Milwaukee's Christmas Pickle Tradition
So many German holiday traditions are on display at Milwaukee's newest tradition, the Christkindlmarket on the Fiserv Forum plaza. That includes the weinachtsgurke or the Christmas pickle.
They've got more Christmas pickles than any other kind of ornament in the Kathe Wohlfahrt tent at the market.
According to the story, it's an old German tradition:
"The story of the pickle is that you put it on a Christmas tree." said shopper Andrea Migliaccio
"It's the last ornament to go on the tree. It's hidden in the tree." explained Janet Yuhas of Kathe Wohlfahrt.
"Supposedly the child that finds it gets a special treat or toy the next day." continued Annette Gehm-Belling.
But there's a bit of schnitzel in that story.
"I had German parents," Gehm-Belling said. "And we never had a pickle on our tree. But we have one now."
Apparently, most actual Germans living in Germany have never heard of it. A 2016, New York Times article quoted a survey that 91% of Germans had no idea what the pickle was.
"From what I've heard, it's not really a German tradition, it's more of a Milwaukee tradition." said Gehm-Belling
Or, maybe, at least a German-American tradition.