The Christmas Eve Pickle

Tradition is a part of all of our lives, whether we like it or not.

This is why therapists are wealthy. And since I can’t turn my family’s quirks into a country song, I’ve decided to put some of mine down in writing, so here it goes.

Christian traditions are a very interesting thing. We celebrate holidays based on: breaking bread with native americans, the birth of jesus, jesus rising from the dead etc… and then we spend these holidays engorging ourselves with people we can’t stand to be around, cutting down trees and then placing them in our homes for a month, spending the night as children in anticipation of a fat bearded old man falling down our chimney, giving us presents and eating all of our cookies and a giant bunny leaving pencils and marshmallow treats at our front doors. And so I ask you, ARE WE ON CRACK?

While these are all traditions most of us have in common (unless you’re jewish), my family had one that until recently I thought everyone shared… the christmas eve pickle.

I moved to New Hampshire from Atlanta when I was 5 years old and returned to Georgia every December to spend Christmas time with my extended family. This was always something that I looked forward to because it meant escaping from the frigid New England winters for a week, watching my grandmas old recordings of Diana Ross and The Supremes and getting the chance to spend time with my family, oh yeah and PRESENTS! I have always been competitive by nature, and I think that has a lot to do with my families yearly christmas tradition between my sister and I.

The Christmas eve tradition in my family was to hide a green ornament shaped as a pickle within the christmas tree and then bring my sister and I back into the room to search for the pickle. My family would call us into the room and we would be unleashed on the unsuspecting tree like a pack of wolves. It was a miracle neither of us ever knocked the tree over. Whoever found the pickle first got to open an awesome present, and whoever lost got to open a present that usually sucked.

Presents rock, theres no doubt about that. and any reason to open a present is fine by me. But it was weird for me to find out that everyone else didn’t do the same thing as my family on christmas eve. I’m sure the christmas eve pickle is part of some kind of observed tradition, but if it’s a religious one, I don’t really want to know.

Crazy or not, I miss spending the holidays with my family. As we get older this seems to happen less and less. Maybe when I have a family of my own I’ll make up my own version of ‘the christmas eve pickle.’ But hopefully I have plenty of time to decide just what that tradition will be.

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