Now in its 50th year Christingle is a celebratory event that takes place in thousands of churches and schools across the country. It raises vital funds that help us continue our work supporting young people 

A Christingle candle

The celebrations is named after the Christingles that are lit during the service. Christingles are made from an orange decorated with red tape, sweets and a candle. 

Christingles may be held from the start of Advent to Candlesmas, with Christmas Eve a particularly popular time for services.

The symbolism of Christingle

Each piece of the 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? 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.  The service usually 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 for children and families and can be enjoyed by people of all ages – especially 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

This year is a very special one for Christingle as it is 50 years since the first service in England at Lincoln Cathedral on 7 December 1968. But Christingles themselves actually go back much further, and began in the Moravian Church in Germany. At a children’s service in Marienborn in 1947, 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 join in with Christingle in this special anniversary year?