Christingle is a celebratory event that takes place in thousands of churches and schools across the country, raising funds that help us continue our work supporting young people 

A Christingle candle

Christingle celebrations are named after the Christingles that are lit during the service. Christingles are made from an orange decorated with red tape, sweets and a candle. Find out more about the meaning of each element of the Christingle below. 

The symbolism of Christingle

Each piece of the Christingle holds special symbolism to help children understand  the importance of Jesus and the Gospel, and its relevance at Christmas time.  

  • 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? Watch our handy tutorial video and learn how to make your own. 

The symbolism of christingle

What happens at a Christingle celebration?

From traditional services to outdoor events, street parades and Messy Christingles, there is no one way to hold a Christingle celebration.  Some common aspects of the services include prayers, readings, hymns or carols and a collection in support of our work – not to mention the all important lighting of the Christingles, a moment filled with awe and wonder for all.

Because Christingle was specifically created with children in mind, the celebrations are the perfect event to take children along to, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages – even if they don’t regularly attend church.  

By taking part in Christingle, you too can enjoy the warmth and vibrancy of this wonderful celebration and play a key part in transforming the lives of thousands of children.

 

The history of Christingle

Christingle 1968 poster

Although Christingles have been taking place in England for nearly 50 years, the idea of the Christingle actually began in Marienborn, Germany in 1747. At a children’s service, 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. This was a lighted candle wrapped in a red ribbon. At the end of the service, whilst the children held their candles, the bishop said the prayer, ‘Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these children's hearts that theirs like thine become.’

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, 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. 

Want to know more about how it all began? Read our historian's blog on the more than 260 years of Christingle.