As we did when I was growing up, after all the presents were opened, the kids would search for the Christmas pickle. The reward was the satisfaction of knowing you found it first. That was good enough for us.
Nowadays, there seems to be a need for a prize. So, it's simply a piece of candy or a very small gift. Historically, the finder would receive either a reward or good fortune for the following year.
According to Wikipedia, "There are a number of different origin stories attributed to the tradition, but it was primarily thought to have originated in Germany. This has since been disproved and is now thought to be an American tradition from the late 19th century."
In fact, the tradition is largely unknown in Germany. It has been suggested that the origin of the Christmas pickle may have been developed for marketing purposes in the 1890s to coincide with the importation of glass Christmas tree decorations from Germany.
This year, I didn't put the pickle ornaments on the tree. I had them ready to go, but with all the health challenges with my Mom and Christmas Day feeling rather disjointed because of visiting her in the hospital, I completely forgot to hang up the ornaments.
It was in the taking down of the tree that Olivia reminded me about the pickle ornaments, and that she and Sophia needed to find the ornaments before all the other ones were removed and put away for the year.
So, on went the Christmas lights on a very dry and past-its-prime Christmas tree. The girls stood ready a few feet from the tree. I announced, "On your mark...get set...GO!" and off they went searching for the pickle ornaments.
Within a few minutes, both ornaments were found.
I thought I had hid them well...apparently they are getting better at this game as they get older. Next year: I'm really going to nestle those ornaments in the branches. Perhaps it will help too when the tree is fuller and less dried out.
Nonetheless...it was interesting to see how important some traditions are and how doing them is so meaningful to Sophia and Olivia.