Posted: 07 December 2018

Celebrating 50 years since our first ever Christingle

Today is the 50th anniversary of our first ever Christingle. To celebrate, we talked to Elisabeth Forbes who remembers our very first Christingle in Lincoln Cathedral back in 1968.

Elizabeth, daughter of a vicar, remembers her father holding a Christingle in the early 70s. She has been carrying on the family tradition for the past 30 years. 

FIND YOUR NEAREST CHRISTINGLE

Tell us about your early experiences with Christingle.

My father was a vicar and had two Children’s Society’s homes in his parish. I used to go and help there when I was a student. My father told me about the first Christingle and then he held one in his church in the 70s. People had no idea what it was when I first did it, but they loved it! 

'People had no idea what it was...but they loved it.'

I find it quite therapeutic now. I’ve been doing it for so long I could do it in my sleep, and it’s worth it.

What's the best part of Christingle?

The best part of it for me is seeing the children’s faces. I used to hide the Christingles under a cloth, the choir sings and then the children come up to collect the Christingles. Their faces just light up when they see the candles and the sweets. 

What's your most memorable Christingle moment?

One year I made a mock orange out of papier-mâché and the children came up and stuck things on it. Another time we made paper chains that went all around the school. When my husband was in the army, I got oranges flown over from Cyprus with the leaves still on. My husband was posted there, so when he flew home for Christmas they put a crate of oranges on the plane with him!

Why should people attend a Christingle?

Christingle won’t make anyone feel uncomfortable, even if you don’t come regularly to church. It’s lovely to see all the families in church, it reminds me of when I was a child and it helps bring the wider community together.

'It brings the wider community together'

Of course, it also helps support the work of The Children's Society. I think The Children’s Society’s greatest strength is that it changes with the needs of young people. It’s great you are working with trafficked children for example, because that is what’s needed today.

FIND YOUR NEAREST CHRISTINGLE

By Elizabeth Forbes
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