The German Bride's Tree Tradition

Christmas Decorations
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A lovely tradition from Germany is the Bride's Tree. It is believed that a married couple's Christmas tree needs twelve specific ornaments for happiness in their life journey together. Each ornament symbolizes a different hope or blessing for the new couple.

The Twelve Bride's Tree Ornaments and What They Symbolize

  • Fish: represents Christ's blessing, as well as fertility.
  • Teapot: represents hospitality.
  • Bird: symbolizes joy, happiness, and the Holy Spirit. If the bird is in a nest, then it represents confidence in the cottage or home.
  • Angel or Church: is a symbol of God's guidance.
  • Rabbit: reflects hope and peace with nature.
  • Fruit Basket: symbolizes generosity and plenty.
  • Heart: is a symbol of true love and love in the home.
  • Pine Cone: represents fruitfulness, eternity, motherhood, and fertility.
  • Flower Basket: symbolizes good wishes or beauty in the home.
  • Rose: is a symbol of affection and the Virgin Mary. A yellow rose symbolizes faithfulness in the marriage.
  • House: represents protection or family shelter.
  • Santa: is a symbol of goodwill, giving and sharing.

Where to Buy

Finding a bride's tree ornament collection can be difficult, but this lovely collection is available from Amazon. If you're having trouble finding a full set, try searching for each ornament individually. Around Christmas, many seasonal shops sell a large variety of ornaments.

These stores can be great for putting together your own ornament collection. Websites like Etsy and eBay are also great places to look for unique ornaments. If you plan to order online, make sure to start your shopping well before the holiday rush to avoid any shipping delays.

More Ornament Suggestions for a Couple's Christmas Tree

  • Glass Carrot: represents good luck in the kitchen.
  • Star: symbolizes guidance.
  • Boat: is representative of a couple sailing across the waters of life, both rough and smooth.
  • Colored balls: symbolize the diversity of our world.
  • Paper chains or garlands: show that we're all bound together.
  • Lights: show how the love of God is reflected in a couple's love for one another.
  • Grape: is a symbol of friendship or of sharing a glass of wine.
  • Bell: represents joy and merriment.

The Glass Pickle

Another fun German Christmas tradition which has become even more popular in the United States is the Christmas pickle. It should be the last ornament hung on the tree. On Christmas Eve, parents are supposed to hide the pickle somewhere on the tree. The child who discovered the pickle ornament would receive a special gift from St. Nicholas for being so observant. Finding the pickle is also thought to be a sign of good luck to come in the new year.

While this tradition has gone out of fashion in Germany, Americans are keeping it alive. Berrien Springs, Michigan is known as the Christmas pickle capital of the world. They even held an annual pickle parade from 1992 to 2003. It should be no surprise that the town is also known for its cucumber production.