Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Charlene Smith
Reporter for Pine Bluffs Post 

Find your pickle


Here's your pickle.

The day after Thanksgiving means limited sleep and excessive spending for some. Others might settle in for a serving of rivalry college football action. And yet, some find their way to the back of their storage room, garage, or tool shed and pull out totes and boxes of Christmas decorations.

When I was a kid, my mom kept the Christmas decorations in the crawl space off one of the extra bedrooms in the basement. I was pretty small when I was little, smaller than most kids. So, it usually fell on me to hoist myself up to the egress window and make my way under the living room floor to find all the red and green and sparkly goodies. The first few years I was given the job, I was sort of scared to go all the way in, so I would reach what I could with my hands and then use a baseball bat to move the rest of the boxes closer to reach.

As I got older, I would sneak down to the basement and crawl through the window a couple of times a year for no reason at all. Mom had this paper mache Santa’s boot from Grandma Schwinkendorf. It had these little boxes wrapped in old fashioned gift paper. It wasn’t that great, wasn’t fancy, but I sure liked seeing it.

Mom also had a little reindeer made out of tree root. And these pillows shaped like Santa’s face. They started showing wear before I was even out of high school. Probably my most favorite Christmas treasure was the dishes. She had these cups shaped like the big guy, and plates to match.

But every year, the decorations would come out the weekend after Thanksgiving. And usually go in the same spot as the previous year.

I only lived in one house after I turned four, but unlike my mother’s, my Christmas decorations have moved locations a few times. But I find it funny that no matter what house, the main bathroom gets the snowmen, and the front door gets the hanging Santa, and the pillows have their specific couches they go on. I didn’t consciously realize this until this past weekend when my second son told his sisters they put a Santa in the wrong place.

There must be 10 totes full of Christmas decorations for our house. We have two totes just of village houses and people. My first daughter asked if she could “engineer” the village this year. I said sure, knowing the houses, cars and people would be relocated many times through the season.

She put the skaters and two fishermen in the middle of main street. Two Cowboy Pete’s were added to the village to represent my oldest now living away from home. But my daughter thought the home uniformed Pete should hang on the tree by the pickle so he could “find his way home.”

The village is probably the second most sought after decorating duty. Hanging the pickle would be the first. There is a German tradition of hanging a crystal green pickle on your tree. On Christmas Eve Santa Claus will hide the pickle on the tree and the first person to find it can open the first gift.

But from thanksgiving weekend until Christmas Eve, that pickle gets moved more than the second hand on a clock. My oldest came home from college last year and headed right to the tree to find and move the pickle. The baby of the family woke up the first morning after the house was decorated this year and said, “Tonight will we have time for me to move the pickle?”

As I age, I know there is nothing special about a boot, a pillow, dishes or even a crystal pickle. It’s what we invest in those items and who is with us. Just think how much fun it’d be hiding and finding a pickle by yourself. So, ny Christmas wish to you is this — may your village have much traffic and new people, and may your pickle be found often.


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