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Mouse_Maven
12-07-2006, 01:33 PM
I have been looking for orniments and several stores carry green pickle Christmas tree decorations.

Is there something behind this? Does the vinger-soaked veggie represent something? Is there a pickle cult in my area?

Thanks!

E. Thorp
12-07-2006, 01:55 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_pickle

CalMeacham
12-07-2006, 02:40 PM
Tradition has it that, if you hang a real pickle in your tree, the entire room will smell like a pickle. Eerily enough, it seems to be true.







Seriously, I've never heard of this one before. Amazing how these "ancient traditions" spontaneously generate.

FatBaldGuy
12-07-2006, 02:46 PM
From the Wikipedia article linked above:
This tradition is commonly believed by Americans to come from Germany, but this is probably apocryphal. In fact, the tradition is widely unknown in Germany. If you ask me, it's widely unknown in America, too.

Zsofia
12-07-2006, 03:24 PM
I only know about it because this weird catalog of old lady stuff (seriously, murder mysteries, shawls, gurgling pitchers, etc.) comes to my boyfriend's house, and it has Christmas pickles in it.

silenus
12-07-2006, 03:36 PM
We do it. Are you calling us weird?







We are, but just watch it anyway. :D

pulykamell
12-07-2006, 03:44 PM
From the Wikipedia article linked above:
If you ask me, it's widely unknown in America, too.

I used to date an au pair from Germany, and her host family hung a Christmas pickle on the tree in an effort to make her feel more at home. She inquired about the pickle, and her host family was like, "That's a traditional German pickle!" to which she responded in polite, but complete puzzlement. We never figured out whether the pickle is a tradition anywhere in Germany, but it's nice to see that Wikipedia article suggest that it is, in fact, apocryphal. Will have to forward that to her.

Guinastasia
12-07-2006, 03:52 PM
I only know about it because this weird catalog of old lady stuff (seriously, murder mysteries, shawls, gurgling pitchers, etc.) comes to my boyfriend's house, and it has Christmas pickles in it.


Are you talking about the Victorian Trading Company (http://victoriantradingco.com/)? Because I LOVE their catalogs!

Mouse_Maven
12-07-2006, 03:56 PM
If you ask me, it's widely unknown in America, too.


I like the idea of the Cucurbitaceae, a small group of people worshipping acetic acid inflused vegetables. Exiled from their native land of Kimchi after losing a war with the heathen Relish Sect, they move to America. Over the years, they adopt American traditions, but they never forget to put the Pickle of the Ancestors on the Christmas tree.

Hell, it may be true.

susan
12-07-2006, 04:42 PM
Amazing how these "ancient traditions" spontaneously generate.I'm 44 and have seen a (usually glass) pickle on at least one tree every year that I can remember. Every Christian I've ever lived with has hung a pickle on his/her tree. I can count at least 7 states, well-distributed, where I've seen them. I've seen them on two trees this year so far. It mystifies me that others haven't, so I guess that this demonstrates some cohort differences.

Skammer
12-07-2006, 04:58 PM
I'm 44 and have seen a (usually glass) pickle on at least one tree every year that I can remember. Every Christian I've ever lived with has hung a pickle on his/her tree. I can count at least 7 states, well-distributed, where I've seen them. I've seen them on two trees this year so far. It mystifies me that others haven't, so I guess that this demonstrates some cohort differences. That's interesting. In 37 Christmases in five states, I've never heard of this in my life. So clearly it is a well established tradition in some circles, and utterly unknown in others.

Susie Derkins
12-07-2006, 05:19 PM
The German pavilion at Epcot has a store where Christmas trees are up year round, and one of them is covered in pickles. Each pickle has a tag attached, detailing the history of the pickle ornament. Make that a lying tag, detailing the "history" of the pickle ornament.

Aaaand, the word pickle has lost all meaning.

Sal Ammoniac
12-07-2006, 05:19 PM
Perhaps in Germany they hang a pickelhaube (http://www.atlantacutlery.com/webstore/eCat/military_items/other_military/military_reproductions/imperial_german_wwi_era_pickelhaube_helmet.aspx) on the tree.

susan
12-07-2006, 05:20 PM
In this thread, (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=399083) one post in ten this far has mentioned hanging pickled on the tree.

FatBaldGuy
12-07-2006, 05:30 PM
In this thread, (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=399083) one post in ten this far has mentioned hanging pickled on the tree.
That sounds awfully uncomfortable. But I guess if you had to hang on the tree, it would be best to be pickled.

Lamar Mundane
12-07-2006, 05:31 PM
I have one but I don't know where it came from or when. I think it just appeared in the ornament box one year.

Dr. Drake
12-07-2006, 05:36 PM
Just checked four books on Christmas customs and folklore, published between 1888 (the oldest) and 1994 (the newest, but it's a British book). None of them mention Christmas pickles, and I've never heard of it, either. Perhaps the German-origin hypothesis is because people are thinking of the fact that Christmas trees themselves are of German origin? (Rarely found outside of Germany-Austria-Switzerland before 1840; more and more popular since.)

WhyNot
12-07-2006, 05:44 PM
My (German-American) grandparents had a glass pickle in their tree, which was given to them their first Christmas by Grandpa's folks. Everyone I knew growing up (in a German settled area south of Chicago) had a pickle in the tree. It may not be a German tradition, but it does seem to have become a German American tradition.

In fact, just this year I bought our first Christmas pickle. My husband and offspring were very WTF? about the whole thing, and I (erroneously, it seems) told them it was a German thing and they should stop making fun of me before I decided to try another German tradition on them and exterminate the lot of 'em. :D

SnakesCatLady
12-07-2006, 05:49 PM
I've never heard of the pickle thing either, and I've never seen a pickle ornament on a tree.

whole bean
12-07-2006, 05:50 PM
we have one too. the lore being that, "he who finds the pickle, has good luck." kind of a christmas equivalent to finding the baby in your king cake.

redtail23
12-07-2006, 06:05 PM
Never heard of it, don't recall ever seeing one. However, if I did see one previously, I probably wrote it off as "bizarre Xmas ornament" and promptly forgot about it. I mean, the weird things some people put on their trees! ;)

Zsofia
12-07-2006, 06:05 PM
Are you talking about the Victorian Trading Company (http://victoriantradingco.com/)? Because I LOVE their catalogs!
Actually, it's called "Acorn".

xbuckeye
12-07-2006, 06:55 PM
I have one that someone gave me and I was told that it was German and whoever found the pickle first got a special present (freebie, usually). I hadn't heard of it until about 5 years ago, they seem to be multiplying.

I have all kinds of things in my tree because I have been collecting ornaments since I was <1mo old. I mean, how many of you have a Jeff Gordon car being pitted by a crew of 5 elves in full DuPont firesuits? If you do...is it next to a raccoon stealing candy out of a Christmas stocking? I think not!

Yeah, I'm strange.

Rigamarole
12-07-2006, 07:27 PM
Whoa. My parents would do the "find the pickle" thing with us as kids, and I always thought they were just being weird. I'm surprised to hear anyone else does it, much less that some think it's a tradition (even though it's probably not).

Dr. Drake
12-07-2006, 07:41 PM
Whoa. My parents would do the "find the pickle" thing with us as kids, and I always thought they were just being weird. I'm surprised to hear anyone else does it, much less that some think it's a tradition (even though it's probably not).It's definitely a tradition, it's just not a tradition that seems to have been widely remarked in England and the U.S. It may well be a German thing; if anyone knows the words for "Christmas Pickle" in German, I can go look it up in the Handwörterbuch des Deutschen Aberglaubens at the library. (My German is rudimentary, but I can use the index.) I'm not sure how old WhyNot is, but I'm guessing her reference to her grandparents' first Christmas takes it back at least to the 1950s if not earlier.

Guinastasia
12-07-2006, 08:02 PM
Actually, it's called "Acorn".


Okay, that's good, now I don't feel like a little old lady!

jayjay
12-07-2006, 09:16 PM
Okay, that's good, now I don't feel like a little old lady!

Can I note, without offending, that I followed your link to the Victorian catalogs without really noticing who had posted it, then thought while looking at those pages that "I'll bet Guinastasia would love this stuff"?

WhyNot
12-07-2006, 09:26 PM
It's definitely a tradition, it's just not a tradition that seems to have been widely remarked in England and the U.S. It may well be a German thing; if anyone knows the words for "Christmas Pickle" in German, I can go look it up in the Handwörterbuch des Deutschen Aberglaubens at the library. (My German is rudimentary, but I can use the index.) I'm not sure how old WhyNot is, but I'm guessing her reference to her grandparents' first Christmas takes it back at least to the 1950s if not earlier.
I'm 32, and my grandmother just turned 80.

This site (http://www.sabineworld.com/12062002.html) by some chick named Sabine who lived in Germany (she has family there, but it's not clear if she herself is German or not), thinks it's an American tradition dating from the post-Civil War era. She agrees it's not German in origin:

I dug and dug and while there are a zillion stories out there it seems that the
one I'm about to share with you is the most likely the real thing.
It seems that the tradition is an American one, though of German descent. A
man who was born in Bavaria in 1842 came with his family to the United
States.

Here he fought in the American Civil War (1861-1865). He was captured and
sent to prison in Andersonville, Georgia. The name I got for this unfortunate
soul is Johannes Lower. In poor health and starving, he begged a guard for a
pickle he had. The guard took pity on him and gave him the pickle.
According to lore, the pickle -- by the grace of God -- gave Johannes the
mental and physical strength to live on. Once he was reunited with his family
he began a tradition of hiding a pickle on the Christmas tree. The first person
who found the pickle on Christmas morning would be blessed with a year of
good fortune.

I can't corroborate her story, but it's as likely as any.

(I'd say it's "possibly apocryphal", but that makes some Dopers mad, apparently. ;))

ElvisL1ves
12-07-2006, 10:48 PM
And now you know ... the rest of the story. Paul Harvey ... good day!

AskNott
12-08-2006, 12:55 AM
I've heard of a "hide the pickle" game, but it wasn't seasonal, and it had nothing to do with Christmas trees. It's a delightful lust-based game.

Guinastasia
12-08-2006, 01:06 AM
Can I note, without offending, that I followed your link to the Victorian catalogs without really noticing who had posted it, then thought while looking at those pages that "I'll bet Guinastasia would love this stuff"?


Offend me? I'm actually quite flattered!

:D

Surok
12-08-2006, 02:07 AM
It may well be a German thing; if anyone knows the words for "Christmas Pickle" in German, I can go look it up in the Handwörterbuch des Deutschen Aberglaubens at the library. (My German is rudimentary, but I can use the index.)

wikipedia.de calls it Weihnachtsgurke (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weihnachtsgurke).

Hippy Hollow
12-08-2006, 02:42 AM
34 Christmases, in the US and the UK, visiting many people of many faiths... never heard of this before.

The only decoration of note that comes to mind is hanging a star or angel on top of the tree.

Having lived in Central Texas, where a whole bunch of folks of German descent live, I think I would have heard this one before. Who knew?

gigi
12-08-2006, 11:17 AM
My family is of German descent, mostly living in eastern Penna. The rest of the family is German Reformed/United Church of Christ and my parents were converted to Catholicism.

Never has a pickle made an appearance on the Christmas tree.

Swallowed My Cellphone
12-08-2006, 11:28 AM
My family is German American. I have never heard of such a thing until this thread. I still have all the antique ornaments from Germany. I'm quite sure I would remember a pickle in the box if we had one.

HeyHomie
12-08-2006, 12:02 PM
*sings*
Mister Briney, the Christmas Pickle....
*done singing*

Gorgonzola
12-08-2006, 12:03 PM
Both sides of my family are quite proudly Bavarian, and while Bavarian Christmas ornaments are somewhat distinctive in my memory (my mother had a set like this (http://www.christmas-decorations-gifts-store.com/store/PPF/parameters/846_197/more_info.asp)), I recall no pickle. No pickle stories, either. We once received a set of candles for the tree from one of the Munich relatives and put them on the tree for a couple of years, but never did light them. No pickles!

Guy Incognito
12-08-2006, 05:04 PM
"Hanging a pickle in your Christmas tree". Sounds like a "B" side on an old blues record.

GingerOfTheNorth
12-08-2006, 08:16 PM
Canadian, living in Maryland, have lived in Alberta, NWT, and Ontario in Canada; I have never heard of the Christmas pickle other than on the SDMB. Og bless us, every one.

susan
12-09-2006, 12:19 AM
Here's what that German Wikipedia page says, courtesy of Babel Fish. Enjoy!

A Weihnachtsgurke is a Christmas tree decoration blown from glass in form of a cucumber. Before giving the cucumber in the Christmas tree is hidden. Parents let then the children - of some distance - afterwards search and the child, who discovers the cucumber, may as the first its gifts open. With more than two children in the family according to more cucumbers in the tree are hidden and the gifts in the order of finding are opened. Weihnachtsgurken enjoy particularly in the USA of large popularity. There is spread, it concerns an old German Weihnachtstradition. In Germany however the custom is almost unknown

LSLGuy
12-09-2006, 10:51 AM
In 40+ years all around the US, prior to today I've never heard of a Xmas pickles.

I did, however, see a South Park Mr. Hanky ornament in some store last week. Western Civilzation is not Doomed; it's already Dead.

Emily Litella
12-09-2006, 11:42 AM
I'm of German descent and never heard of hanging a pickle on the tree before. After looking on eBay and following links I found this (http://www.x-masworld.com/tradition.html). It says the german glass workers were too poor to buy apples and nuts to hang on their trees so they made their own out of glass. Then like so many other ideas whose time has come they took that idea and ran with it....

jayjay
12-09-2006, 11:48 AM
It says the german glass workers were too poor to buy apples and nuts to hang on their trees

It's better than buying nuts to hang on your truck, I suppose.

capybara
12-09-2006, 12:49 PM
To unbabelfishify the Google.de above slightly, "There it is spread as an old German Christmas tradition. In Germany, in contrast, the practice is nearly unknown."

BMalion
12-09-2006, 01:23 PM
I'm 45 years old, about 10 years ago I recieved one of those pickle ornaments with the chock-full-o-lies cards contained within the box. This was in Burbank, California. I was young and foolish in those days and accepted all information containing bits of cardboard that accompanied glass ornaments with a simple child-like trust.

Having a German-American grandmother and yet never hearing of this glass-vlasic custom did not ring any alarm bells at all. Most likely this was before my skeptical attitude was honed to a Van Brundvandian 5-bladed razor's edge with Cecil's advent into my life.

I even bought and gave other glass pickles to my friends, for this I apologize. It will not happen again. In fact, I'm planning to visit all of these friends and shatter those pickles in order to show my protest towards fake antique traditions. I will grind the glass under my heal into their carpets with an apologetic yet haughty sneer. They will then ask me to leave.

Except mine, my nieces and nephews have gotten used to tearing my home apart looking for the glass pickle. The winner gets one silver dollar for every year old they are. Usually the older ones let the youngest find it because I give them all lots of silver dollars before the holidays are over anyway.

I am a complicated man.

WhyNot
12-09-2006, 03:47 PM
In fact, I'm planning to visit all of these friends and shatter those pickles in order to show my protest towards fake antique traditions.
Shee-it, I'm a neopagan. We make up six fake antique traditions before breakfast!

I'm working on one involving a goat and some giant squid, but I hear they've been doing it somewhere for like 6000 years now.

:D

DesertDog
12-10-2006, 12:40 AM
Both sides of my family are quite proudly Bavarian, and while Bavarian Christmas ornaments are somewhat distinctive in my memory (my mother had a set like this (http://www.christmas-decorations-gifts-store.com/store/PPF/parameters/846_197/more_info.asp)), I recall no pickle. No pickle stories, either. We once received a set of candles for the tree from one of the Munich relatives and put them on the tree for a couple of years, but never did light them. No pickles!My God. One of the 'family' ornaments we had when I was a kid was the bird ornament in this set, complete with a spun glass tail. It was one of my favorites because it was so unusual. My mother's family was of German heritage so that makes sense. None of the other ones, though. Perhaps the bird was available separately, or the others were broken, or they were from her mother and the sisters got the rest.

No pickle at our house either, but I've seen them on other folks' trees.

Lissa
12-10-2006, 02:03 AM
Are you talking about the Victorian Trading Company (http://victoriantradingco.com/)? Because I LOVE their catalogs!

Oooh! Thanks for the link. I sent in a catalog request.

tomndebb
12-10-2006, 03:02 AM
I'm 56 and my Dad's side of the family is all German and this is the first I've heard of a pickle ornament. We actually have a couple of antique ornaments in the shapes of a beet and a parsnip, but those came from the Irish side of the Family and were probably just odd shaped American ornaments. We also have most of the ornaments in the link provided by Gorgonzola, but I'm pretty sure they were purchased in American stores with no particular ethnic association. (They may have come from the shops in Frankenmuth, MI, but I would not even bet on that.)

Zabali_Clawbane
12-10-2006, 03:42 AM
I could see German American Victorians starting this tradition. It would probably have been the Victorians that began the tradition, since they were big on traditions, and glommed onto things as such. Whether or not it was a tradition when they glommed onto it, it was afterwards. I wonder if there was a particular German glass ornament company that made a pickle as a part of their ornament set around that time? (Maybe the pickle symbolized a house with plenty of food to make it through the winter? They'd had a plentyful harvest, and could preserve enough food to feast in the middle of winter.) Perhaps it was similar to the Bride's tree ornament set (http://www.catholicsupply.com/christmas/glassornwed1.html), but with more/different ornaments? This (http://www.christmasespast.com/inge.html) site lends a bit of credence to the "tradition". I'd like to start a tradition myself, of having a Christmas Spider ornament (http://www.christmasespast.com/spider.html). I love the modernized version of the story I read as a child.

Zabali_Clawbane
12-10-2006, 04:09 AM
I noticed something at the Christmases past site, so did a search for the actual site to confirm or disprove my observation. Inge glas is a German company (http://www.inge-glas.com/history/history.php), and they make a pickle ornament set (http://www.inge-glas.com/productLine/displayItem.php?item=1-332-06) and sell it, in 3 varying sizes just as the Christmases past site alludes to. Hmmm, maybe it's an obscure tradition after all?

WhyNot
12-10-2006, 11:03 AM
I'd like to start a tradition myself, of having a Christmas Spider ornament (http://www.christmasespast.com/spider.html). I love the modernized version of the story I read as a child.
Ok, I know I was joking a few posts ago, but seriously? Do it! New traditions are sometimes even more meaningful than old - it's great to hear my son talk about the bows on the Christmas tree and how we've "always" had them and they're his favorite of the ornaments. Truth? I had a dumpster salvaged tree and $5 to buy ornaments the first year I lived on my own with him in our own apartment, and I went to the dollar store and bought a couple of boxes of gold balls and two sheets of simple bow knots on wire twisties to use as ornaments. It got me the most coverage for the least money. And they're his favorite holiday "tradition". He cried actual tears when I tried to set up the tree one year without the cheap, slightly tattered, decade old dollar store bows. The first Christmas he's on his own, I'm getting him twistie bows from the dollar store for his tree, and when he has kids, he'll tell them the tradition of bows on the tree from back when he was a kid. To me, they're a symbol of how with creativity and perseverance, I gave my kid a beautiful Christmas while times were tight. To him, they're warm fuzzies from his childhood.

Buy up half a dozen spider ornaments, write out the story on a notecard, and give them to your friends and family! We can come back to the Dope and see if our grandkids are asking each other where the Christmas Spider tradition really came from!

asterion
12-10-2006, 11:28 AM
*sings*
Mister Briney, the Christmas Pickle....
*done singing*Sometimes he's kosher, sometimes he's gherkin, he can be dill or garlic-dill, but if you use brine on Christmas Eve he might come to your town.

Heck, in this part of the country, you often find either lights or ornaments in the shape of chile.

Tripler
12-10-2006, 12:09 PM
When I was a kid, my family hung smoked sausages from our tree. It was great! Most kids had that little advent calendar for the month of December (usually stocked with a crappy little chocolate)--I had a fresh kilebasa every day.

Fond memories of the household, indeed.

Tripler
For stocking stuffers, I got fresh horseradish and pickled string beans. Mmm hmm!

susan
12-10-2006, 02:18 PM
I am a complicated man.And you talk pretty, too. "Glass vlasic" is a lovely phrase.

I used to live with a guy who would hang his Swarthmore diploma on the tree, because it was the most expensive ornament ever.

Mouse_Maven
12-10-2006, 06:39 PM
Shee-it, I'm a neopagan. We make up six fake antique traditions before breakfast!

I'm working on one involving a goat and some giant squid, but I hear they've been doing it somewhere for like 6000 years now.

:D

I'm neopagan as well! :cool:

Let me know how the goat/giant squid tradition goes. Right now, I'm trying to develope an "Extra-Virgin Sacrifice" using olive oil and computer sciences/engineering major.

Sleel
12-10-2006, 09:38 PM
I'd never heard of it before I saw Bad Santa (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0307987/) and I thought it was just some bizarre "tradition" made up by that slow-thinking kid. Now you guys are telling me it wasn't just a joke made up for a movie? Man, people are weirder than I thought.

kaylasdad99
12-11-2006, 01:18 PM
I got suspicious about the ubiquity of pickles, and had to look this (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_195.html) up.

Seriously, I wonder if old Henry J is behind this.

BMalion
12-11-2006, 01:23 PM
I've heard of a "hide the pickle" game, but it wasn't seasonal, and it had nothing to do with Christmas trees. It's a delightful lust-based game.

My friend Mr. Rococo and I were just playing a friendly game of "spin the picle"...

Shirley Ujest
12-11-2006, 07:37 PM
Zee Inlaws are from Germany and they were the ones that introduced Zee German Pickle to me. oooh, that could be taken so many different ways.


I'm not sure if they did the pickle thing in germany or my SIL grasped onto Zee Deutsche Gurke Tale with both hands and ran with it.

But there has always been a pickle on their tree.


I think it's kinda stupid. This coming from a woman who hangs those stupid collector spoons from around the world on the christmas tree every year. Cause they look more stupid hanging on the wall in a stupid special spoon hanger thingie and I don't collect them anymore, but I ain't throwing them out.


And I like Acorn. never ordered anything from it.

So there.

I got nothing.

Siam Sam
12-11-2006, 10:40 PM
Christmas pickle??? I think someone is jerkin' your gherkin.

Shirley Ujest
12-12-2006, 08:41 AM
This thread is a Vlassic already!

RedWood
12-12-2006, 11:17 AM
my Italian grandmother had a pickle, and so do I. :cool:

She would buy an eclair or a cream puff from the fancy bakery, and whichever of us found the pickle got the pastry all to ourselves... though I would share it; my sister loves sweet things, I can take or leave them.

Mouse_Maven
12-12-2006, 01:33 PM
I'm pickled tink by all your answers!

Thank you Dopers :D

Sunspace
12-12-2006, 03:48 PM
Shee-it, I'm a neopagan. We make up six fake antique traditions before breakfast!

I'm working on one involving a goat and some giant squid, but I hear they've been doing it somewhere for like 6000 years now.It just seems like 6000 years, if you are in the "hot seat".

(Another neopagan here... :) )

I have never heard of putting a pickle on the Tree as well. I would have thought it was something from The Onion. But then my family were all of English descent (grandparents came over in the 1920s).

Velma
12-12-2006, 04:17 PM
My family is Dutch as are many in this area, and lots of people here have a Christmas pickle. We didn't do it growing up but I hear about it mostly from other Dutch families, and I knew the tradition was for the children to look for it Christmas morning and get a special extra gift. Maybe it isn't German but Dutch in origin?

kmoravec
12-12-2006, 05:56 PM
Since it is near Christmas, I searched "Christmas Pickle Capital of the World"

http://www.angelfire.com/home/sallinger/holidayhouse/christpickle.htm

This one actually gives a city name Laschau, Germany where it came from. But I could not find Laschau, Germany. There is a Laschau, Austria.

It is interesting, but I am not convinced of anything yet.

capybara
12-12-2006, 07:57 PM
Ok, if you do a web search on Weihnachtsgürke and happen to read German you will find, in addition to credulous English language pages and appendages of the Inge Glas company, who seem to be profiteering from this nonsense, you get many pages in German by Germans expressing slight confusion and amusement about this "old German tradition" that the Americans have.
For example,
"Christmas pickle and what's the trend-- tips from Lauscha. . . The Christmas tree ornament in the form of a Christmas pickle comes straight from there. What? You aren't familiar with the old German Tradition? Above all in the USA it has many fans. The kid that finds the pickle gets gifts first. The pickles finds a keen market above all in America!" http://www.mdr.de/kultur/kulturkalender/1107033.html

A more complete analysis here, in German and English:
http://bilingualblahblah.blogspot.com/2005/12/das-mysterium-der-weihnachtsgurkethe.html
Among other bits, "But the biggest problem with the German pickle (saure Gurke, Weihnachtsgurke) tradition is that no one in Germany seems to have ever heard of it. Over the years this question has repeatedly come up on the AATG (German Teachers) forum. Teachers of German in the U.S. and in Europe have never been able to find a native German who has even heard of the pickle legend, much less carried out this Christmas custom. It may have been some German-American invention by someone who wanted to sell more glass ornaments for Christmas. Or could the Weihnachtsgurke be an obscure regional custom that few people are aware of?"

It seems to be as much as a German tradition as the Xmas Kiwi or Pomegranate-- or whatever fruit-shaped-ornaments Inge Glas happens to make. There are Xmas cucumbers made in Germany, but the German market for them is incidental, and they mostly get shipped to the states. You will note that the Inge-Glas is in English. . .

Anaamika
12-12-2006, 09:45 PM
Ok, I know I was joking a few posts ago, but seriously? Do it! New traditions are sometimes even more meaningful than old - it's great to hear my son talk about the bows on the Christmas tree and how we've "always" had them and they're his favorite of the ornaments. Truth? I had a dumpster salvaged tree and $5 to buy ornaments the first year I lived on my own with him in our own apartment, and I went to the dollar store and bought a couple of boxes of gold balls and two sheets of simple bow knots on wire twisties to use as ornaments. It got me the most coverage for the least money. And they're his favorite holiday "tradition". He cried actual tears when I tried to set up the tree one year without the cheap, slightly tattered, decade old dollar store bows. The first Christmas he's on his own, I'm getting him twistie bows from the dollar store for his tree, and when he has kids, he'll tell them the tradition of bows on the tree from back when he was a kid. To me, they're a symbol of how with creativity and perseverance, I gave my kid a beautiful Christmas while times were tight. To him, they're warm fuzzies from his childhood.

Buy up half a dozen spider ornaments, write out the story on a notecard, and give them to your friends and family! We can come back to the Dope and see if our grandkids are asking each other where the Christmas Spider tradition really came from!


That is a really sweet story. *sniffle*

Mama Zappa
12-14-2006, 03:17 PM
I'd never heard of this "tradition" until about 10 years ago, when someone contributed one to one of those "round robin" office gift exchanges (not sure what they're called.... you get a random wrapped gift, and can either keep it, or steal an already-unwrapped gift from someone who was ahead of you....).

Interestingly, last Christmastime we were in Arizona. At the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, we purchased a "Christmas Chili" ornament with an identical backstory (except for the reference to Germany. This would seem to indicate the whole thing is made up :)

susan
12-24-2006, 01:02 PM
Here is a Sunday comic strip (http://www.comics.com/wash/pickles/html/email_comic.html) expounding upon this fine and/or made-up tradition.

My pickle is posted here. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/79839173@N00/331197943/)

Rilchiam
12-24-2006, 09:00 PM
Perhaps in Germany they hang a pickelhaube (http://www.atlantacutlery.com/webstore/eCat/military_items/other_military/military_reproductions/imperial_german_wwi_era_pickelhaube_helmet.aspx) on the tree.

Burgermeister Meisterburger!

We have a pickle on our tree. I didn't get it because of any tradition; I got it because I love pickles! (Sorry, muffin.)

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