Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Crafts

Well, folks.  The holidays are upon us once again, and I don't know about you, but for me, this time of year is intrinsically linked with crafting.  I loved cutting out paper snowflakes, and a good portion of the ornaments on our tree were handmade - if not by me then by some friend or family member.  I made popcorn garlands with my grandma and helped Mom wrap presents, which is an art form all its own, I think.

As I grew older and craftier, I started making gifts.  One year I handmade all of my gifts - which was quite labor intensive and a bit stressful, but also very rewarding.

This year, we're making Secret Santa gifts.  After some consideration, we decided on ornaments.  One thing we always have on hand is polymer clay, so that's what we'll be using.  The recipient is fond of snowmen, so we'll be making one of those.  And because we love to pass along the fun, we'll also be making a Christmas pickle.

Like this one that I made last year:

Now, I know what you're thinking.  What on earth does a pickle have to do with Christmas?  

Honestly?  I don't know.  And neither does anyone else, it seems.  It's a bit of a mystery.  The story is that the tradition originated in Germany of hiding a pickle order somewhere amidst the branches of the Christmas tree.  On Christmas Eve, everyone would hunt for the pickle and whoever found it first would have especially good luck throughout the following year - or in some versions of the story, they would get a special gift.  

But apparently, according to a lot of actual Germans, there is no such tradition.  The whole thing may very well have been made up by some kookie person trying to sell glass pickles, for some reason.  

However it originated, hunting the pickle has been a tradition in my family since I first learned about it - and made my first pickle ornament - in the fifth grade.  Having the pickle hunt to look forward to made Christmas Eve that much more fun.  

Long story short, I love the pickle.  It's very special to me, and I look forward to passing on the fun to another family this year.  

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