The celebration is named after the Christingles that are lit during the celebration. Christingles are made from an orange decorated with red tape, sweets and a candle. They have been part of our history for the last 50 years.We ask those who celebrate Christingle to hold a collection to support children and young people in the darkest situations imaginable.
It’s easy to organise a Christingle wherever you want, they’re an atmospheric and joyful occasion that people remember for years. Christingles are usually held from the start of December to Christmas (Advent to Candlemas), with Christmas Eve a particularly popular time for services.
Large or small, whatever your venue, you can celebrate Christingle in a way that suits your community. A Christingle celebration is an opportunity to bring your whole community together, to share the share the light with the Christingles.
How Christingle helps children and young people
We ask those who celebrate Christingle to hold a collection for our work helping children and young people in the darkest situations imaginable. Join over one million people sharing the light of Christingle.
Last year more than 6,000 celebrations raised almost £1.3 million to light up the lives of children and young people between the ages of 10 and 18.
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? Watch our tutorial video of how to make a 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 celebration is an atmospheric and joyful occasion that people remember for years. People typically sing Christmas carols and talk about hopeful messages. Or you can prayer, have readings or hymns, but really as long as you have fun, you can celebrate Christingle however you like.
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.
Making the most of your celebration
Christingle is a great opportunity to get everyone together for an even bigger celebration.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Involve your whole community by holding multiple Christingles.
- Build a Christingle time capsule to open at a future Christingle anniversary!
- Hide a golden Christingle among some of the orange ones, with prizes for those who find them (your very own version of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket!).
- Try a record attempt eg how many Christingles can you make in 10 minutes?
- Let your community know where your event is.
The history of Christingle
Last year was a very special one for Christingle as it was 50 years since the first Christingle service for The Children's Society was held in this country, 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 1747, 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, 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.