Thursday, December 4, 2008

Legend of the Pickle

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the tradition of hanging a glass pickle ornament from the Christmas Tree. Apparently, my friend's grandmother had always insisted on the custom. Although the origins of this supposedly German custom remain a bit sketchy, the widely practiced custom is as follows:

In old-world Germany, the last decoration placed on the tree was always a pickle, carefully hidden deep in the boughs. Legend has it that the observant child who found it on Christmas Day was blessed with a year of good fortune and a special gift.

When I explained the custom to my family last year, my mom and grandma just shook their heads and told me they had never heard of such a thing. This seems to only further imply sketchiness since my mom’s side of the family is very German, and there’s a huge contingency of German descendants in the Milwaukee area, which is where my ancestors immigrated. It seems that with all of that German ancestory around, my grandma would have picked up on something.

Sketchy origins aside, I like the idea behind the custom and must say I enjoy admiring a glass pickle hanging from the tree. It may not be an old-world German custom, but it’s mine now.

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