Few traditions are more peculiar or more endearing than that of the glass Christmas Pickle.

The pickle is said to bring good fortune (or even an extra gift from Father Christmas) for its lucky finder on Christmas morning, and is a tradition now enjoyed in many households across the world.

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The origin of the glass Christmas Pickle ornament is unclear.  In the U.S., it is said to be a custom brought over from Germany. But according to a YouGov.de survey from 2016, only 8% of Germans knew of the pickle story, or Weihnachtsgurke as it is supposedly called, and far fewer practised the tradition.

The current best guess is that the story was created by a marketeer in the late 19th century to help encourage sales of new glass blown vegetable decorations brought across to America from Northern Europe.

The German glass Christmas pickle ornament hanging on a tree with other traditional ornaments

One rather far-fetched story traces the Christmas Pickle back to a fortunate escape in the American Civil War.

A starving captured German-American soldier regained his strength and determination for life after the guard took pity on him on Christmas Eve and gave him a pickle.

In gratitude, he hung a pickle on his Christmas tree the following year.

We’re not sure this story has any genuine origin, but it would make a heck of a Hallmark Christmas movie!

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there was even a pickle festival!

Christmas Pickle Ornaments Around The World

Regardless of how it began, the legend of the Christmas Pickle has now been around for well over 100 years. 

And it is sufficiently well known to have sprouted a host of decorative glass gherkin-shaped ornaments in numerous countries around the world!

Huge Selection of Glass Christmas Pickles on sale in Philadelphia

Indeed pickle-producing town Berrien Springs in Michigan, U.S.A. was once nicknamed the Christmas Pickle Capital of the World by Pickle Packers International (trade group for the pickle industry) and held an annual Christmas Pickle Festival until the early 2000s! 

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Let’s sprinkle Christmas cheer far and wide!

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Pickle Ornament Traditions Today

Nowadays, the pickle is generally hidden on the tree ahead of Christmas Day and the finder on Christmas morning is the first recipient of a gift from under the tree.  

We think that a game of ornament hide-and-seek sounds like the kind of family festive fun that Christmas should inspire regardless of its mysterious origins!

Child Looking for Pickle

 get your own

Buying A Glass Christmas Pickle Ornament

Get your own Christmas pickle ornament and join in the fun.  You can find these gherkin decorations relatively easily around the UK now.

We love this one from Westmon Works which comes complete with box and story as a beautiful heirloom treasure.

Amazon Westmon Works Christmas Pickle Ornament

However there are simpler unwrapped designs available such as these by Sass & Belle.

Why not add them as unusual table favours at a Christmas dinner for your guests to take home for their trees?

Or you could hide a bunch on your own tree ahead of a December children’s party to be found and taken home as an alternative to party bags.

More Like This?

Looking for other Christmas decoration ideas?  Check out our inspiration, trends, finds and tips, ready to help you turn your home into a Winter Wonderland!

last pickling thought

Pickle Fun!

However you decide to enjoy your Christmas pickles this year, we’ll leave you with one final musical thought courtesy of Firehouse Dallas.

Do you have any other unusual ornament traditions in your family?  We’d love to hear about them.  Add a comment below.

MORE LIKE THIS: Christmas Tree | Ornaments | Traditions

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