A few years back when my family was living in San Francisco, I encountered this interesting so-called, “German” tradition – The German Christmas Pickle. My Mother, on the hunt for some Christmas Tree Ornaments ended up in bizarre store somewhere in downtown San Francisco and came across the so-called “German Christmas Pickle“. Now I can guarantee you that about 0 Germans know what the hell a Christmas pickle is – and I’m quite sure that not even that many Americans can explain to me what this thing is, where it came from and why you would hang it in a tree.
[irp posts=”15235″ name=”What are those coloured eggs in German supermarkets?”]
Being the curious type, she asked the salesman (who was busy unpacking a box of very gay christmas mermen – they are quite popular(SFW) ) what the deal is with this “Tradition”. So apparently the tradition is as follows: A Parent hides the Christmas Pickle in the Christmas Tree (the pickle, which due to its green color is relatively hard to spot in the tree) and the rest of the family has to find it. Whoever finds it first gets an extra present. Apparently these Christmas pickles are available in 3 different sizes – to make it more difficult to “spot the pickle” when the children get older. The Person who finds the Pickle first is blessed with good luck for the next year and gets an additional present. The tradition reminds me of the French “Galette des Rois”, where a small porcelain figure is baked into a cake. Whoever gets the piece with the porcelain figure in it is “King” for the day.
The short summary is that no one knows where this tradition came from, and that no german has ever heard about it – aside from the ones which were quizzed by Americans about it. *This has changed over the years – it seems like the “Weihnachtsgurke” is picking up in popularity in Germany now as well*.
Either way – the German Christmas Pickle (along with a very tasteful merman) made it back to our house and into our Tree. 10 years have since passed and this very German family still competes every Christmas Eve to spot the German Christmas Pickle. Its even gone so far over the years that everyone has been gifted their own German Christmas Pickel to spread the tradition.
A good 2 years have gone by since I wrote the Original Christmas Pickle Post and it seems like the “Pickle” is finally turning mainstream in Germany! Through a series of events I ended up ordering a Christmas Pickle over Amazon from a Germany Vendor. They claimed to sell the “100% Original” ornament. It even came in a nice jar. So I ordered 4 of them (long story) and waited for them to arrive.
The next day while shopping for other Ornaments in a large shopping center, I happend to stumble across a massive tray of Christmas Pickles. The quality of glass was rather poor – and the questionable “frosting” on the tip made the already phalic gehrkin even more dick-like. Needless to say I didnt buy one. The paper attached did yield another interesting variation of the myth, saying that the custom originated (or at least was extremely popular) in the 1920s. Soon enough there will be Christmas Pickles hanging in every German Christmas Tree!