Monday, December 17, 2007
The first time I spent a Christmas in Germany with Emily and family, I learned about the pickle tradition. A pickle ornament is concealed somewhere in the tree. The child who finds it receives an extra gift. In both my own children and family of origin, this custom would have resulted in another custom: The Trashing of the Tree, along with sundry minor injuries to family pets or whatever living creatures got in the way. It is not that we are a greedy lot, just a tad competitive - all in the spirit of this holy season. of course.
In Akron for the past four years, a group of German craftsmen (and women, naturally) have set up a Chriskindl (that's the way THEY spell it, the former godless commie pinkos; the merchants are from Chemnitz a former East German city. Letters to the editor have noted this.) Markt downtown. It is a great holiday happening, and has become a very popular Christmas event. Their wares range from glass blown ornaments, wooden toys, sugared almonds, Stollen, Bratwurst, beer (no Gluhwein this year)and lots of heavy German food - Kartoffeln (potatoes), sauerkraut. There are musicians, ice skaters and singers.
All this leads to my pickle, which I purchased there last year. There is no small child to search for it, so I hang it right out there. If a small child shows up, perhaps I shall conceal it in the prickly branches and watch the little tad get all scratched up. All in the spirit of the season, of course.