It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.

Author Unknown

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Chapter 12, Page 13, Book 08

The Pickle Tradition

In old world Germany, the pickle ornament was the last ornament that parents hung on the tree on Christmas Eve. In the morning, the first child to find the pickle, received an extra gift to open and is the first to unwrap his or her gifts

At Christmastime, children play an essential part in our celebrations. So much of what we do is intended to please them--and all the while our hearts keep hearkening back to the Christmas memories of our own childhoods.

On Christmas Eve, sometimes we can't help but envy our children the stars in their eyes, especially when our own eyes are dull with exhaustion. Christmas is so much simpler for a child. Can we open our tired, adult eyes to that same simplicity?


Have you ever spent loads of money on an expensive toy for your child only to discover that they had more fun playing with the box it came in than the toy itself? I know I have. Children can take the simplest thing and enjoy it.
We had one of those pickle ornaments mentioned above, that hung hidden in the Christmas tree each year. What fun they all had attacking the tree Christmas morning. Everyone wanted to be the first to open a gift. It is up in the attic now with all the rest of the decorations. A few years ago I began using a tiny pre-lit tree so I don’t decorate a tree anymore. I often miss those days, but now all I have is treasures in the attic.
So I’m counting my blessings today because I do have those good memories. They are treasures for sure!



On Christmas Eve, a young boy with light in his eyes

Looked deep into Santa’s, to Santa’s surprise

And said as he sat on Santa’s broad knee,

"I want your secret.

Tell it to me."

He leaned up and whispered in Santa’s good ear"

How do you do it, year after year?"

"I want to know how, as you travel about,

Giving gifts here and there, you never run out.

How is it, dear Santa, that in your pack of toys

You have plenty for all of the world’s girls and boys?

Stays so full, never empties,

as you make your way

From rooftop to rooftop,

to homes large and small,

From nation to nation, reaching them all?"

And Santa smiled kindly and said to the boy,

"Don’t ask me hard questions.

Don’t you want a toy?"

But the child shook his head, and Santa could see

That he needed the answer. "Now listen to me,"

He told that small boy with the light in his eyes,

"My secret will make you sadder and wise.

"The truth is that my sack is magic inside

It holds millions of toys for my Christmas Eve ride.

But although I do visit each girl and each boy

I don’t always leave them a gaily wrapped toy.

Some homes are hungry, some homes are sad,

Some homes are desperate,

some homes are bad.

Some homes are broken,

and the children there grieve.

Those homes I visit, but what should I leave?"

My sleigh is filled with the happiest stuff,

But for homes where despair lives toys aren’t enough.

So I tiptoe in, kiss each girl and boy,

And I pray with them that they’ll be given the joy

Of the spirit of Christmas, the spirit that lives

In the heart of the dear child who gets not, but gives.

"If only God hears me and answers my prayer,

When I visit next year, what I will find there

Are homes filled with peace,

and with giving,and love

And boys and girls gifted with light from above.

It’s a very hard task,

my smart little brother,

To give toys to some, and to give prayers to others.

But the prayers are the best gifts,

the best gifts indeed,

For God has a way of meeting each person’s need.

"That’s part of the answer.

The rest, my dear youth,

Is that my sack is magic.

And that is the truth.In my sack

I carry on Christmas Eve day

More love than a Santa could ever give away.

The sack never empties of love, or of joys

`Cause inside it are prayers, and hope.

Not just toys.

The more that I give, the fuller it seems,

Because giving is my way of fulfilling dreams.

"And do you know something?

You’ve got a sack, too.

It’s as magic as mine, and it’s inside of you.

It never gets empty, it’s full from the start.

It’s the center of light, and love.

It’s your heart.

And if on this Christmas you want to help me,

Don’t be so concerned with the gifts `neath your tree.

Open that sack called your heart, and share

Your joy, your friendship,

your wealth, your care."

The light in the small boy’s eyes was glowing.

"Thanks for your secret.

I’ve got to be going."

"Wait, little boy," said Santa, "don’t go.

Will you share? Will you help?

Will you use what you know?"

And just for a moment the small boy stood still,

Touched his heart with his small hand and whispered,

"I will."



‘On Ya’-ma

Christmas day is a day of joy and charity.
May God make you very rich in both

Phillips Brooks


Hollie said...

I like the pickle story. I have never heard that one. Thanks for sharing. I loved the story of the "secret" too. I have bought a very expensive gift before & Colt loved the box or even the wrapping paper when he was very small. What wonderful memories. Enjoy your day & I hope you get everything you wanted to do done today. I'm off to work. HUGS:)

Adirondackcountrygal said...

I saw a pickle ornament at Pier One store. If I had known the tradition I would of got one. Afraid the more exuberant child would knock the tree over or break ornaments however.

Alice said...

The box was always so much fun and I bet it still is. I remember a small refrigerator box the kids just loved until it was worn out. A simple thing like the pickle game should tell us something :)......

Jeannette said...

I have never heard of the pickle ornament, certainly something we do not have over here. That was such a lovely poem about Santa, it brought tears to my eyes.

Joan said...

What a lovely poem about Santa it was a joy to read. We have a prelit fibre optic tree now too it is so much easier for hubby ha ha but it as taken all afternoon today as it was not sparkling right and it was sitting squint too . Love Joan

Ken Riches said...

We have a mini-pickle ornament :o)

It is amazing how entertained kids can be with simple things. I think this would be a good time for all of us to be back to a simpler time.

Anonymous said...

LOL...I had never heard of the pickle ornament...that must have been a fun time...and like you my memories of Christmas past are in boxes in the attic...but not all as dau and her children use see..hubby and I have the apt on the back of the house..the grands and Mom have the we all can live together..but we all need our space ... right??? all your stories and poems sure do brighten and lighten a day..thanks so much ... God Bless...hugs..Ora

Linda :) said...

Have a Blessed Sunday!
and keep warm.... :)

Linda said...

I love the part you wrote about the meaning of Peace. I love that meaning. Linda

betty said...

My daughter got some pickle ornaments one year and I learned the tradition of them; such a cute one for sure!

I liked the description of peace; that was awesome!!

take care of yourself