the legendary christmas pickle

Christmas_pickleWhat do pickles have to do with Christmas? That is the question I asked, many years ago, as I spent my first Christmas with my (future) husband’s family. Until that day I had never heard of a “Christmas Pickle” much less ever thought of making it a family tradition. I’m guessing that you have never either.

Here’s the scoop: The Christmas pickle is not an actual pickle, it is simply a Christmas ornament that is shaped like a pickle. The ornament is hidden on a family’s Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, all of the children take turns looking for the pickle ornament and the child who finds the Christmas pickle receives an extra present for his or her good work.

My in-laws love this tradition because it encourages the children (and now grandchildren) to take the time to appreciate all of the beautiful ornaments on the Christmas tree. Instead of simply rushing to open their presents, they spend time talking about the unique history of all the holiday decorations.

This Christmas pickle story, with a few minor variations, can be found all over the internet and is printed on a card inside the ornament package. It is commonly stated that the Christmas pickle tradition began in Germany.

Being of German heritage myself, I can see the flaws in this “legend.” And perhaps my in-laws can too. First of all, the German St. Nick doesn’t show up on Christmas Eve. He arrives on the 5th or 6th of December. Nor do German children open their presents on Christmas morning. That happens on Christmas Eve in Germany. Additionally, many Germans (and German decendants here in America) say they have never heard of this custom.

If learning about the history of Christmas pickles has inspired you to incorporate this fun tradition into your own holiday celebration, you can buy a pickle ornament online from a lengthy list of retailers.

Have yourself a Merry Christmas!

hug the children in your life, and hug their teachers too

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Like you, I was shattered by Friday’s events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  I can hardly bring myself to write about what happened. The tragedy for that town, those children, those educators and their families is too great.

As the daughter of an elementary educator and a mother of a pre-school aged child, the horrific incident is my worst nightmare, two fold.

After two hours of typing, revising, deleting, moving paragraphs, and more editing, I came to an obvious conclusion:  There are no words in my vocabulary to express how I feel about the loss of twenty small children and the six adults who tried to shield them.

Without a doubt, hug the children in your life ever so tight, tell them how much you love them and treasure every single moment with them.

If you see their teachers, hug them too! Teachers are heroes. Think of the devoted teachers and principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School and know that any educator would do the same for their students.

Here’s why:

Five days a week, we teach your kids.
That means we educate your kids.
Play with your kids.
Discipline your kids.
Joke with your kids.
Console your kids.
Praise your kids.
Question your kids.
Beat our head against a wall about your kids.
Laugh with your kids.
Worry about your kids.
Keep an eye on your kids.
Learn about your kids.
Invest in your kids.
Protect your kids and yes, love your kids.

WE WOULD ALL TAKE A BULLET FOR YOUR KIDS.

It’s nowhere in our job description.
It isn’t covered in the employee handbook.
It isn’t cited in our contracts.
But we would all do it.
So, yes, please hug your kids tonight, really, really tight.
But on Monday, if you see your kids’ teacher, please hug them too.

 

Mom, I LOVE you! Like Anne Marie Murphy, I know you would do anything to protect each and every one of your special education students. My heart is filled with love for the beautiful women who selflessly died trying to save their children. What you did was amazing. You’re truly each a hero.