Here is a fantastic story I heard the other night while binge watching Hallmark Christmas movies. Hindsight I should have written down the name of the movie that made reference to the pickle. The story the actress told was that this tradition originated in Germany. Well, I am geeky enough that I stopped the movie and proceeded to look up on the internet stories about Christmas pickles. From what I read no one can truly pin point when this tradition started or from what country. At this point it does not matter any longer. I loved the story and am now starting this tradition in my home and sharing this with the rest of my family. We have already bought the pickle ornament. This is one of the stories I found on the internet on the Christmas pickle
The story goes like this. When you set up your tree the last ornament to go on the tree is the Christmas pickle. You want to hide the pickle really well so that it takes everyone a while to find the pickle. The person who finds the pickle receives a small gift. It really builds the excitement for giving and receiving of gifts at Christmas. Why a pickle you ask, I have no idea. Due to it being so unusual only adds to the fun. Now I am on the search for the perfect surprise gift to give the person who finds the pickle. What to get? Hmmm..
Speaking of traditions, I am big on traditions. I believe traditions no matter how big or how small are important to do them with the family. They create a bonding with the family. It creates something that you look forward to every holiday. The simplest thing such as the Christmas pickle or putting your shoes under the Christmas tree, or outside the bedroom doors on December 6th. Others might be putting all your Christmas decorations up the day of or the weekend right after Thanksgiving. All traditions are important. Do not skip on them. They do not need to be expensive. I would suggest that you do them. Keep a record of them. A suggestion I have is that your create a holiday notebook for each of your children. Record each tradition that you do every year. Take tons of pictures also of the tradition. Then as a final gift to each of your children you gift them the notebook of traditions to help them start their own traditions building off of yours. Some of your traditions may be handed down from your parents and grandparents. I included a section on holiday recipes also. This is a much loved gift when your child leaves home.
One tradition we do in my house is put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving. I did not always decorate it that weekend. I put up the tree and the lights on the tree. I would decorate the tree and the whole house when the kids went to school on Monday and when they came home the whole house was decorated. They were so excited to come home from school on the day they knew I would be decorating. The next part would be baking. I tried to bring in our nationalities into the decorating and foods. In Norway they start baking in the beginning of December. One of the reasons for this is giving out a tray of cookies to guests and friends. On this tray of cookies there needs to be 7 different kinds of cookies. Now I have to admit that I did not always make the 7 different kinds of cookies because some of the cookies take a good deal of time. I did find that my children and my friends look forward to these cookies every year. I will start this weekend making Krumkake cookies. Krumkakers are thin waffle-like cookies made in a special iron, and then rolled into a cone while they’re still piping hot. The iron I learned to cook these cookies was cast iron and you could only do one cookie at a time. Took forever and the cookies were eaten as fast as I could make them. I will include all the cookie recipes for you if you wish to try some of the cookies. Another cookie is the Fattigman cookies. As with many of the Scandinavian cookies you need a special cutter to cut these cookies out. Fattigmann cookies are simple to make but the rewards are great. You roll this dough out like you would for sugar cookies and cut them in long ribbons and then cut them again into smaller pieces and you cut a slit in the middle of each one and twist one end trough the cut in the middle of the cookie, then you fry them. You do not have to be perfect with these. While on the cookie sheet your sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar.
I also love to use only white lights on my tree and all the lights used inside and outside of the house. This is a very European thing to do. In my travels I had only see Americans use color as much as they do. But, that is my observation not that this is a fact. I also use candles every where I can. I love the feel of candles and using a fireplace during the holidays. Feel more home to me. I have candles all over they house. I use battery operated candles that have a remote control that I can set. I have the candles come on and go off every day at the same time. I even have my holiday lights on timers so it is almost like magic when everything starts to come on in the house while you are busy doing the baking. Most of these pictures are from Thanksgiving. I am in the process of decorating for Christmas.
Another cookie is the Fattigman cookies. As with many of the Scandinavian cookies you need a special cutter to cut these cookies out.
Another of our favorites is on Christmas eve doing a Smorgasbord for dinner. I love cooking Scandinavian food with a focus on Norwegian and I try to include this in all holidays. It is great because it is a buffet style of meal. Not so much as a sit down meal. In our family we open presents on Christmas eve and eat Scandinavian foods in a Smörgåsbord. A Smörgåsbord is a buffet style of eating and mostly open faced sandwiches and salads and fruit and soups etc. Christmas music playing and family if possible. Even thought my children are grown up and have kids of their own I will continue doing this with traditions until I am no longer able to do all the work.
More coming in family traditions, decorating, gifts and food. I look forward to hearing from you on your traditions and suggestions of things you would like to hear about or learn.