly in a lovely gift box and includes the legend of the Christmas pickle.
Noble Gems Merry Christmas Pickle Glass Ornament
Extra cheery and bright, just how we like our pickle holiday!
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