The Holiday Pickle Sale

We truly loved learning about all of your holiday traditions: everything from France’s Christmas logs made of ice cream, to New Zealand’s very own native Christmas tree, Pohutukawa, to water-skiing Santas in Washington D.C. (We have to confess we were a little bit scared of Newfoundland’s mummers; they reminded us of the scary people in The Strangers.) But our winning holiday tradition (and inspiration for our latest sale) is the Holiday Pickle! A lot of you wrote in about this particular custom, but the first one to write in (and the winner of a $50 gift certificate) is Megan, who had this to say of her own pickle tradition: “Well a tradition within my own family is that my parents take an Old World Christmas ornament, in the shape and design of a pickle, and hide it in one of the five trees we have in our house. The first to find it gets to open one gift early on Christmas Eve.”


Photo courtesy of elvissa’s flickr

Keep reading to learn more about the pickle ornament tradition and our” Holiday Pickle Sale” going on this weekend!

Many of you wrote in about this tradition, but everyone seemed to have a different reward for finding the pickle, from getting a special surprise for yourself to a gift that’s meant to be shared with the whole family. And it seems the origin of this tradition is up for interpretation too. Many people believe that this is a German tradition, but not many people in Germany have never even heard of the Christmas pickle! One theory is that this legend actually began in the American south with a Bavarian immigrant named John Lower. According to the legend, John was captured and imprisoned while fighting in the Civil War. Due to the terrible prison conditions, he soon became sick and he begged for just one thing before he died–a pickle. This pickle gave him “the mental and physical strength to go on” and after he was reunited with his family, he started hiding a pickle in the Christmas tree. He said that whoever found it would be blessed with good fortune for the coming year.

But then, there is the Berrien Springs, Michigan crowd, and their version of the pickle story.  Berrien Springs calls itself “The Christmas Pickle Capital of the World” and each year in early December, they have an Annual Christmas Pickle Festival. The Grand Dillmeister leads a parade through the town, handing out fresh pickles to onlookers, and attendees can also purchase glass pickle ornaments at the town’s museum.

But “The Christmas Pickle Capital of the World” has quite a different take on how this custom got its start. They believe that it originated from a medieval story in which two Spanish boys were traveling home from boarding school for the holidays. They stopped at an inn for the night, where they were held captive by an evil innkeeper and kept in a giant pickle barrel. Luckily, St. Nicholas stopped by the inn, tapped on the barrel with his staff, and set them free.

No matter how you believe this tradition began, there seems to be a consensus that the pickle is a lucky little vegetable. And this weekend at ModCloth, the pickle is good fortune for you too! Our Holiday Pickle Sale  features 50% off select items and runs tonight through Sunday, December 14th at midnight. Also, four lucky customers who order between now and the end of the sale will find a pickle in their order worth $25 at!

We hope everybody has a dill-lightful weekend!

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  1. Avatar
    Megan Gants 12/11/2008 at 6:39 pm #

    Aw, nuts! I thought it was me who had won! I’m Megan, and I wrote about my family’s pickle tradition, too! Sad…

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    Megan Gants 12/11/2008 at 6:43 pm #

    I just checked the comments about traditions, the other Megan posted 20 minutes and right in front of my post! So close!

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    Alexandra 12/11/2008 at 7:44 pm #

    aww! that is a super cute tradition…for the megan that one and the megan that didn’t (the one above me :]). we really don’t have any cool traditions, so i think that this is super neat and i love all of the cultural ones too.

  4. Avatar
    Megan 12/12/2008 at 12:56 am #

    I’m so excited that I won! It’s so cool. However; I didn’t know that other people did this too! I thought we picked it up while living in Europe, but now I’m not sure. It’s so cool to see that we’re not the only weirdos out there!

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    Katie 12/12/2008 at 4:50 am #

    In Germany we believe it’s an American tradition!^^
    but you are right – It’s not very well-established – sadly

  6. Avatar
    Megan Gants 12/12/2008 at 10:15 am #

    Congrats, Megan! Celebrate this Christmas knowing there’s another Megan and her weirdo family looking for a pickle in a tree!

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    selene 12/12/2008 at 2:43 pm #

    FIVE trees?!?! jesus…

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    Krista 12/12/2008 at 4:14 pm #

    my fiance’s family is half german, half canadian – they do this every year as well. they always have one family gift that whoever gets the pickle can open, even though the kids are all in their twenties now, its still the excitement of being the one to find it that gets them to looking! they dont even care so much about the actual gift – which is usually a cute family movie.

    also how does this work in correlation with ordering? when would we see the pickle? lol, i just ordered but i didnt pay any attention to my order confirmation because i never print out, so i didn’t even look >.

  9. Avatar
    Krista 12/12/2008 at 4:14 pm #

    but i did find some cute stuff that i had been wanting to buy ANYWAY that was 50% off! so exciting!

    i love all the little contests you guys have, it makes me feel more like i’m buying cool stuff from a unique bunch of people, versus handing my money over to the corporate machine 😉

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    Chloe 12/12/2008 at 5:04 pm #

    oh cool, we do this too! lol you guys have five christmas trees!

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    Mélissandre Lacaille 12/13/2008 at 1:43 am #

    That’s yet another reason to love modcloth, you learn so many random things here!! I’m so adopting this pickle tradition now!
    Btw does the winner gets to keep this really really cute ornament?

  12. Avatar
    Mélissandre Lacaille 12/13/2008 at 1:43 am #

    That’s yet another reason to love modcloth, you learn so many random things here!! I’m so adopting this pickle tradition now!
    Btw does the winner gets to keep this really really cute ornament?

  13. Avatar
    Alicia 12/15/2008 at 6:05 pm #

    Hi Krista,

    We’re shipping the pickles along with the orders, so you’ll know if you won once you get your package in the mail!

  14. Avatar
    Rosemary 12/28/2008 at 8:16 pm #

    we have that same pickle ornament at my house

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