Customs
general

The Pickle Game

Main piece:

The Pickle Game can be played throughout the Christmas season. One member of the family may start by clandestinely hanging a pickle or pickle-shaped ornament on the Christmas tree among other ornaments.

Whenever other members pass by the tree, they can look for the pickle! And if they find it, they should move it and re-hide it themselves. Typically, there is a reward for finding the pickle – usually food or a sweet treat.

On Christmas morning, the pickle is hidden one final time for a special prize. After rushing down the stairs, children compete to see who will “pluck the pickle” and get a special treat (which is usually shared with their siblings in sportsmanship).

Context:

Game described by Laura Monk, second-generation Austrian-American. Many of Laura’s family traditions are imported from Austria and reflect her grandmother’s upbringing. These traditions are carried on in her family today.

Background:

Although believed to have originated in Germany as “Weihnachtsgurke”, the tradition is unknown in that locale. There are various other origin stories as well, some domestic.

Analysis:

This is a fun hide-and-seek game which can be enjoyed both passively throughout the holiday season and actively on Christmas morning. It is both silly, and sincere. It’s also difficult to spot a dark green pickle among the leaves of a pine tree.

For more on the Christmas Pickle, see James Cooper’s article: “https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/christmaspickle.shtml”

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