A Simple and Meaningful Christmas Tradition - The Christingle

faith inspiration parenting Dec 17, 2022


The idea of Christingles came from a Moravian Church in Germany in 1747 when minister John de Watteville gave children at the service a lighted candle with a red ribbon around it. He explained that this represented Jesus being the light of the world and the final prayer of that first service was "Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these children’s hearts, that theirs like Thine become".

Moravian missionaries brought the tradition to the Church of England in the late 1700's and the Christingle was later made more popular in the UK by John Pensom in 1948 at Lincoln Cathedral.

The tradition is often observed either the Sunday before Christmas or on Christmas Eve.

Over the years the symbolism of the Christingle grew into what's known as a Christingle today. What does it represent?

  • The orange represents earth.
  • The candle gives light to the darkness, just as the love of God and Jesus himself does. (The foil is only there to catch waxy drips from the candle.)
  • The red ribbon goes all around the 'world', symbolizing the blood Jesus shed when he died for us. (Sometimes in Moravian Churches a white ribbon is used, to represent the purity of Jesus.)
  • The four sticks point in all directions and symbolize all corners of the world -- North, South, East and West.
  • The fruit or sweets represent God's gifts to the world, and remind us of his kindness and love


People speculate that the word Christingle could have come from several sources. It might be

  • an 'English' version of 'Christkindl' (meaning little Christ child)
  • a the putting together of the words 'Christmas' and 'ingle'. Ingle is an old Scots word for fire and so that would make it mean the 'Christ Light'.


Making a Christingle

Supplies needed:

  • 1 Orange
  • 1 small candle (a birthday cake candle will be fine)
  • 17-18" of red ribbon 
  • 4 toothpicks or cocktail sticks
  • a few sweets or some dried fruit such as raisins or craisins
  • small piece of foil measuring about 1.5" x 1.5"
  • pencil to make a hole in the orange


1. Carefully push the pencil into the top of the orange to make a small hole.

2. Put about 3 sweets or dried fruit onto the toothpicks.

3. Push the toothpicks into the orange in four different directions slightly above the fattest part of the orange and pointing slightly upwards.

4. Take the foil and gently wrap it around the candle at the bottom before firmly wedging the candle into the hole that you had made in the orange. Once in position mould the foil into a shallow cup shape to catch any drips of candle wax.

5. Tie the ribbon round the orange and tie a knot, then secure with a pin to keep it in place.

6. Light the candle, making sure an adult stays nearby for safety reasons.


A song, scripture and prayer to use when lighting your Christingle:

  1. Play this song: "Hope of Heaven" Christingle song
  2. Read this scripture: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but shall have everlasting life." John 3:16
  3. Pray this prayer: Dear Jesus, Thank you for coming to be the light of the world for everyone. May everyone around the earth know the truth and may the truth set them free. God of all comfort, let all who are lonely, sad or ill this Christmas feel your Presence, and let them see your light. Amen

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