Shine the light this festive season by bringing your families and communities together in a Christingle celebration. 

Christingle characters together

A christingle celebration is a warm, joyful occasion that brings people together to help spread the message of hope. Services can take place anywhere and everywhere, from large cathedrals to the comfort of your own home. Christingles are made with an orange decorated with red tape, sweets on cocktail sticks and a candle in the middle, which is lit at the end of a service to spread a magical glow around everyone, symbolising Jesus’s light in the world. Events are easy to organise (with the help of our many resources) and are remembered for years to come.

We know now more than ever, spreading hope has never been more crucial, which is why we encourage people to hold Christingle celebrations in any way they feel comfortable and safe. Christingle has always been about bringing people together and but at times like these, we realise this might not be possible for many people who still want to shine the light, which is why we’ve created plenty of new resources to support you however you choose to christingle.

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How Christingle helps children and young people

We ask those who celebrate Christingle to hold a collection on behalf of The Children’s Society to help support children and young people living in the darkest situations. The money you raise can help connect young people to our life-changing services, and rekindle the hope inside them.

Last year, over 5000 Christingle celebrations were held across the country raising over £1.2 million. The generosity and support shown at Christingle services is overwhelming and every year we are reminded of the compassionate and kind-hearted Christinglers that help light up the lives of vulnerable young people across the country.

The symbolism of Christingle

Each element of a Christingle has a special meaning and helps to tell the Christian story:

  • The orange represents the world
  • The red ribbon (or tape) symbolises the love and blood of Christ
  • The sweets and dried fruit represent all of God’s creations
  • The lit candle represents Jesus’s light in the world, bringing hope to people living in darkness.

Want to have a go at making a Christingle? Follow our guide on making a Christingle in a few easy steps.

The symbolism of Christingle

What happens at a Christingle celebration?

There is no one way to hold a Christingle celebration. From large gatherings in churches, schools and community halls to intimate events at home, outdoors and sometimes even forests – it doesn’t matter where your service takes place, as long as everyone comes together to shine the light of Christ. It is always atmospheric and joyful at a Christingle celebration, with people typically singing Christmas carols, sharing hopeful messages, coming together in prayer and most importantly, having fun.

At the end of the service, each person takes a Christingle and the candles are all lit to create a warm, magical glow symbolising the light of Christ and bringing hope to people living in darkness. It’s truly an event that people remember for years.

The history of Christingle

Christingle celebrations have been taking place for over 50 years. The first service for The Children’s Society was held at Lincoln Cathedral on 7 December 1968, but Christingles themselves actually go back much further. The first ever one began in a Moravian church in Germany, at a children’s service in Marienborn in 1747, where Bishop Johannes de Watteville looked for a simple way to explain the happiness that had come to people through Jesus. He decided to give the children a symbol to do this.

In 1968, John Pensom of The Children's Society adapted Christingle and introduced it to the Church of England. This involved children decorating an orange with a red ribbon, dried fruits and sweets, and a candle to create a new visual representation of Christ, the light of the world, celebrated by the lighting of the Christingle candles.

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