The Pickle Ornament Tradition
Have you ever wondered how one little glass ornament in the shape of a pickle became such a time-honored Christmas tradition? As long as I can remember, my brother and I were crazy about being the first to find that pickle ornament Christmas morning.
The tradition was said to have begun in Germany in the late 16th century. Germany produced and exported significant numbers of glass blown ornaments to America during the Victorian period. During the 1880’s, Woolworth’s Department Stores purchased large quantities of ornaments in the shape of fruits and vegetables. Rumor had it that Germany hung the pickle ornament last on the tree – just before midnight on December 24th. The first child who found the pickle Christmas morning was the first to open a present and, in some instances, the pickle-finder received an extra gift. That rumor was enough to ignite the pickle ornament tradition in America.
One legend has it that a German soldier imprisoned during the Civil War, begged a guard for a pickle and the guard complied. This incident gave the soldier the strength he needed to carry on through the War of the States. Upon returning home, it is said the soldier hung a pickle ornament on his Christmas tree from that day forward to commemorate the life-sustaining pickle he received from the guard.
We’ve continued this family tradition through the years and each Christmas our adult children and son-in-law scramble like children on Christmas morning to find the pickle (and win the cash prize).
This Christmas, take a moment to reflect on past and present family traditions. Stay tuned for “Pickle News” at Flowertown Bed and Breakfast as we will be doing some fun activities throughout the year with our very own pickle ornament.