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Bird Nests: A Cheerful Christmas Tradition

Merry Christmas! At The Olde Christmas Shoppe we are always on the lookout for the most interesting festive traditions new and old, and we are in LOVE with the little-known Christmas tradition of putting a bird’s nest in your tree branches! Adding a little bird’s nest to your home, perhaps filled with little birds and tiny eggs, would bring any rustic Christmas theme to the next level with truly natural elements and transform your Christmas tree to one straight from a storybook forest. Since we love the look of this idea so much, we decided to take a deep dive and find out exactly where this wee tradition comes from and why people have taken to adding birds nests to their holiday decorating…

Bird nest christmas tradition
Photo by Luke Brugger on Unsplash

This Christmas tradition originated in Europe, as many of our Christmas traditions do, seemingly in either Iceland or Germany. The addition of birds’ nests to our Christmas tree decorations comes from the old folklore that when a person found a nest in a tree on their property, at any time of the year, this was a sign of prosperity on the horizon for their household – after all, the lovingly built nest of a bird is symbolic of hearth and home, and all of the hard work and love that goes into building a safe and happy family, all of which are the things which the festive season truly celebrates to the fullest! So what better decorating tradition to adopt in 2022 and bring a little good luck your way for the new year ahead? Just take care if you do find a real nest on your property as it’s likely very important to a little birdie or two, or three, or four…

Bonus Christmas Tradition

While we were researching the origins of the bird’s nest at Christmas time, we came across another very interesting and seemingly luck-bringing Christmas tradition from across the pond: the mysteriously wonderful Christmas pickle! Nobody is quite sure why this tradition has become so popular in the USA, nor are we even sure of its exact origins: we know that retail chain Woolworths began selling curious pickle-shaped ornaments for the festive period in the 1880s and some then claimed that the pickle was an old German tradition, but there is little to no evidence to support this claim. However, the pickle game that then gained traction is now firmly rooted in Christmas canon and is certainly a whimsical way to kick off the Christmas festivities…

 On Christmas Eve, one person in a gathering should hide an ornament in the shape of a pickled gherkin on the tree, and so the hunt begins. The first person to find the Christmas pickle that evening is then blessed with some form of good fortune: if an adult of the party should find it, they will be granted prosperity in the new year, while a younger winner might well find themselves with an extra present from Saint Nick the following morning. Either way, this unusual Christmas tradition seems to be a lucky one and what a fun and silly way to pass the time on Christmas Eve!

We hope you’ve enjoyed these Christmas discoveries – and remember, we are always on the lookout for any and all festive knowledge from around the globe! For more of these fun facts and some inspiration to help create your own Christmas traditions, be sure to check out our previous blog on giving the Gift of Tradition.


‘The Christmas Pickle’s History’ , WhyChristmas

‘This Is What It Means When You See a Bird’s Nest Ornament on a Christmas Tree’, Country Living

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