Wednesday, December 19, 2012

German Pickle Tradition {Daily Diaries}

Today I want to share with you a Christmas Tradition in my family! My mom's family, Bargar, is from German ancestry and this fun tradition that I am sharing today goes back to her roots in Germany. It is the Tradition of the German Pickle

Let me give you a little background about it first: 
John Lower, a German man, was born in Bavaria in 1842. He left Germany with his family and immigrated to the United States. While fighting in the American Civil War, John Lower was captured and sent to a prison in Andersonville, Georgia. He soon fell to poor health given the poor conditions of the prison. Starving, he begged of a guard for just one pickle before resigning to his death. The guard, taking pity on him, found and gave John Lower a pickle. Lower family lore yields John's testimony that the pickle, by the grace of God, gave him the mental and physical strength to live on. After being reunited with his family he began the tradition of hiding a pickle on the Christmas tree. Hence, the first person who found the pickle on Christmas morning would be blessed with a year of good fortune... and a special gift, just as John Lower had experienced!

According to German tradition, the pickle brings good luck and was the last ornament placed on the Christmas tree.On Christmas morning the first child to find the pickle was rewarded with an extra little gift left by St. Nicholas. This German tradition encouraged the children to appreciate all the ornaments on the Christmas tree, rather than hurrying to see what St. Nick had left for them.

So for our family the tradition goes a little like this: 
The pickle is placed on the tree just like any other ornament on the same day, normally Dec. 1st, that we decorate the tree.Then on Christmas Eve, after we all went to bed Mom and Dad hide the pickle ornament deep within the trees branches.

Then on Christmas Morning the kids get to try to find the pickle ornament in the tree when mom and dad say go. It is like a little hunt and a race to see who finds the pickle first. It is not as easy as it sounds. Since the pickle and the tree are both green it actually takes a while, and we get kinda vicious and competitive about it especially when we got older.

The child who finds the Pickle first and gets it out of the tree wins an extra present, and in our family that is a nutcracker. My mom has a whole collection of nut crackers and each year she gets a new one for the winner who gets to keep it and take it with them in adulthood. The nutcrackers in the picture above are the ones I have won throughout my childhood. I now use them as Christmas Decor and have great memories behind them.

Back in the day we used to just use a real dried out pickle to hide, but then we were able to find the glass ornament and have used that ever since. My cute friend Ashley knew about this tradition that we did, and thought it was so funny but a cool tradition. When Ty and I got married for our wedding present she gave us a pickle ornament of our own, so that we could continue on the tradition in our own little family. Thank you Ashley, it really did mean a lot. We are really excited to start this tradition with our two little guys when they get a little older.

Thank you for letting me share one of my family traditions with you today.

I also wanted to wish you a
From my family to yours 

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