By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Nov 14, 2022 at 6:31 PM

Snuggle up with some holiday cheer as OnMilwaukee shares stories of everything merry and bright in the spirit of the season.

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Hanging a pickle-shaped ornament on the Christmas tree is a tradition for many Milwaukee families. Like St. Nick, it is rooted in a German tradition and because we have such a large German population in Milwaukee, it has been absorbed as a Brew City tradition.

For many families, the pickle is hung last – hidden among the branches – and the first child to find it on St. Nick’s morning or Christmas Day receives a special blessing or gift.

It is believed that the Christmas pickle was imported to the United States from Germany, along with other vegetable-shaped ornaments, and sold at Woolworths in the 1800s. There is much lore around the pickle ornament, including one story that says St. Nick miraculously brought two boys back to life after he found them deceased in a pickle barrel.

I’m sticking with the Woolworths story, K?

Carrie Wisnewski grew up on Milwaukee’s South Side, and her family had a special pickle ornament tradition.

"We always had a pickle ornament on our tree. My dad also used to give me a giant jar of pickles on my birthday every year, which happens to be on St Nick's day," says Wisnewski. "He was the best."

You can pick up a pickle ornament locally at Fischberger’s. And if you are just a pickle lover in general, check out this story about a local pickle maker who puts 'em in pouches.


Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.