Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Traditions: Hiding The Pickle Ornament

I've decided to start a series on holiday traditions. I have a lot of memories of great traditions while growing up, like getting to open up one Christmas present on Christmas Eve, a tradition that started when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I pestered and bugged my parents so much in my eagerness to open presents, that they finally consented to let me open up one on Christmas Eve.

When hubs and I got married, we did our best to incorporate some of the traditions we grew up with into our marriage and our family. We've added some new traditions that have helped enrich our holiday celebration.
Our newest tradition is hiding the pickle ornament, which we actually have started this evening. I first heard about this tradition several years ago during a Christmas activity at our church. The theme for that activity was holiday traditions. One family had a tradition of hiding a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree. Each member of the family hunted high and low to find the pickle. Whoever found it received a special treat.

I was a little...well...what's the word? Perplexed? Yeh, perplexed. Whoever heard of a pickle on a Christmas tree? It just seemed such an odd choice of decoration. And besides, what store in their right mind would sell a pickle ornament?

Well, apparently, JCPenny sells pickle ornaments! (I couldn't find it at JCPenny online, but Crate & Barrel sells one here). When I saw the pickle ornament at my local JCPenny, I couldn't help but think, "Seriously? Someone else heard about this tradition and is sellng this thing?"

Needless to say, I bought one! And hid it on the Christmas tree after the kids went to bed. They'll enjoy looking for it in the morning, and since I put it up on a high branch, it will take them awhile to find it.

Hubs got a good laugh. He, too, remembered the Christmas activity when we first learned about the pickle ornament tradition.

According to the tag that was on our pickle ornament, the pickle is a symbol of good luck in Germany. Parents decorate the Chrismas tree on Christmas Eve. The last ornament they place on the tree is the pickle ornament, which they hide. The first child to locate the pickle ornament on Christmas morning gets an extra gift from St. Nicholas. But I did a little research, and it seems that St. Nicholas arrives much earlier in the month of December, and German families open their presents on Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day.

So no telling when or how this tradition really surfaced, but it's a fun one nonetheless that we have added to our list of traditions. It's quick and easy and fun for the whole family.

How about you? What are your traditions? I'd LOVE to hear about them! Write a comment to share your tradition. We just might have a tradition in common. Or you might have a tradition that we'll be able to add to our list of holiday traditions. :-D


  1. My sister in law brought the pickle tradition to our family. My parents hide it on their tree on Christmas Eve and whoever finds it gets a treat! I think I found it last year!

    I also saw a cute "game" in Family Fun Magazine I think last year where you wrap 6 of different sizes (put each one inside a bigger one) and you number each box 1-6. You roll the dice and the person who rolls a 1 opens the first box until you get through all six. The sixth one has a prize inside :)

    I "borrowed" a tradition from Meredith that she posted on her blog where you wrap 24 Christmas books (I just used ones we already had and I'm guessing that's what she does, too). The kids get to pick one and unwrap it each night to read. This is the first year we have done this and it's been a HUGE hit!

    We also do our "Elf" and my kids get Christmas PJs and get to open one present on Christmas Eve.

  2. I love that idea of wrapping the Christmas books, opening one up each night & reading it! We never seen to get through all our Christmas books because we have so many. That might help us out. Thanks or sharing, Melissa!


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