Written by http://www.danabicksauthor.com.
Let’s do the Christmas dance to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”:
There is nothing better than a good crunchy pickle, whether dill or sweet, to wash down a great sandwich. Just ask my daughter – she is the queen of pickle jars. But who, in their right mind, invented making a glass pickle to hang as an ornament on a Christmas tree, much less make it a tradition? I hope Germany comes up with a correct answer for they appear to be the culprit who designed and sold it to F.W. Woolworth in the 1890s.
I grew up on the East Coast and never learned of this southern and mid-western custom until five years ago. The first time I held a pickle ornament, I laughed for nothing seemed stranger. The friend who was hanging it on her tree was from New Mexico, and her Christmases were steeped in pickle power. As her story goes, the pickle is the last ornament to hang on the tree, or rather, hidden in the tree. The first child who finds it receives an extra gift from Saint Nick. But, there are two more stranger tales of the Christmas pickle’s origin.
Berrien Springs, Michigan is known as the Christmas Pickle Capital of the World. This town exploits a medieval tale that occurred in Turkey. Two Spanish boys were traveling home from boarding school for the holidays. They stopped to spend the night at an inn. The innkeeper was an evil man and hated children, so he kidnapped the boys and stuffed them into a pickle barrel, locking the lid closed. When St. Nick came to visit, he prayed for the power to help them. As told, God heard his prayers and allowed him to open the lid and free the boys. I guess my question is, why was St. Nick coming to visit the miserable, old innkeeper in the first place? I so relish the thought of somebody pickling that innkeeper in the barrel!
A final version of the Christmas pickle began in Virginia (Yikes – a little too close to home). A Union soldier in the Civil War was captured by the Confederate Army and forced into isolation. His food rations were few, so by Christmas Eve, he was begging for anything to eat, even a pickle. The Christmas spirit overwhelmed the guard, and he brought the soldier a pickle. As legend tells, when the soldier was released to finally go home, his family started hiding a pickle in their Christmas tree in remembrance of his suffering and the mercy of his release.
Now, holiday readers, how many of you will confess to hanging pickles on your tree? If you do, please share your custom also! We would love to learn about your traditions too!
There’s never a “dill” moment here at danabicksauthor.com. Be sure to join us on Tuesday to read our next installment of Everything Christmas Blogs!
“At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving others with God’s own love and concern.” -Mother Teresa
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