If you’ve ever spotted a pickle ornament hanging from someone’s Christmas tree you probably found it a bit odd, but it’s part of a Christmas tradition that’s actually pretty fun.
Here’s the rub: On Christmas Eve, parents hide the pickle ornament somewhere on the tree. Whichever child spots it first on Christmas morning gets to open the first present. Additionally, whoever finds the ornament will have good luck for a year.
Another version of the tradition says that whoever spots the pickle first gets an extra present. Either way you want to do it though, it sounds like fun!
According to Tampa Bay Magazine, the tradition is said to have started in Germany, but this is unlikely to be true since modern Germans do not practice it. Many glass pickle ornaments are made in Germany, but they are for export, not for the local market.
Instead, it’s likely that the story started as a marketing ploy to sell German glass ornaments to Americans. F.W. Woolworth, the five-and-dime store magnate, began importing the ornaments in 1880. He sold them along with a card that told the story of the tradition.
If that’s the case, it wouldn’t be the first Christmas tradition that started with marketing. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer originated as an advertising campaign by now-defunct department store Montgomery Ward.
As for the Christmas pickle ornament, it’s mainly popular in Midwestern states, but it has been picking up steam all over the country.
If this sounds like a fun tradition to you, you can get one here.