Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Christmas Tradition

Today I want to share with you a Christmas Tradition in my family!
My mom's family, Bargar, is from German ancestry
and this fun tradition that I am sharing today goes back to her roots in Germany
It is the Tradition of the German Pickle

Let me give you a little background about it first:

John Lower, a German man, was born in Bavaria in 1842.
He left Germany with his family and emigrated to the United States
While fighting in the American Civil War,
John Lower was captured and sent to a prison in Andersonville, Georgia
He soon fell to poor health given the poor conditions of the prison
Starving, he begged of a guard for just one pickle before resigning to his death
  The guard, taking pity on him, found and gave John Lower a pickle
Lower family lore yields John's testimony that the pickle, by the grace of God,
gave him the mental and physical strength to live on
After being reunited with his family he began the tradition of hiding a pickle on the Christmas tree
  Hence, the first person who found the pickle on Christmas morning would be blessed with a year of good fortune... and a special gift, just as John Lower had experienced!

According to German tradition, 
the pickle brings good luck and was the last ornament placed on the Christmas tree
On Christmas morning the first child to find the pickle was rewarded 
with an extra little gift left by St. Nicholas.
This German tradition encouraged the children to appreciate
all the ornaments on the Christmas tree, 
rather than hurrying to see what St. Nick had left for them

So For Our Family the tradition goes a little like this:
The pickle is placed on the tree just like any other ornament 
on the same day, normally Dec1st, that we decorate the tree
Then on Christmas Eve, after we all went to bed
Mom and Dad hide the pickle ornament deep within the trees branches 

Then on Christmas Morning 
The kids get to try to find the pickle ornament 
in the tree when mom and dad say go
It is like a little hunt and a race to see who finds the pickle first
It is not as easy as it sounds
since the pickle and the tree are both green it actually takes a while
and we get kinda vicious and competitive about it especially when we got older 

The child who finds the Pickle first and gets it out of the tree
wins an extra present and in our family that is a nutcracker
My mom has a whole collection of nut crackers
and each year my mom gets new one 
for the winner who gets to keep it and take it with them in adulthood
The nutcrackers in the picture above are mine
They are the ones I had won and now use as Christmas Decor

Back in the day we used to just use a real dried out pickle to hide
but then we were able to find the glass ornament and have used that ever since
My cute friend Ashley knew about this tradition that we did
and thought it was so funny
anyway when Ty and I got married for our wedding present 
she gave us a pickle ornament of our own 
so that we could continue on the tradition in our own little family
Thank you Ashley It really did mean a lot even though it is kinda funny
We are really excited to start this tradition with our little man

Thank you for letting me share one of my family traditions with you todayI hope you enjoyed it


  1. We do the same thing with the pickle ornament, but instead of getting a special gift, the person who finds it gets to open the first present. I really like the idea of the nutcrackers though; maybe we'll start that next year! Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Thats a very interesting and fun christmas tradition.....thank you for sharing I am going to try that this year!Have a Merry Christmas!

  3. I saw a pickle on my Mom's Christmas tree the other day and I was wondering why the heck it was there! Thanks for clearing that up for me. What a great story and tradition!

  4. My husband's family does the same thing with the pickle! So fun!

  5. love this tradition! thank you for sharing the old story and your own story, that sounds like a lot of fun on christmas morning!

    -rachel w k

  6. Thanks for sharing our tradition. This year we might be using a real pickle again because of the incident last year. Thanks for helping me get votes too.

  7. We hide a pickle too! My kiddo likes to find it early and I have to keep moving it around LOL



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