we got some help from Ornamentshop.com and Squidoo.com
It’s a lovely story. Except for some small details: St. Nicholas traditionally comes to visit German children on the Fifth or Sixth of December, German children traditionally open their presents on Christmas Eve, and most Germans had never heard of the pickle ornament.
According to a recent highly reputable online review, the story gaining currency these days involves a Bavarian who came to America and fought in the Civil War. Captured by the Confederates and confined to the notorious Andersonville prison, the Bavarian, John Lower (Hans Lauer, perhaps), starving and near death, convinced a jailer to get him a pickle to eat. Buoyed both mentally and physically by eating the pickle, Lower survived and began his own tradition of hiding a small glass pickle ornament in the family Christmas tree. Its finder on Christmas morning would benefit from a year of good luck.
Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the main source of pickle ornaments was Lauscha. It does make a good story in either case.
The Christmas Pickle is shrouded in mystery and based on many of the stories, no one is clear on the source. The supposed source of the Christmas Pickle is the story of the Weihnachtsgurke, where Germans would hide a pickle in the tree, and the observant child who found it would get a special gift, while the first adult to notice it would have a year of good fortune.
Apparently, the Germans have never heard of this – German Christmas Pickle
Still, the glass Christmas Pickle ornament has become something of a craze, and even if it’s origin is a little wonky, it’s a nice one to have.
You may want to add the Christmas Pickle to your Christmas traditions, or use it as inspiration for your own.