My First Christmas Pickle


A Short History of the Christmas Pickle

The history of the Christmas Pickle is indeed a short one.

This summer, I’ve learned on some info radio that the Christmas Pickle is the hottest Xmas thing this year. Lover of kitsch that I am, I rubbed my hands and looked into this. Here are our very own new Weihnachtsgurken.

Be Kitschig Blog History of the Christmas Pickle Weihnachtsgurke

Obviously not mouth-blown glass or hand painted.

Weihnachtsgurke Chritmas Pickle be kitschig blog

Apparently, the Christmas Pickle is a well-loved German tradition in America; while most of Germany has never heard of such a thing. The Christmas pickle is used as a decoration for trees together with all the other tinsel and bobbles and stuff. It resembles a … well …  pickled cucumber and blends in well with the tree. The person who finds the pickle first gets an extra present. Olé!

Now, just when you wanted to think this is one of those commercial things from the US, my friend Wiki presents this very interesting picture. A factory named Lyra-Fahrrad-Werke from Prenzlau actually had a Christmas pickle in their catalog as early as 1909.

Scan by Lyra vintage catalog with Christmas pickle #weihnachtsgurke
Catalog with Christmas Pickle/Weihnachtsgurke — von MiLe, selber gescannt aus Kataolg der Lyra Fahrrad-Werke von 1909, PD-alt-100, CC

By the way, Prenzlau is situated in the Uckermark in the north of Brandenburg. Lyra from Prenzlau has nothing to do with Lyra from Nürnberg, Bavaria, a traditional factory that still produces pencils.

be kitschig blog Weihnachtgurke Christmas pickle

Lyra Fahrrad-Werke did not just specialize in bicycles. They produced all sorst of useful things like sewing machines, sports gear, toys and weapons. At least in 1909 they also featured a range of Christmas decorations. It is a fascinating thought that this knowledge would’ve been lost if not someone had bothered to scan this picture.

Christmas Pickle History Geschichte Weihnachtsgurke be kitschig blog

So, the Christmas Pickle might actually be a forgotten (regional) German tradition after all!

What are your special Christmas traditions?

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays?

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22 thoughts on “My First Christmas Pickle

  1. A Christmas pickle? Well, of course. What could be more obvious?

    Our traditions? Well, I grew up celebrating a thoroughly secular Christmas in my Jewish atheist family. A few years back, I gave my recovering Southern Methodist partner a menorah for Christmas. She’s now in charge of figuring out when the holiday falls (not easy) and either finding or not finding candles for the thing. When we have candles, we light them on most of the days. And some years they’re even the right days.

    Which sort of sums up the reverence with which we approach the holidays.

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