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The Legend of the Christmas Pickle

 “You did it, you found the Christmas pickle! Now you get an extra gift on Christmas!”

But.. why? Why on earth are we looking for a pickle in the Christmas tree? If you’ve never heard of The Christmas Pickle, the general idea is that on Christmas morning, whoever finds the hidden pickle amongst the other Christmas Tree ornaments receives another bonus present. Another variation is that the finder gets to open a present first. You’ll also find some folks who do something else entirely different!

But again... why? Why is it that this dilly little friend of ours gives us access to one more fun little surprise? The answer is… We’re not sure. But that’s okay because there are some interesting theories as to where this legend came from.

The Christmas pickle, also known as The Weihnachtsgurke, is a fun and unique tradition for many families. You yourself might already practice this sweet and downright silly tradition but did you ever hear of these various origin stories?

The first has to do with an event that happened during the American Civil War. A captured soldier who was starving asked one of the guards for the pickle from the meal he was eating. The guard took pity on him and shared his food. It was because of the pickle he was given that the prisoner survived. He later incorporated a pickle into his holiday traditions to thank the guard that had saved his life.

We dare you to click these pickles!


Another theory is a bit more grim. It has to do with Saint Nicholas finding some children who had been kidnapped as they were traveling. Their abductor, the owner of the inn that they were staying at, had sealed them into barrels of pickles in order to imprison them. It is said that Saint Nicholas magically knew where they were and rescued them. An even more disturbing addition sometimes included in this tale is that the children were actually murdered and Saint Nicholas was able to magically revive them. Again, this theory is quite gruesome, and there is little to back it up.

The last theory, the one that make the most sense to us, is that the hide-and-seek / extra-present aspect was simply a marketing ploy back in the late 1800s. During this time, many glass ornaments were being imported from Germany, and so it could very well be that the faux-tradition was fabricated in order to sell ornaments.

St. Nick, pickle MVP

Regardless of its origins, the Christmas pickle has become a fun and whimsical part of the holiday fun.

Whether you get an extra gift, or you get to be the first person to open a gift, The Christmas Pickle can be a fun and simple addition to your family‘s Christmas day festivities... and beyond that, who doesn’t want a sparkly pickle in their tree??

Since you've found this entire Christmas Pickle article, you also get a gift!!

Head to and use code 'PICKLE' to get 10% off your entire order!

And, of course, get your own Christmas Pickle HERE! 🥒

Do you have a Christmas Pickle, but have a completely different tradition? Tell us on our Facebook or Instagram!