The Christmas Pickle Tradition

The Christmas Pickle Tradition

When I first heard about the Christmas Pickle Tradition, I was a teenager working in a hardware/gift shop. Yes, you read that right! It was owned by a husband and wife and his side sold tools and her side had gifts. One of my favorite memories is learning about the Old World Christmas ornaments and picking up the delicate, hand-blown glass creations in my hands. I was 17 at the time and it was the first year I started the Christmas Pickle tradition home to my family, and have continued it since!

christmas pickle tradition

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When I picked up my first Christmas pickle ornament, a gherkin really, I fell in love. It’s odd, fun and a really great addition to regular gift-giving. The ornament had a small paper inside with a note. The instructions said to hide the pickle in the tree. On Christmas, everyone searches for the pickle and whoever finds it gets a special present!

How do you decide what present goes with the Pickle?

One year, we bought my Mom a Mother’s ring. Everyone was in on it and pretended to look for the pickle until she found it. She said “Wait, how did you know I’d find the pickle?!” Then, she realized we were all playing along and came up with a really fun way to give her a special present.

The Christmas pickle would be a great way to give a large gift to my kids, like a swing set or a vacation, a surprise from husband to wife or simply something small like a chocolate Santa pop!

In a less exciting and material based present, some award a good year to the person who finds the pickle.

Christmas pickle

(Pinterest image below)

Where did the Christmas Pickle originate?

While some believe that the Christmas Pickle tradition originated in Germany, every source I checked said that this is not true. In fact, the Christmas Pickle is traditionally a North American practice and I imagine was partially sparked by the introduction of the Pickle ornament by Old World Christmas.

While you can get many different styles of pickles ornaments, the most authentic is from Old World Christmas. There are many ornament collectors and the pickle can even be passed from generation to generation, given as a housewarming gift so a new family can start their own tradition, or really fun gift for friends, teachers and family.

Shop Old World Christmas ornaments.

Christmas pickle tradition




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6 Comments on "The Christmas Pickle Tradition"

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This is the first I’ve heard of the Christmas pickle tradition! What a fun game!

It reminds me a little of the baby Jesus who’s hidden in the King Cake at Mardi Gras each year, and one lucky person finds Him in a slice of cake.

Lauryn R

This is such a fun Christmas tradition!! I have never heard of it until now, but it would definitely be so much fun doing this with my kiddos. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!! Now I must find out where to buy one!

Sandra Caballero

I love to get one for my daughter. She love pickles. I know she would love it on our Christmas tree. Plus the story on this blog amazing! I didn’t know! ( happy face )


Oh what a wonderful story. Brings back so many memories. My mother bought us an ornament every year. When I was on my own I had enough to decorate my own tree. She has since passed away and I have so many mixed emotions as I unwrap each ornament every Christmas. I’m so glad though for the stories behind each one.

Linda Manns Linneman

I just learned about this last year. Such a fun idea. Thank you so much for sharing this. God Bless

Amber Ludwig

Super cute idea!! We use it to decide who gets to play “Santa” and who gets to open the first gift!! But, after last year we’ve officially lost our pickle lol.. Ironic huh?!