We are only a couple of weeks away from the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas! And who can possibly deny that the festive season is the absolute highlight of the entire year? Aside from all inevitable indulgence in delicious foods, time spent with loved ones and those classic Christmas tunes, it's also the most aesthetically pleasing holiday in existence. Yes, it's the only time of the year, aside from Halloween, where we are expected to put our all into decorating our homes so we can truly get into the holiday spirit.
And when it comes to decorations, everything is secondary to the Christmas tree. Whether you've got yourself a real tree or an artificial one - you'll want it to look as vibrant and festive as possible.
But as it turns out, the decorations and ornaments we hang up in our Christmas trees might have more to them than meets the eye. For instance, if you've ever come across a pickle-shaped ornament in a Christmas tree, then you might be interested to learn that there it has pretty interesting albeit nebulous origin story.
I mean, initially, seeing a glass pickle hanging alongside all the other more traditional festive decorations such as baubles and tinsel might be a little difficult to get used to. But according to Wide Open Country, it is supposed to be "fortuitous" sighting and stems from an Old World holiday tradition.
There are several variations of the tradition it's something along the lines of the first child who is able to find the pickle Christmas ornament being awarded the first gift, an extra gift, or the task of handing out all the presents in addition to good fortune for the year.
According to some sources, the unusual custom, known as "Weihnachtsgurke", or Christmas Pickle, has German roots. Although it must be noted that most Germans have not even heard of the tradition.
In fact, according to a report by the New York Times, 91% of the 2,057 Germans polled were unaware of the custom. The legend of the Christmas pickle is best known in the Midwest, according to the publication.
It is believed that the considerable proportion of German immigrants in the region (especially in Berrien Springs, Michigan, the so-called "Christmas Pickle Capital of the World") has something to do with it.
Berrien Springs even hosts an annual Christmas Pickle Festival. But no one really knows how the pickle managed to get turned into this lesser-known Christmas tradition. Tampa Bay Magazine reports that in one tale, an evil innkeeper traps two boys in a pickle barrel and St. Nicholas frees them.
Others claim a German soldier in the Civil War was held captive in Georgia begged for a pickle and was ultimately given it. And it was this pickle which he had to thank for his survival.
A third theory, however, suggests the whole thing is nothing more than a marketing scheme. All the way back in the 1840s, German glassblowers made ornaments shaped like fruits and nuts and perhaps they threw a pickle or two in there as well.
Ultimately, it doesn't really matter where this tradition originated from. The fact is it has survived over hundreds of years and still very much exists in parts of the country today. It's pretty impressive if you think about it?
So will you be hanging a pickle in your Christmas tree this year?