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Uncommon Knowledge: Where did the Christmas pickle originate?

Pickle Towel | UncommonGoodsIt’s a sweetly eccentric holiday tradition: on Christmas morning the children rush to the Christmas tree, trying to spot a glass ornament shaped like a pickle. The lucky child who does so first is blessed with a year of good luck, or perhaps even an extra present. In America, the tradition first appeared during the 1890s when beautiful, glass Christmas ornaments began to be important from Germany. It was said that the holiday cuke was an old German custom, known as the Weihnachtsgurke. However, there is no historic evidence of such a tradition actually being practiced overseas. It appears that, instead, the Christmas pickle was part of a great American tradition: marketing. The story of the pickle’s German origins was most likely made up at that time to help sell more of the unusual ornaments, but the century of fun that it has inspired is completely authentic.

Pickle Towel, $14

Written by Nathan

Nathan is a copywriter, who helps create our product descriptions as well as our weekly emails. He is also a nationally award-winning musical theater writer, whose work includes an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver. Nathan has also been a classical violinist, tutored Kazakhstani jewelers in entrepreneurship, created large-scale games played across entire city blocks, served as a missionary in South Korea, conducted experiments in sonoluminescence, co-founded an exotic fruit-growing business, was a theater critic for Tucson Weekly, and as a teenager composed a women’s jazz quartet that is currently performed around the world.

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