If ever a tradition provides controversy of its origin, The Christmas Pickle is the one. It is many times told as a German Tradition. However, contrary to belief, this isn't so. The Germans do not celebrate the coming of Saint Nick the same time as the Americans. The traditional German belief is that you are to leave your boot or shoe out on December 5th. When you awake on December 6th a goody is placed inside your shoe. Unless, that is you are bad, which you will then receive a rod. In my personal opinion, The Christmas Pickle might have picked up it's so called German roots, because the pickle ornament is many times made of high quality, blown German glass. So the tradition is now thought to have American roots.
To play The Christmas Pickle, aka Hide the Pickle, first you must obtain a pickle ornament. These can be found at department stores and easier online. during the holiday season. Most any I've ever seen was made of glass. Possibly you've seen these ornaments in the stores with a puzzled look on your face. Then thought to yourself, "why would anyone put that ugly pickle on their Christmas tree". I remember seeing one myself at Dillards department store and thought, "what an unusual ornament". It wasn't until I seen one on my aunt's tree that I knew it was an actual traditional game.
On Christmas Eve, after the children have went to bed, is time to hide the pickle. Since the pickle is green with usually some sparkles on it, it's very easy to hide; of course that is, unless you have a white tree. This game works best with green, since it will be much harder to find the ornament. Stand back and observe the tree. Do you see it easy? If so pick another spot.
When the children wake up on Christmas morning, they'll rush to the decorated tree. In hopes of being the first one to find the pickle. They will search high and low, near and far. When one of the children find the pickle, the game is over. The little one, who find the pickle first will be thrill and excited. The others will gasp in disappointment saying things like "oh man!".
So what is the purpose of all of this? The child who finds the pickle ornament on the Christmas tree first will get a special surprise. This surprise is usually an extra present or cash.
Variation of the game: Hide the pickle on the tree on Christmas Eve while the children are eating dinner. After dinner, have them find the pickle that night. I know people who play it on Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning.
To make this a time honored tradition in your home, you can find a Christmas pickle ornament at Amazon.