December 05, 2018

Here is where the Christmas pickle tradition comes from

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Hanging a pickle on a Christmas tree is a common tradition in many American households, and there are many fascinating stories behind how this came into practice.

According to Why Christmas, many families hang a glass pickle ornament before December 25, hidden within the branches of a Christmas tree. Then the first child of the house to find that pickle would either get a special treat or would get to be the first person to open the gift.

The purpose of this tradition is to keep the children patient and stop them from rushing through the process of opening the presents. This will teach them to appreciate each gift and consider each one special.


The tradition is often believed to have been originated in Germany, from where it was imported to the US.


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Surprisingly, a research conducted by YouGov in 2016 discovered that tracing the tradition back to Germany was highly illogical.

The survey found that only 8 percent of the German nationals knew about the Christmas pickle tradition. More surprisingly, only 2 percent of those surveyed said that they actually practiced the tradition.


The tradition also has two myth associated with its origin, both of which have been popular based on whom you ask.

One of the stories involves an American Civil War fighter, who was born in Bavaria, an area which now belongs in Germany.

The myth states that the fighter was in prison and was starving. So, on the verge of his death, he begged a guard for one last pickle.


The guard obliged and gave him a pickle, which allegedly gave him a renewed mental and physical strength to live many more years.

The second story set around the tradition of glass pickle goes back to St. Nicholas. In the medieval time, two Spanish boys were returning home from their boarding school for the holidays, when they had to stop for a night at an inn.


That night, the evil innkeeper allegedly killed the boys and put them in a pickle barrel. Fortunately, St. Nicholas happened to stop at the same inn, who found the boys in the barrel. The kind saint then miraculously brought the boys back to life.

So there might not be one concrete story behind the origin of the Christmas pickle tradition, but it definitely is a beloved part of Christmas in many American households.

A few days ago in November, the tradition even made it as a part of “Twitter moments,” which says plenty about just how popular the festival is.

There are so many other strange Christmas traditions that have a surprising reason behind their practice. Putting up spider decoration in the Christmas tree is another such tradition, which has a fascinating myth behind its origin.