10 Myths About Christmas

Germans Always Put Pickle Ornaments on their Trees
The pickle myth may have come about around the same time glass ornaments were first manufactured. isifa/Getty Images News/Getty Images

You might have noticed that most ornament stores carry glass pickles. Ever wonder why? The popular story is that the pickles are part of a very old German tradition that went like this: On Christmas Eve in Germany, parents hid glass pickle ornaments deep within the fragrant branches of their trees, once all of the other ornaments were in place. The next morning, the first child to find the pickle ornament got an extra gift from St. Nicholas, while the first adult to find it (not counting the ones who hid it) would have good luck for the next year [source: German Pulse]. Not too shabby!

Unfortunately, this cute tale is a myth. Most Germans say they've never heard of this practice, and it's definitely not a tradition. That's pretty good intel. But the tale has more flaws. In Germany, as in many European countries, St. Nick traditionally delivers his gifts on the night of Dec. 5, not on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is also the day German kids normally open their presents, not Christmas Day. So how did this story become so well-entrenched? It's still a mystery. Glass ornaments were being produced in Germany in the 16th century, and by the 19th century some Germans were crafting fruit- and nut-shaped ornaments. But that's about as close as we can get to figuring it out [source: German Pulse].