Christmas Traditions

In A Christmas Pickle – What’s The Dill With This Holiday Tradition?

Beloved German tradition or elaborate marketing hoax? Here is the real dill origin of the Christmas Pickle ornament legend.

by | December 19, 2019

Christmas Pickle Ornament with handwritten text #rentachristmas

We relish the fact that we know a lot about Christmas, but what about the true origin of the Christmas Pickle? Here’s the real dill - No one actually knows who started the Christmas Pickle tradition or even how long it has been around.

According to legend, it was an old German tradition to hide a small glass blown pickle ornament on your tree the night before Christmas. Come Christmas morning, the first child to spot the hidden pickle receives a special treat - either an extra gift or the distinction of opening the very first gift of the day. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no proof that this was a tradition that happened in Germany.

The first recorded sale of pickle ornaments was actually in America in the late 1800s. However, these glass blown pickle ornaments were sold alongside many other food decorations. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the Christmas Pickle was sold by itself with the legend printed directly on the packaging. Tim Merck’s company, Old World Christmas, did import their ornaments from Germany, but some believe the legend was completely fabricated in an attempt to sell more pickle ornaments. Still, there are some people who claim to have heard the legend long before Tim Merck started selling. Merck, who also wrote the original copy for the legend still printed on the box, claims the tradition was passed down to him as a child.

Legend of Christmas Pickle Advertisement

While the authenticity of its origin may still be up for debate, the Christmas Pickle’s lesson is still genuine. It teaches one patience rather than just rushing to open presents. Instead, you are supposed to take a moment to admire your beautiful tree and appreciate all that you have. The Christmas Pickle has become a beloved tradition for many families and it is one that we are happy to share with you!