snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Urban Legends » History » A Christmas Pickle

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: A Christmas Pickle
Chipper McGee
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 500 posted      Profile for Chipper McGee     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
So I like to buy a new ornament or two each year, and this year I bought a Christmas Pickle ornament because my son loves "Larry the Cucumber" from Veggie Tales and figured he'd get a kick out of a it. (He does.) I first remember seeing pickles in stores about 3 years ago. (Maybe I missed something before that time.) I remember seeing some little legend with it about an old German tradition of hiding the pickle on tree and young children waking up to be the first one to find the pickle for good luck. I remember at the time thinking the story sounded a bit dodgy, because I grew up in community heavily populated with German families. They love and hang on to all of their German traditions, and I never had heard of Christmas pickle. Despite that I went ahead and bought one this year just to hear my two year old yell out "Larry boy! Coo-umber!" When I bought the pickle this year I couldn't find the little "history" of the pickle along with it. So I got online to see what I could find. Turns out the "history" of the Christmas pickle appears to be mostly or entirely bunk.

If you know more about this subject feel free to elaborate.

I was surprised not to find this subject written up as an article on snopes. I think it might make an interesting addition for the rest of us suckers decorating our trees with PICKLES.

(Oh well, a pickle is green, and it IS still worth it to hear my boy say "Coo-umber!")

Chipper "What's the dill?" McGee

Posts: 12 | From: Houston, Texas | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Don Enrico
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


Icon 05 posted      Profile for Don Enrico   E-mail Don Enrico   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
This (German) newsitem by the well known "tagesschau" (from 2004) claims that hiding a pickle on the Christmas tree is indeed an old German tradition - but the correpondend learned about that in the US, and nobody in the news-team knew about that tradition before. Neither did I.

Another (German) web page from the trditional glass-making region speculates, that the supposed German tradition may have been invented by Germans in the US. And a site dedicated to Christmas tree ornaments calls "finding the pickle" an "allegedly traditional Christmas game".

So, in the end, I can't give you any German cites for this "German" tradition.

Don "Coo-umber!" Enrico

--------------------
My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. - Pooh Bear

Posts: 2209 | From: Hamburg, Germany | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Methos
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Methos     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My older sister spent several years in germany and brought the pickle tradition home with her. Never had heard it before until we were on vacation one year and she went nuts because she had found a pickle ornament. According to her it is an old tradition but is still popular around some communities in germany.

--------------------
I may be crazy but that doesn't mean I'm wrong...

Posts: 53 | From: indianapolis, IN | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Kathy B     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Is this your source for "the pickle is a myth?" German Myth 11
The German Christmas Pickle


--------------------
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

Posts: 4255 | From: Sacramento, CA | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
MaxKaladin
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for MaxKaladin   E-mail MaxKaladin   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I grew up in a small town that was heavily German and I never heard of this tradition. Perhaps it's specific to a very small area of Germany or something.
Posts: 716 | From: San Antonio, TX | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Horse Chestnut
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Horse Chestnut     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Don't you all know that the "Christmas pickle" was actually an ancient Visigoth phallic symbol?

Well, no. Not really. But it sounds good!

Posts: 1651 | From: Columbus, Ohio | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Starla     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My husband's maternal grandparents have hidden a Christmas pickle in their tree since Mr S was a kid. Mr S and his brother would search the tree on Christmas morning and whoever found the pickle got money. I had never heard of the tradition before I met Mr S. Imagine my surprise when, during my first Christmas with his family, Grandpa asked me if I'd like to play "hide the pickle!"

--------------------
This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
MyBandwagon

Posts: 3254 | From: small town Texas | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Astra
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 87 posted      Profile for Astra     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I was wondering what was up with the glass ornament pickles at Target. It seemed like an odd thing to make an ornament from, especially since there weren't any other similarly-themed decorations to go with it.

--------------------
This has been yet another... USELESS POST.

Posts: 6105 | From: Mississippi | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Wicked Tinkerbell
Hock Harold Angel's Bling


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Wicked Tinkerbell   E-mail Wicked Tinkerbell   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Starla:
My husband's maternal grandparents have hidden a Christmas pickle in their tree since Mr S was a kid. Mr S and his brother would search the tree on Christmas morning and whoever found the pickle got money. I had never heard of the tradition before I met Mr S. Imagine my surprise when, during my first Christmas with his family, Grandpa asked me if I'd like to play "hide the pickle!"

Thanks for the laugh! [lol]

--------------------
"I'm not Irish, I'm Celtic. The difference? Celts cut off your head and put it on their door lintel." --Aimee Evilpixie
"People are bastard-covered bastards with bastard filling."--Scrubs

Posts: 269 | From: Oregon | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Grand Illusion
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Grand Illusion   Author's Homepage   E-mail Grand Illusion   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'll have to say that the rumor is true.

My mother-in-law was born and raised in Berlin, and her family was from Berlin and Tilsit. She was born in the 1930s and she says she clearly recalls searching for a hidden pickle every Christmas, and that her grandmother, aunts and uncles said that it had been a tradition in their family when they were kids, too, which would have been in the late 1800's.

The traidtion in her family is that whichever child finds the pickle first gets a special little treat, like an extra piece of candy. We continue to practice that tradition.

--------------------
There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.

"Are you pondering what I'm pondering?" - The Brain

Posts: 587 | From: Colorado | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Sara at home   E-mail Sara at home   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
If it is a tradition, t's one that didn't make it to this country with the PA Dutch (who are German). Despite the fact that many of us can trace our families back over 200 years in this county, no one I know ever heard of the tradition until the pickle ornaments started showing up in stores which would have been within the past 15 years or so.

--------------------
Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

Posts: 8317 | From: Reading, PA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Joostik
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Joostik   Author's Homepage   E-mail Joostik   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Grand Illusion:
I'll have to say that the rumor is true.

My mother-in-law was born and raised in Berlin, and her family was from Berlin and Tilsit.

From Tilsit?

Maybe, just maybe it was a local East Prussian tradition unknown elsewhere in Germany?

Posts: 794 | From: Utrecht, Utrecht | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Pondicherry Pi
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Pondicherry Pi   Author's Homepage   E-mail Pondicherry Pi   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Starla:
Imagine my surprise when, during my first Christmas with his family, Grandpa asked me if I'd like to play "hide the pickle!"

YOMANK!

--------------------
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

What the NFBSK is Glurge? Or, a link to Snopes Lingo

Posts: 218 | From: Nashville, TN | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Cervus   E-mail Cervus   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm another person who grew up with German heritage and traditions, but I never heard of this until a few years ago.

Personally, I associate it with Arlo Guthrie. "Alice's Restaurant" is played every Thanksgiving, so I thought the Christmas Pickle might have something to do with motor-sikkels.

--------------------
"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

Posts: 8254 | From: Florida | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Lainie   E-mail Lainie   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
Personally, I associate it with Arlo Guthrie. "Alice's Restaurant" is played every Thanksgiving, so I thought the Christmas Pickle might have something to do with motor-sikkels.

[lol]

--------------------
How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

Posts: 8322 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Grand Illusion
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Grand Illusion   Author's Homepage   E-mail Grand Illusion   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Joostik:
quote:
Originally posted by Grand Illusion:
I'll have to say that the rumor is true.

My mother-in-law was born and raised in Berlin, and her family was from Berlin and Tilsit.

From Tilsit?

Maybe, just maybe it was a local East Prussian tradition unknown elsewhere in Germany?

Yes, that Tilsit. However, she actually grew up in Berlin, and she remembers that many of her neighbors there also practiced the tradition. I can't help but think that it's probably a regional custom, but I don't know from what region...perhaps Berlin itself, or certain neighborhoods within it. Her family is ethnically German, not Prussian or Polish.

--------------------
There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.

"Are you pondering what I'm pondering?" - The Brain

Posts: 587 | From: Colorado | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
mrs.hi-c clown fishies
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for mrs.hi-c clown fishies     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My cousin has had the pickle in her tree for about 10 years. The "winner" got an extra gift--usually a lotto ticket.

[lol] cervus!

--------------------
This song has no title...just words and a tune.

Instant Hi-C--Just add water...

Posts: 1620 | From: Michigan | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
laura 2
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for laura 2   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I live in Milwaukee, and a lot of folks this way have pickle ornaments on their trees. We don't personally do the whole hide-the-pickle tradition, but we do hang one on the tree anyway.

--------------------
My Belly Dance Business - Galatea Middle Eastern Dance - www.galateadancer.com

Q: What's the difference between an onion and a mizmar?
A: No one cries when they cut up a mizmar.

Posts: 786 | From: Milwaukee, WI | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Sara at home   E-mail Sara at home   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by laura 2:
I live in Milwaukee, and a lot of folks this way have pickle ornaments on their trees. We don't personally do the whole hide-the-pickle tradition, but we do hang one on the tree anyway.

The pickles ornaments sold big here, too, but before the ornaments showed up, no one ever heard of the tradition. Did anyone you know hear of it before the ornaments went on sale? Did anyone ever hide a real pickle?

--------------------
Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

Posts: 8317 | From: Reading, PA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bramble Silvertree
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Bramble Silvertree   E-mail Bramble Silvertree   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Starla:
My husband's maternal grandparents have hidden a Christmas pickle in their tree since Mr S was a kid. Mr S and his brother would search the tree on Christmas morning and whoever found the pickle got money. I had never heard of the tradition before I met Mr S. Imagine my surprise when, during my first Christmas with his family, Grandpa asked me if I'd like to play "hide the pickle!"

yomank and a cup of tomato soup!

Went with mom to her friend's christmas party one year, and had to run to the bathroom when they announced "Time to play hide the pickle! Who's in this year?"

--------------------
"Tout le monde est fou, sauf vous et moi."

Posts: 47 | From: California | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
laura 2
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for laura 2   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sara Claus at home:
The pickles ornaments sold big here, too, but before the ornaments showed up, no one ever heard of the tradition. Did anyone you know hear of it before the ornaments went on sale? Did anyone ever hide a real pickle?

We only moved here in 1999 - before that we lived in upstate NY. But many neighbors and friends have reported that they have had pickles in their trees since they were kids.

--------------------
My Belly Dance Business - Galatea Middle Eastern Dance - www.galateadancer.com

Q: What's the difference between an onion and a mizmar?
A: No one cries when they cut up a mizmar.

Posts: 786 | From: Milwaukee, WI | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Sara at home   E-mail Sara at home   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by laura 2:
We only moved here in 1999 - before that we lived in upstate NY. But many neighbors and friends have reported that they have had pickles in their trees since they were kids.

Any chance it was the Schoharie area?

--------------------
Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

Posts: 8317 | From: Reading, PA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
laura 2
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for laura 2   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sara Claus at home:
quote:
Originally posted by laura 2:
We only moved here in 1999 - before that we lived in upstate NY. But many neighbors and friends have reported that they have had pickles in their trees since they were kids.

Any chance it was the Schoharie area?
We lived quite a ways from there, in Rochester. Buy I grw up in Glens Falls - not far from there at all.

--------------------
My Belly Dance Business - Galatea Middle Eastern Dance - www.galateadancer.com

Q: What's the difference between an onion and a mizmar?
A: No one cries when they cut up a mizmar.

Posts: 786 | From: Milwaukee, WI | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2