Origins of the Christmas Pickle

by Reilly Flora

What is the Christmas Pickle?

The tradition of the Christmas Pickle is a strange holiday tratdition that no one really knows why it exists. The Christmas Pickle was an old German tradition and that the pickle was the last ornament hung on the Christmas tree and then the first child to find the pickle got an extra present.

Where does it come from?

The tradition has been disagreed on where and when it was created. Some sources that I saw were fighting that it was an old German tradition and others said it was created in a camp during the Civil War. "The glass pickles are based on a German tradition, said Donna Sack, associate director for visitor services. "On Christmas Eve, the parents hid a pickle in the tree branches, and the child who found it got a special gift," she said." This is an interview put in the Daily Herald with Donna Sack, a staff member of an Illinois museum where they were selling lots of Christmas pickles. I also read on wikepedia, a not so reliable source that the tradition came from Camp Sumter during the American Civil War.

The disagreement is probably from the changing of the story and tradition as its passed along. Someone probably misinterpreted the tradition. This is not uncommon to find in old traditions, as they're usually passed down through generations.

Who Participates?

Anyone who wants! Its usually a tradition for small children but anyone can buy one of these ornaments and participate in the tradition.

Fun fact

Today, Berrien Springs, Michigan calls itself the Christmas Pickle Capital of the World. They host a Christmas Pickle festival every year in early December. There's a parade led by a dillmeister who passes out fresh pickles to everyone.


Whatever kind you want on your tree!


"The Christmas Pickle on Whychristmas?com." The Christmas Pickle's History. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

"History of Christmas Pickles." LoveToKnow. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

Labunski, Carla. "Naperville Settlement Showcases Yule of Yore." Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL). 12 Dec. 1998. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

"Legnd of the Pickle." Legnd of the Pickle. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

This source was partially biased and was written from thoughts of a narrator but still gave facts and info.