When you think of Christmas ornaments, images of traditional baubles and glittery snowflakes probably come to mind. But have you ever come across a pickle-shaped ornament hanging on a Christmas tree? It may seem odd at first, but pickle ornaments actually hold a special meaning in certain holiday traditions. In this article, we will explore the origins and significance of the pickle Christmas ornament and uncover the fascinating stories behind this quirky tradition.
What Does a Pickle Christmas Ornament Mean?
The tradition of the pickle ornament is believed to have originated in Germany, although many Germans today are unfamiliar with it. According to the story, the first child to find the pickle ornament on the tree is granted an extra present or the privilege of handing out the gifts. It is also said to bring good fortune to the finder for the coming year. While the exact origins of this tradition are uncertain, there are several theories that attempt to explain its beginnings.
The Innkeeper’s Revenge
One popular theory traces the pickle ornament tradition back to a tale involving a villainous innkeeper. The story goes that two young boys sought shelter at the inn during a stormy night. The innkeeper, however, had evil intentions and trapped the boys in a pickle barrel. Miraculously, St. Nicholas happened to be passing by and rescued the boys by tapping the barrel with his staff, causing it to break open and set them free. In gratitude, the boys hung a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree each year to remember their miraculous escape.
A Soldier’s Salvation
Another theory suggests that the pickle ornament tradition originated during the Civil War. It is said that a German soldier, who was being held captive in Georgia, begged for a pickle to sustain him. His captors granted his request, and the pickle ended up saving his life. To commemorate this event, the soldier began the tradition of hanging a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree as a symbol of hope and survival.
A third theory proposes that the pickle ornament tradition was simply a clever marketing strategy. In the 1840s, German glassblowers started producing ornaments shaped like fruits and nuts. It is possible that pickles were among the fruit-shaped ornaments they created. By the 1880s, F. W. Woolworth Company, an American five-and-dime store, began importing these ornaments and pairing them with the story of the pickle tradition. This helped popularize the pickle ornament and turn it into a beloved holiday symbol.
The Popularity of the Pickle Ornament
While the pickle ornament tradition is said to have German origins, it is actually most popular in the Midwest region of the United States. This can be attributed to the large number of German immigrants who settled in the area, bringing their traditions and customs with them. One notable town is Berrien Springs, Michigan, which proudly claims to be the “Christmas Pickle Capital of the World.” The town even hosts an annual Christmas Pickle Festival to celebrate this unique tradition.
Where to Find Pickle Ornaments
If you’re intrigued by the pickle ornament tradition and want to incorporate it into your own holiday celebrations, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of options available. From traditional glass blown pickle ornaments to sparkling versions covered in glitter, the variety of pickle ornaments is endless. Here are a few popular options to consider:
- Glass Blown Pickle Ornament: This classic ornament features a heart detail on the top and is perfect for traditionalists. You can find it on Amazon or Wayfair.
- Sparkling Pickle Ornament: If you want to add some extra sparkle to your tree, this glitter-covered pickle ornament is a great choice. It’s available on Amazon or Wayfair.
- Kurt Adler Old World Pickle Ornament: This vibrant option features a shiny finish and meticulous detailing. It comes beautifully packaged and is currently on sale on Amazon.
- Christmas Pickle with Santa Hat: For an adorable twist on the traditional pickle ornament, consider getting one with a Santa hat. This cute ornament is available on Etsy.
- Set of 4 Ornativity Traditional Pickle Ornament: Why settle for just one pickle ornament when you can have four? This set will light up every area of your tree and is available on Amazon.
- Packaged Christmas Pickle Ornament: If you’re planning to gift a pickle ornament to someone special, this well-packaged option is a great choice. It ships fast from Amazon.
If you research “What does a pickle Christmas ornament mean?”, you will find that it carries within it a rich history and symbolism. Whether you believe in the legends of St. Nicholas, the Civil War soldier, or the marketing magic, the tradition of the pickle ornament adds a touch of whimsy and mystery to holiday celebrations. So, why not embrace this unique tradition and hang a pickle ornament on your Christmas tree this year? It just might bring you a little extra luck and joy throughout the holiday season.