October 25, 2020 4 min read
A Christmas Pickle? You named your store after a condiment? You wouldn’t’ believe the looks we get when we tell people our Christmas store is named The Christmas Pickle. Some people think it’s cute because it means if you’re in a pickle, and you’re having trouble with presents or décor, we can get you out of that jam (how’s that for a sentence full of food puns!), and we like to think we can, but that’s not where the name came from.
If you’re familiar with the tradition of the Christmas pickle ornament, you know it’s the last ornament put on the tree Christmas Eve evening after all the children have gone to bed. On Christmas morning, there’s a race to see who can be the first to find the ornament. Families have different prizes for the first to find the ornament. Sometimes they get a special present, or they get the honor of being the first to open a present on Christmas morning. Regardless of the reward for the finder, it is generally believed they will be blessed with good fortune in the coming year.
Sounds like a fun tradition, right? We love being able to share it with families and help them start a new tradition, but that’s still not the reason we picked The Christmas Pickle as our business name. Let’s dive-in to the legend of the pickle.
Many believe in the 1800s when America began to import glass ornaments from Germany that some of them were in the shapes of fruits and vegetables. Some believe a salesman with an abundance of pickles to sell made up a story about the pickle being a tradition from the old country for Americans with German ancestry. My husband had heard that story and grew up knowing and participating in the Christmas Pickle tradition. I had never heard of it, but as I began to research it, I found several legends surrounding the ornament.
One tells of the ties to Germany, another is a story of St. Nicholas saving some school boys lives, and the list goes on. You can read more about all of them here. But, these still aren’t the story that most inspired the selection of the name of our store.
Here’s my favorite story connected to the Pickle. It is believed that during the American Civil War there was a soldier imprisoned, starving, and about to lose all hope. A guard took pity on him and gave him a pickle from his meal. Eventually, the war ended, and the soldier was released to go home. He credited that pickle with giving him sustenance and hope to continue. So, every year during the holidays, he included pickles in their meals and told the story of his time as a prisoner of war. He used it to teach his family to recognize the impact the smallest of actions can have and to be grateful for all they had, because things could have turned out so differently. The Christmas Pickle is a symbol of hope.
2020 has been hard. There’s no denying the holidays won’t quite be the same this year. Some will celebrate coming through this dark time relatively unscathed, but others will be entering the holidays with loved ones missing from around their table, without employment or having lost a home or other possessions. The impact will be different for each of us, and we will all feel it and process it in our own way. However, the one constant is that the holidays are a reminder there is always hope for a brighter tomorrow.
During church services today, our Pastor made the point that faith does not guarantee we will not suffer or see hard times. What faith does do is give us a way through the difficult times and hope for tomorrow. The birth of Jesus Christ, and his ultimate sacrifice, are the greatest, most-perfect gifts we will ever be given. All we have to do is accept them and allow them to guide and support us in our daily lives.
There will be a 2021, and it will have its own ups and downs, but like 2020, it will come and go, too. If we choose to look for the blessings, like a pickle from a prison guard, we will find them, but if we look for problems, we’ll find those, too.
We want the Christmas Pickle to be a reminder that there is always something to be grateful for, always something to celebrate and that there is always hope. It springs eternal, and with hope, comes JOY! We don’t want to in any way diminish the challenges and losses everyone has experienced this year, but we do want to create a little corner of the world where you can come and forget about your worries and troubles and just smile. My sister and I revived The Christmas Pickle this year, because our hope is that it brings you JOY whenever you shop, engage or think of us.
As you begin making your preparations for the holiday season, before you get overtaken by cooking and shopping and wrapping and decorating, I hope you’ll take a few moments to prepare your heart and mind. I challenge you to find something each day to be grateful for and to search out an opportunity to be a blessing to someone else…even if they don’t know about it.
So, now you know how we became The Christmas Pickle and why. I’d love to hear about your adventures and efforts to bring hope and JOY to someone else. As we move through our Merry COVID Christmas series, we’re sharing ways to find JOY this season and not let COVID take it from us. Please visit us here to see all the entries in this series for some inspiration for your celebrations. Drop us a comment or send us an email at email@example.com to let us know what you think.
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