The Christmas Pickle – Xmas Traditions

The Origins of the Christmas Pickle

Americans are all familiar with the Christmas Tree and Christmas Wreath… but have you ever heard of a Christmas Pickle? This a tradition that is thought to have begun in Germany (such as the tree and wreath are), where it is referred to as the Weihnachtsgurke.

However, this theory has been debunked and the true origins of the Christmas Pickle remain a mystery.

In 2016, Germans were surveyed about the Christmas Pickle tradition and 90 percent of them had never heard of it.

Furthermore, of those families that were aware, only about 6% take part in the custom.

There are several stories about where the idea actually came from (ranging from war stories to marketing gimmicks), but despite it all, the Christmas Pickle is now thought to simply be an American novelty created somewhere around the late 19th century. 

Perhaps the connection to Germany refers back to the glass industry that was booming at that time.

The German town of Lauscha, which is now the state of Thuringia, began producing glass Christmas ornaments in the 1840’s, and some of these were in the shape of edibles such as fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Nowadays, pickle ornaments are still found to be manufactured there.

It is possible that the exportation of these ornaments, along with the desire to resell them in America, could be the real “dill” behind this tradition. 

The Christmas Pickle Tradition

Now that the back story has been covered, we can move forward to learning about how this tradition works.

RECOMMENDED  The History and Facts of Christmas Cards - Xmas Traditions

The idea is that the Christmas Pickle, which is really a pickle-shaped glass ornament, is tucked away deep somewhere deep in the Christmas tree by parents while the children are away.

On Christmas Eve (or sometimes Christmas morning, depending on the family), the children take some time to hunt for it.

When it is found, that particular child is to receive an extra token or gift from Santa.

Another hole in the theory of this being a German tradition is the fact that Germany’s St. Nick arrives on December 6th, not the 24th or 25th.

The Significance of Christmas Pickle

Sometimes, adults join the fun of finding the pickle. It is not entirely uncommon for the pickle to be re-hidden, or in some cases may compete with the children together if they were not the ones to help hide it.

If an adult finds the pickle, he or she is said to receive good fortune in the upcoming year.

Learn More With the Help of Video

Main Points About Christmas Pickle

  1. The Christmas Pickle is a Christmas decoration in the shape of a pickle that is hidden on a Christmas tree.
  2. It is a very old tradition that believes that whoever finds the pickle receives a reward (maybe an extra present from Santa Claus) and he is also rewarded with good fortune for the coming year.
  3. Some people believe it was an old German tradition, however, it is known to be practiced by Americans.
  4. Some people have tied the story of the Christmas pickle to Saint Nicholas.
  5. It was said that brought back to life some two Spanish boys who were killed by an evil innkeeper and put in a pickle barrel.
RECOMMENDED  Complete Traditional History of Christmas Pudding - Xmas Traditions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Christmas Pickle


The Christmas pickle is an ornament that some Americans use at Christmas, and no-one really knows why it exists.

Glass ornaments were imported from Germany in the 1880’s, and some seem to have been in the shape of fruit and vegetables.

Probably one of them was shaped as a pickle. In some families, there’s now a tradition that when hung in the Christmas tree, the first person to find it gets a present.

Word Cloud for Christmas Pickle

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas Pickle. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.