As the time for Michael and I to start having children approaches (still got two+ years people so don’t jump to conclusions), I often contemplate the future of my family. I ponder how we should discipline our children. I stress over their education and pray that I will be able to afford private school. I get giddy thinking that I might possibly have girls and can develop a relationship like the one I have with Debs. I worry about their self-esteem and confidence. I buy books constantly preparing for their own mini-libarary like the one I was raised with.
I could go on forever about all of my hopes and worries, but I will keep that list for my paperbound journal. (yes paper…)
As I put up our Christmas Tree this year, I couldn’t help but become slightly depressed. Although Michael was at home as I decorated the tree I could not for the life of me get him away from the Tube. Despite the windows being open, music playing, and the neighborhood children harassing me in my front doorway (I often open my front door when I’m working in the living room and all the neighborhood monsters like to visit and ask me 189,345 questions while trying to get Piper Rue to stop growling at them) it took me 45 minutes to get Michael to participate. He finally made an appearance after I screeched that all he had to do was hang the last 4 ornaments! Sounds charming, right?
While I watched him hang the last few ornaments my annoyance subsided as I realized that soon enough there would be children to decorate the tree with me. Not only would I one day have my own little army of elves, but Michael would HAVE to participate because he would have multiple people nagging him. So as I continued to set up my Christmas decor this weekend, I refrained from nagging Michael and instead daydreamed about my own monsters breaking ornaments, fighting over who gets to do what, and getting on my nerves.
Thinking about all the annoying things my kids will one day put me through, my thoughts turned to traditions. Michael and I often debate who had better holiday traditions growing up. Although this discussion always ends in a stalemate, we continue to have it year after year. We have decided that when we eventually have kids of our own, we will combine a few traditions and then create some of our own.
So the first tradition that might make the Poulsen-Fleming cut is…… DRUMROLL………
The Pickle Ornament
The tradition of the pickle ornament has always been regarded as a German Christmas Eve Custom however after extensive research I learned that there is no such thing! Just another case of Americans creating false “history” and trying to integrate it into our own holiday traditions. So being that this tradition is not proven to have actually been practiced hundreds of years ago, I’m not sure I am completely loving it.
So here are a few versions of the “Pickle Legend”:
1. “A very old Christmas eve tradition in Germany was to hide a pickle [ornament] deep in the branches of the family Christmas Tree. The parents hung the pickle last after all the other ornaments were in place. In the morning they knew the most observant child would receive an extra gift from St. Nicholas. The first adult who finds the pickle traditionally gets good luck for the whole year.”
2. “A descendent of a soldier who fought in the American Civil War, John Lower (Hans Lauer?), born in Bavaria in 1842, wrote to tell about a family story that had to do with a Christmas pickle. According to family lore, John Lower was captured and sent to prison in Andersonville, Georgia. …In poor health and starving, he begged a guard for just one pickle before he died. The guard took pity on him and found a pickle for John Lower. According to family legend, John said that the pickle—by the grace of God—gave him the mental and physical strength to live on. Once he was reunited with his family he began a tradition of hiding a pickle on the Christmas tree. The first person who found the pickle on Christmas morning would be blessed with a year of good fortune.”
3. “The pickle ornament has been a Christmas tradition for over one hundred years. When people first started decorating a Christmas tree to celebrate the Christmas holiday they used whatever they had, including food.
Many Christmas trees were decorated with foods like popcorn, baked goods, fruits and vegetables. Apples and oranges were carefully placed on the trees branches and as the Christmas celebration took off the food was taken off of the Christmas tree and enjoyed. It was a part of the Christmas celebration to take the food off of the Christmas tree and eat it.
Pickles were good to use as a Christmas tree decoration. A pickle is shiny and easy to hang on a tree. A pickle is something just about everyone has on hand and pickles do not spoil fast as they hung on the branches of the Christmas tree so they were a popular food to place in Christmas trees.
Many families placed one pickle in the tree. Someone would hide the pickle and everyone else would look and see if they could find the pickle before anyone else did. Whoever found the pickle first would get a prize. The prize could be something expensive wrapped in a pretty package or it could be as simple as being the first person to pick a food off of the Christmas tree.”
So what do you think?
Pickle Ornament or No Pickle Ornament
Ps. Do you have any UNIQUE traditions?