Decking the halls with holiday pickles

Family traditions make celebrating holidays more meaningful

By Kelsey Flynn |

My favorite part of Christmas morning is running downstairs with my sister and waiting for my Dad to finish hiding “the pickle”.

Every year for as long as I can remember my family has had this tradition. My Mom grew up in a German area of Wisconsin and most of her friends had a pickle ornament that they would have to find in the Christmas tree. My mom wanted to be like her friends had her parents start this tradition and now mine does it as well. Pickle ornaments are not the easiest to find.

When I was little we went to England and my grandma and mom found our pickle ornament there.

Every Christmas since then before we open presents my dad will hide the pickle in our tree. My sister and I come into the room after it is hidden and race to find the pickle. This is a lot harder than it seems. The ornament is almost the same color as the tree, and my dad strives to make us look for almost an hour. The person to find the pickle first gets to open the first Christmas present. The tradition, as silly as it is, is one of my favorite memories, and something I look forward to every year.

My family does have other traditions that we participate in during Christmas. We almost always spend Christmas morning and Christmas Eve at our own house and travel late on Christmas Day. Every year on Christmas Eve we attend midnight mass and open our first present. It is now tradition that I always choose the smallest present I can find, but my sister always opens the biggest. My mom does the cooking if we are at our house and we have the same meal every year: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls, and I make an apple pie.

Every year before we eat, my dad always says the prayer “Our Father.” My family is Catholic and we also celebrate St. Nicholas Day which is December 6. The next morning when we wake up, St. Nicholas has come to our house and put a present in each of our stockings. That day is also my dad’s birthday and that weekend we go and pick out our Christmas tree. My mom, my sister and I then decorate it together while, of course, playing Christmas music.

Holidays have always been my favorite part of the year. Even as a little girl, I loved and looked forward to any holiday, not because of presents or great food, but because of the time I spent with my immediate and extended family. Most of the time my family is busy, and my extended family lives around the country. Holidays are the only time during the year that spend we spend 100 percent of our time with each other.

While my family loves stupid traditions and we have a lot of them, I think this helps my family to bond and they are always my favorite memories of any holiday.

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