At Christmas Time, like most children, my kids love to hear and retell the traditional Christian Nativity story. They also enjoy hearing the stories behind the traditional customs that people take part in at this time of year, both here and all around the World, from the story of Saint Nicholas, the Real Father Christmas, to the history behind the First Christmas Tree.
We like to hear the story behind the Christingle, we think that this story is a very sweet version:
“The story of the Christingle is that there were three children, who were
very poor, but wanted to give a gift to Jesus, like the other families
at church were doing. The only nice thing they had was an orange, so
they decided to give him that. The top was going slightly green, so the
eldest cut it out and put a candle in the hole. They thought it looked
dull, so the youngest girl took her best red ribbon from her hair and
attached it round the middle with toothpicks. The middle child had the
idea to put a few pieces of dried fruit on the ends of the sticks. They
took it to the church for the Christmas mass, and whereas the other
children sneered at their meagre gift, the priest took their gift and
showed it as an example of true understanding of the meaning of
The Christingle was in fact started by a pastor named Johannes de
Watteville, in Germany, 1749. He wanted to introduce something special to his Christmas
service, especially for the children. The idea of the Christingle gift
was his idea. It was both practical, as it was quite cheap to make, and also symbolic and would help him to teach the
meaning of Christmas to the children. Pastor Johannes de Watteville gave
each child the gift with a prayer that said “Lord Jesus, kindle a flame
in these dear children’s hearts“. This was the first ever Christingle
In 1968 The Children’s Society first introduced Christingle to The Church of
England, and it has since become one of the most popular events
for families and communities in the church calendar.
We like to make Christingle Craft Ornaments as they are fun and easy to make, and we usually have all the bits and pieces needed to make them to hand at home!
Here is our tutorial in case you would like to make your own Christingle. You could make one as a table centrepiece or two to complement each other on your mantelpiece or shelf. We are making one each week to add to our Mary’s Star Path Advent Calendar. We light the Christingles each Advent Sunday.
What you will need:
- an orange
- a white candle (for safety, simplicity and cost I have started using birthday candles with a holder this year)
- Four Cocktail sticks
- Dried fruit or fruit sweets (we used Jelly Tots)
- Red ribbon (or red tape or even red plaited wool)
- a pin or glue
- Matches or lighter
What to do
1. Thread the dried fruit and/or sweets onto each cocktail stick.
(I put dried fruit and sweets into the bowl- but Caitlyn only chose to put sweets on hers!)
2. Stick each cocktail stick into the orange so they are evenly spread out and pointing upwards.
3. Secure your red ribbon or tape around the centre of the orange.
(I think our red pin looks cute against the fabric ribbon, however in the past I have glued the ribbon down or secured it using the cocktail sticks.)
4. Insert the candle into the top centre of the orange.
(This is so much easier when you use a birthday candle and holder-just pop it in! You can use any colour candle you have. Previously, I used to make a cross in the orange, lay foil and force in a dinner candle, but this year I wanted to use what I had around the house and now I prefer this craft with the birthday candles!)
5. Your Christingle is complete!
(Look what I made, Mummy!)
6. So reward yourself by eating the left over sweets and dried fruits!
7. Then light the candle if you wish!
The Christian Symbolism of the Christingle:
- The orange – represents the world
- The red ribbon – indicates the love and blood of Christ
- The dried fruits and sweets – symbols of God’s creations
- The lit candle – symbolises Jesus, the light of the world
Have you made a Christingle or attended a Christingle service yet this year?
Tomorrow, we complete our week of Nativities and Christmas concerts and tomorrow night we’re going to a Christmas party at Jo’s!
Have a good weekend!