Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Traditions: Weihnachtsgurke

I have long wished for a Weihnachtsgurke.  Like many Americans, I was taken in by the myth that German children search the tree for it on Christmas, and the first to find it is awarded a special present.  I can't remember when exactly I decided I wanted one, but I'm pretty sure it was before I turned 12.  Our Christmas traditions have been a pretty hearty mix of Italian-American and Baby-Boomer, so it seemed like a nice way to bring in my German heritage.  Alas, they always cost about $50.  (I was, apparently, always finding the Christopher Radko ones.)

Imagine my excitement when, on a spontaneous shopping trip a few weekends ago, I discovered an affordable one at Sur La Table, on sale for just under $5.  Of course, I immediately bought it and added it onto the tree, totally ignoring the tradition of hanging it up on Christmas Eve and letting one lucky child find it first the next morning and get an extra gift.  Because, well, there are no lucky children around here, and it seemed silly to have Roger find it on the tree.

And, of course, immediately after that, I googled "Weihnachtsgurke," because, naturally, I wanted to share my findings with you folk.  Turns out that the tradition really isn't one at all.  Which might seem disappointing, but I also recently learned that my German heritage probably isn't German either - it's more likely Austrian or Czechoslovakian.  So, it seems all these heritages and traditions are a bit arbitrary (and, need I say, commercial) anyway, and I can make the pickle my own tradition if I want.  And I do, and I will.

And, the rest of these days leading up to Christmas, I'll be writing a little bit about my family's holiday traditions, the ones that have gone on for more than the past three weeks.  Not to give anything away, but my parents are pretty big on Christmas.


  1. I loved this post, ktin. I also loved the article you wrote about your Dad's lights.

  2. We bought a cheap Christmas pickle from Target or somewhere a couple years ago, then lost it, so we bought another one. Then, of course, we found the first one. So now we have two Christmas pickles.