Hide The Pickle - What's Your Tradition?

Dec 21, 2014
Christmas Pickle with "The Christmas Story" of "Hide The Pickle"

Christmas Pickle with the “Time-honored German Tradition” of “Hide The Pickle”

About 10 years ago, my family received a gift from a friend: a small book and three ornaments. The book described traditions from around the world involving ornaments at Christmas. Our family immediately fell in love with the story of the German families who hide a pickle in their tree and on Christmas morning the one who finds the pickle gets a special surprise from Santa.

What we quickly found out is “finding the pickle” is much more fun than any prize. Before we ever got to Christmas morning, the kids had played hide-and-seek with the pickle multiple times each day. And thus, our new tradition began.

My kids are now 13 and 16 and as we were trimming the tree this year, the talk quickly moved to stories of Christmas-pickles past. We have two main rules – the pickle must be hung in a tree inside the house (let me assure you that you need to make this rule) and, the second rule is mainly for emphasis: the pickle must be on a tree inside the house.

My great-great-grandfather was a violinist in the German emperor’s personal ensemble in the mid-1800’s, so I love connecting to my heritage. Problem is…according to most sources, the German people don’t have the tradition described by the story of “Hide the Pickle.”

The story and the pickle have been part of our tree ever since we received that book, that’s the crazy thing about traditions…once they start, who cares why or how: Just ask Grace and John Blaich about the family’s Good Housekeeping Christmas Tuna Casserole.

The pickle is currently hidden within the branches, the boys are searching…and it feels like Christmas.

  1. Gretchen Collard Wolf-Yahnig

    I grew up in Sainte Genevieve, the pickle ornament tradition is alive and well there.
    My dads family is from S St Louis, I have a pickle ornament that is almost 100 years old, I love this tradition!