The Christmas Pickle

The Christmas PIckle

The Christmas Pickle is a tradition that I started for our niece and nephew years ago; it’s one of my favorite parts of our holiday celebrations. The Pickle Game changes each year, with me creating the devious rules designed to thwart the efforts of the ever-eager and getting-harder-to-fool-each-year pickle searchers. Let me explain.

Mr. Saucy and I never had children; the closest we have in our life is our niece and nephew, children of my sister Sarah. Years ago, I decided to start a tradition at Christmas that would incorporate The Christmas Pickle.

The Christmas Pickle is a pickle ornament that I hide in the Christmas tree every year. This tradition was said to originate in Germany, but there is some question about that now; the challenge is to find the pickle ornament in the tree, and the person finding it either gets a special gift or good fortune for the coming year.

The way I design the game changes each year, but the result is the same. Whoever finds the pickle gets a special little something, but they both get to share another special gift. There is never a “loser,” and it’s always fun. Some years the shared gift is magnificent, some years it’s silly, but the search for The Pickle is always a highlight of our gathering.

This year, my nephew had some surgery on the 18th and is unable to get out of the house for a while. That meant that they wouldn’t be able to join us in our normal celebration at my house. So, yesterday I delivered their Christmas gifts and specific instructions for how this year’s game is to be played by them on Christmas morning.

The most gratifying aspect of this little Christmas tradition happened this year. Our niece and nephew have loved The Pickle Ornament game so much that they now own their own pickle ornaments; they wanted to be able to continue the tradition in their own homes when they grow up. When my sister told me the kids both had to have their own pickle ornaments, my heart grew three sizes. We didn’t have children, but I have been able to create Christmas magic for them; starting a tradition at will be carried on for years and years.

Isn’t that one of the joys of this holiday season? Setting the traditions, or maintaining traditions from generation to generation, is a special part of the magic of Christmas. So, on this Christmas Eve, my wish for you is Christmas magic. Your very own Christmas magic…whatever that may be…I hope your day shines with it.

Thank you so much for being here with me and Happy Christmas from our house to yours.


Christmas 2013


Christmas 2013

About P ~ The Saucy Southerner

I started cooking when I was ten years old. For me, the process of cooking, from inception of a dish, to the execution, to the washing of the pots is sheer delight. I am now retired from a business I still own, in partnership with my husband. I used to work six days a week and still cook every night. Now, I'm gardening, still cooking, always having fun and hoping to share my joy with you. Thank you for reading...and commenting! P~
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3 Responses to The Christmas Pickle

  1. Bill Boyd says:


    I just finished reading about your Christmas Pickle Ornament tradition and it was a fun read. It has inspired Wendy and I to start this tradition too. We already have a pickle ornament, so now we need to commence with the tradition. We would be interested in what some of your various rules for the game have been, as a reference point from which we can start.

    On a different note, we are going to have your oyster stuffing for our Christmas Eve dinner tonight and I especially am looking forward to it. We both helped in the construction of this wonderful looking recipe. I’ll give you our impression of the dish later on. We do hope that you and Mr. Saucy have a joyous Christmas. You both mean a great deal to us. I am really enjoying your website and receiving the automatic posts. They have become a welcome refocusing of my day.

    Bill Boyd & Wendy Williams

    • Bill and Wendy, I am thrilled that you’re planning to start the Christmas Pickle tradition too! The rules, as I have varied them are:
      The Christmas tree is not the only place a pickle might hide. Read, anywhere in the house, but mostly on the first floor.
      The pickle doesn’t necessarily have to be in plain sight. For instance, I have put it in a black velvet bag and hidden it way into the branches.
      The pickle can leave clues to it’s whereabouts, like a scavenger hunt.
      The pickle will not be anywhere you have to climb (we have a 15 foot tree).
      The pickle will sometimes have a consolation prize for the person who doesn’t find it. This year, the person who finds it gets a million dollars (of course my niece and nephew doubted this, but…it was a million dollar candy bar. The consolation prize was a bag of coal (chocolates). This doesn’t count the shared gift.
      The pickle gives extravagant gifts some years (a Wii gaming system one year), or something silly (this year it’s a movie with a matching kit to make cupcakes decorated like the movie characters.

      Let you imagination be your guide. The key is to be as devious as possible in the hiding of it.

      Can’t wait to hear how you like the oyster casserole. It’s Mr. Saucy’s favorite! Merry, merry Christmas to all of you!!! P~

  2. I love this game, P! 🙂 So cool. I bet you’re like the coolest aunt ever. I am in a similar situation to you – no kids of my own, just a niece and nephew. It’s the best arrangement ever 🙂

    PS your trees are lovely!

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