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Legend of the Christmas Pickle

If you’ve been Christmas shopping and spotted pickle ornaments in stores and wondered who on earth is decorating their tree with a salty deli snack, this article is for you. Christmas pickles are a holiday tradition for many families — and one you might want to adopt, especially if you have kids.

The tradition goes like this: On Christmas Eve, parents put a pickle ornament on the family Christmas tree. On Christmas morning, the first child to find the pickle gets to open the first gift, receives a special present or gets to hand out the gifts to other family members to open.

Where the tradition came from is a little bit of a mystery. The Christmas pickle is originally called Weihnachtsgurke, a German word, which makes many people think it originated there. But modern Germans don’t follow this custom, so that’s unlikely — many pickle ornaments are made in Germany but only to be exported to other countries.

Another theory is that Woolworth’s, an old, now-defunct chain of five-and-dime stores, started importing the pickle ornaments in the late 1800s and made up the story to help boost their sales in the U.S.

No matter how pickle ornaments became popular, this is a fun tradition for the whole family.

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