It’s not German, and it’s not even a real pickle, but we’re adopting the German pickle Christmas tree decoration regardless.
Apparently, there’s an old German tradition that plays out when families decorate their Christmas tree. Once all the ornaments are up and the kids are in bed – the parents hang the last ornament – a pickle shaped bauble – somewhere deep in the tree’s foliage. The next day, the first child to find the pickle gets an extra gift and good luck throughout the year.
When I first heard about this I thought ‘great – another tradition to add to the massively long list’. But I considered it because the kids love this kind of thing. However – it turns out to be a big fat pickle shaped lie!
An American myth
I asked a couple of German friends and none of them had heard of it. After rumaging around on the internet I discovered that it’s a myth that started in the U.S. in the 1950s.
The pickle tree decorations were sold in stores such as Woolworths and in the box was a note explaining this old German tradition. Now, years later, some American’s think the German’s started it. Over here in Germany, no one’s ever heard of it.
You can however buy pickle tree ornaments at most Weihnachstmarkt – so you can propogate the myth shamelessesly.