Originally Posted by tallanvor
Christmas morning we all hunt for the pickle on the tree to see who gets the extra gift. That's a German tradition.
I really would like to know how that myth started out......no one in Germany/from Germany who I ever spoke to had ever heard of it, it seems that this story mainly exists in the US and on the internet.
Here's something about it:
"But the biggest problem with the German pickle (saure Gurke, Weihnachtsgurke) tradition is that no one in Germany seems to have ever heard of it. Over the years this question has repeatedly come up on the AATG (German Teachers) forum. Teachers of German in the U.S. and in Europe have never been able to find a native German who has even heard of the pickle legend, much less carried out this Christmas custom. It may have been some German-American invention by someone who wanted to sell more glass ornaments for Christmas. Or could the Weihnachtsgurke be an obscure regional custom that few people are aware of?"http://german.about.com/library/blgermyth11.htm
I can assure you that neither I nor any of my family, neighbors or friends in Germany have ever "hunted for the Christmas pickle" (I had never even seen a pickle ornament before coming to the USA
Maybe it's just a very local custom of one place in Germany that got blown out of proportion to represent entire Germany? They do give a possible explanation later in the above link, if you read on
But, if you want to surprise your German intern with this "German tradition", you might be surprised by her reaction, instead
Anyway.....in our house we did do the "shoe thing", meaning last night we put out our shoes/boots in the hallway and the "Nikolaus" came during the night and filled them with some small presents and sweets. We have chocolate advent calendars (got them directly from Germany this year because last year I bought the ones at Fred Meyers and had to throw them out after the first day because the chocolate was truly inedible). I also made an advent calendar with little presents (mainly hotwheels/matchbox cars) for our son.
In the weeks before Christmas, we listen to Christmas music (alternate between German and American), read Christmassy books, watch some DVDs with DS (he received "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer" in his advent calendar and loves it, also Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas
), and we have an "advent wreath" with one candle for each advent sunday.
We will be having our "Family Christmas" on the 24th, will have a nice dinner, open some presents (the ones from Germany and from us to each other), maybe sing a little, read a story.....our son is still really young, it'll get more involved when he gets older. We are still undecided about going to church. In Germany I always used to go, but the service there was in the afternoon
, since families celebrate at home in the evening. Here, our church only has a service in the evening
, and that wouldn't really work for "my" Christmas Eve.....as I said, we're still undecided
On the morning of the 25th, there'll be the stockings that Santa filled overnight and some presents Santa brought while everyone was sleeping. Later in the morning we'll go to my mother-in-law's house for her big Christmas dinner.
That is our solution for combining German and American customs. I am a bit sad that my son is going to miss out on the "visit from Santa" which in Germany happens on Christmas Eve (either a relative dresses up, or someone is hired to play Santa, and the children are supposed to sing a song, say a poem, etc. before Santa hands out the presents). But I also didn't want to deprive him of the custom of Santa coming secretly overnight, filling stockings and leaving presents, so we had to make a choice. (I couldn't figure out a way to explain why Santa would first appear in person on the 24th and then secretly come back during the night.....forgot something, Santa?
This is the first year that our son's old enough to start understanding a little about Christmas, so I am trying to establish some traditions for our family that are going to stay the same for years to come. Not always easy