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15 Best Christmas Pickle Ornaments for 2023

The funniest holiday tradition I can think of is the Christmas pickle ornament so if your family doesn’t have a Christmas pickle yet, make 2023 the holiday season that you get in on the fun. Or get really strange with the best weird Christmas ornaments.

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What Is a Christmas Pickle?

The custom of the pickle ornament is that whoever finds this little hidden ornament first on Christmas morning gets a prize which is often a small extra present.

It's the last decoration to be placed on the tree--generally on Christmas Eve or early Christmas morning when the kids aren't looking. You can also hang the pickle when you decorate your tree but then secretly move it on Christmas morning. You want to make sure it's a bit of a challenge.

It's a cute little tradition that extends the fun of the day and helps push off the initial unwrapping frenzy with a little game so your coffee at least has the chance to kick in.

What Is the Origin of the Christmas Pickle?

Here's the thing: nobody knows where this got started for sure which makes the whole thing that much more hilarious. 

That's not to say there aren't countless theories as to why so many folks hang a pickle in their tree every year, so here are the most popular origin stories.

From German Christmas Traditions?

According to legend, this old-world custom comes from Germany. There's even a German name for it: the Weihnachtsgurke.

For years, everyone was sure this whole pickle thing was a time-honored German Christmas tradition. 

But here the thing: Basically no one in German has ever heard of it. A German poll by YouGov taken in 2016 showed that 91 percent of Germans had never heard of this tradition. 

That pretty squarely busts the myth that the tradition is German. 

Roots in the American Civil War?

One thing we can say is that the Christmas pickle is most widely celebrated in the United States, and in particular the Midwest and one theory is that this American tradition has old American roots.

Why Christmas relates the myth that a John Lower, a Union soldier in the Civil War, was a prisoner of war and dying in prison on Christmas Eve and his last request was to eat a pickle. Seriously, John? A pickle?

Anyway, legend states that the pickle restored his health and will to live and that he hung a pickle on his Christmas tree for the rest of his days. This theory makes very little sense from several angles but as I wasn't there I can't say it's 100 percent false.

Ready for It to Get Really Weird?
It Might Refer to Saint Nicholas' Miracle From the First Century.

A more religious origin refers back to the popular story of Saint Nicholas (whom Santa Claus would be modeled from) finding that a butcher had killed three young children and put them in his pickling barrel. Sant Nicolas resurrects the children, saving their lives.

The issue with that theory is, the tradition didn't really take hold until over 1,800 years later in America of all places. So that seems like a stretch.

What If it Were Plain Old Capitalism?

The most likely origin is that when glass Christmas ornaments began to be mass-produced in the late 1880s, someone ended up with a bunch of pickle ornaments that weren't selling and created this little game to clear out his inventory.

Not to mention, early glass ornaments were generally imported from Germany.

It's not the jolliest of theories, but it doesn't have murdered kids in it either.