If you woke up one morning to find an ornament shaped like a pickle hanging among the tinsel and lights, you might be a little confused. However, that is a common reaction when people first experience the Christmas Pickle, and you are not alone. In fact, many adults still have only a vague idea of why pickles are still used as Christmas ornaments today. Read on to learn more about the interesting history of the Christmas Pickle, and look through our catalog to find the LED Christmas lights you and your family deserve!
Myths & Lore
There’s quite a bit of lore surrounding the Christmas Pickle, and it’s actually more difficult to determine the actual origins of the Christmas Pickle than you might expect. The most common myth about the Christmas Pickle’s origin is that it began as a German tradition, but there’s actually very little evidence to corroborate this theory. In fact, scholars who have closely studied the origins and history of Christmas have found that most Germans are entirely unfamiliar with the tradition!
Another myth suggests that the Christmas Pickle originates with an American Civil War soldier who was originally from Bavaria, which is now part of modern-day Germany. Legend has it that the man was captured and put in prison, and a pickle given to him by a generous guard was the only thing standing between him and an early demise. After he was released, it’s said that he began hiding a pickle in his Christmas tree to give thanks and remind himself of his good fortune.
Another — and perhaps less far-fetched — origin story traces back to the late 1880s. We know that Woolworth, a popular five-and-dime store, began importing and selling glass ornaments from around the world, and glass pickles may have been among the imports from either Germany or France. Wherever they did in fact come from, they became incredibly popular with the American public shortly after they hit the shelves!
The Christmas Pickle Today
The Christmas Pickle can be found in a variety of different styles, but the dark-green glass you’re probably familiar with is close to the originally imported pickles that were sold at Woolworth. As legend has it, whoever finds the Christmas Pickle in the tree will receive an extra present when Santa Claus makes his way down the chimney, or a year of favorable fortune. Even if your children are too old to believe in Santa, hiding a small pickle in your tree is an easy and fun tradition you can start this year. You can have a small gift set aside for whoever finds it, and everyone in the family will look forward to the tradition next year. If you’d like even more ideas to use this Christmas, check out our guide to starting a new Christmas tradition!