Christingle - A Christmas Craft for Kids

Monday, December 7, 2015

Several years ago while enjoying my annual Jackie Lawson Advent Calendar, I was introduced to a lovely little tradition - the Christingle.  I thought I'd share the idea with you all today because I think it's a great little activity for the kids and a good reminder of the true reason for the season.

Accordian to the Moravian Church website: The idea of the Christingle began in the Moravian congregation of Marienborn, Germany, on 20th December, 1747. At a children’s service, hymns were sung and the minister, John de Watteville, read verses which the children had written to celebrate the birth of Jesus. He then explained to the children the happiness that had come to people through Jesus, “who has kindled in each little heart a flame which keeps burning to their joy and our happiness”. To make the point even clearer, each child then received a little lighted wax candle, tied round with a red ribbon.  No one knows for certain when the word “Christingle” was first used or from what it is derived. Various suggestions have been made. One is that it comes from the old Saxon word “ingle” (fire), meaning “Christ-fire or light”. Another is that it derives from the German “engel” (angel), meaning “Christ-angel”, or it may derive from the German “kindle” (child), meaning “Christ-child”. (

But it wasn't made popular in the UK until 1968 when John Pensom, described in his Church Times
obituary as "Mr. Christingle" used it as a fundraising event for the Children's Society charity.  Children would bring purses with money and receive an orange pierced with a candle in return.  In 1972, the Times noted the increasing popularity of the services.
(Taken from:
According to Wikipedia - A Christingle is a symbolic object, used in the Advent services of many Christian demoninations.  Christingle means "Christ Light' and is used to celebrate Jesus Christ as the "Light of the World".

The meaning behind the elements of a Christingle is this:

 - the orange represents the world
 - the red ribbon represents the blood of Christ
 - the toothpicks represent the four parts of the earth - north, south, east & west and the four seasons.
 - the candies represent the fruits of the earth, God's creations.
 - the lit candle - Jesus is the Light of the World
 - if you use foil around the candle - it represents the star that showed the people the way to Bethlehem.

Kids will love making Christingles and one or a few will make a beautiful centerpiece on your Christmas table.  They don't last long though, so don't make them too far in advance if you want them on your Christmas table.

To begin, you'll want nicely shaped, fresh oranges.  I suggest slicing a small slice off the bottom of the orange, just enough to help the oranges stay stable and not roll.   If you are using a medium sized candle (those emergency type white candles work great) - you can either use an apple corer to cut a hole for the candle, or you can score the orange with an "X'.  Or, you can use a birthday candle with a holder that is sold in the bakery aisle.

Wrap a red ribbon around the middle of the orange, securing with double-stick tape or a small straight pin.  If you use narrow ribbon, you can even tie the ribbon in a small bow.

Add four toothpicks.  Then using small candies, gum drops or dried fruit, add a few to each toothpick.

And now you have a Christingle!

If you aren't familiar with the Jackie Lawson Advent Calendar - it's a beautiful animated calendar featuring a Victorian Village with music and activities sure to delight young and old.  Each day features fun little stories as well as several activities kids can do on the computer like decorating a tree, drawing snowflakes, popping ornaments.   You can only access the current or previous days, so there's no way the fun will end until Christmas day!  My granddaughter loves it and continues to play with it throughout the year, not just during advent.  It's $4 well spent and the more you buy, the cheaper they are.  Buy one for all the children in your life!  To check it out, use the link below:

Thanks for reading and come back soon to Life As I See It.

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