My husband is notorious in our family as a lover of pickles. He is a particular pickle lover – he only prefers peppery pickles. Sorry, couldn’t resist the alliterations! Anyway, we received a pickle ornament some time back because of my husband’s well-known passion for pickles (I may or may not stop). Attached to our pickle ornament was a story of a pickle tradition in which a pickle ornament is hidden on a Christmas tree for children to find. The first child to find the pickle receives a prize. In the years following we have started to do this tradition with our kids. And our kids LOVE it! It is one of the only traditions for the holidays our kids discuss the moment we get the tree out of storage.
I hesitate to ruin the tradition before it gets started in your home, but the “story” of the “pickle tradition” is completely false. It was actually created by someone hoping to capture some of the Christmas cash flowing out of homes each year. But that is not to say the story and its tradition are not FUN!! We still do it even though it really isn’t a tradition of old. It is fun to play a game of hide and seek – with a prize to boot!
And the search for the pickle is HARD! It is so hard that we actually left a pickle in our tree one year and I couldn’t find it to hide it again! We had to buy another pickle ornament because I thought we had lost our previous pickle. Then on Christmas morning after all the presents were opened and the pickle search commenced – the first pickle was located before the second pickle!! Now we have two to search for – which works better with four kids, I suppose.
Creating a pickle tradition in your home is as easy as locating a pickle ornament, placing it on the tree, and encouraging your children to find it. The incentive of a prize is welcome encouragement for the kids, too. Since it is that easy to do, the hardest part is coming up with an appropriate pickle prize. I prefer to come up with a gift that is fun for the whole family. Only one person can be the first to find the pickle, but everyone can enjoy the prize! I try to keep the price point for our pickle present under $10. Allow me to suggest some of these fun ideas.
Slamwich – This is our prize for this year – a game everyone can play! I played this years ago with kids I babysat and I know my kids are going to LOVE this!!
Perler beads – I know the groans this suggestion must elicit. But these tiny beads are such fun for fine motor skill building. My girls will build Perler creations for HOURS!
Uno – Another simple card game for the whole family. So fun!!
A Christmas movie – W fell in love with Home Alone a couple of years ago, so she had me add it to this list. She looks forward to watching it every year. I can’t wait to cuddle up with her this Christmas to sip hot cocoa and watch it!
Jenga – who says you have to play this game by the rules? Our kids can play this even if they aren’t “old enough.” They just turn the blocks into buildings – hours of fun for little ones on Christmas morning.
Little People Lift the Flap books – these books are such a hit around here that my early elementary kids are still fascinated by them. They enjoy lifting the flaps just as much as my preschoolers. And now that they are old enough to read, they can lead them through the books.
A simple Science Kit – for the older kids, with supervision – this can be a fun way to pass the day together.