Every year, we celebrate a time honored tradition: somewhere on our Christmas tree, we hang a Christmas pickle. It is a little ornament hidden among the other far more standard ornaments, such as Aquaman, tacos, and a snowman listening to an iPod.
According to the literature that comes with the pickle ornament, this celebrates a timeless tradition that originates from Germany. It is said that the first child to find the pickle will be the first one to open presents on Christmas day. Others give an extra present to the the pickle finder, while some believe it confers special blessings.
It is likely that this is a bald faced lie. A survey of Germans showed that 91% had never ever heard of the Christmas pickle. If it did come from Germany, it could perhaps be because there was a German manufacturer that did all sorts of glass blown ornaments of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Why did the pickle get singled out? I don’t know… because it’s hilarous?
There are some who claim it originated from a Civil War POW, who survived by smuggling pickles from a prison guard. Honestly, this sounds even more suspect than the claims of being an old world German tradition.
The real reason is that it’s most likely a tall tale fabricated by some enterprising salesperson as a way of selling more ornaments. Sort of like the Elf-on-a-Shelf: a faux Christmas tradition with a pre-packaged made-up history. But if we can celebrate a season with such seemingly unattainable fictions as peace on Earth and goodwill, surely we can also make a place in our hearts for the legend of the Christmas pickle.