Home / Blog / Christingle 2020

Christingle 2020

The annual Christingle service has been interrupted by both the lockdown and the closure of St Helen’s church due to a dodgy roof. Undaunted the Revd Chris Herbert has come up with an alternative ‘cunning plan’ (Blackadder).

Revd Chris Herbert:-

Hi everyone, we now know this year we will not be able to bring over 500 of you to St Mary Magdalene Church for the Christingle service – as we achieved for 2019! This year the Christingle event, scheduled for Christmas Eve 24/12/20 at 4pm, is going digital. I have no idea how it will go, but we cannot not have Christingle. Fun for children and fundraising for the Children’s Society are especially important this year of all the years I have been part of the event. So I will be going live on Facebook from home on Christmas Eve at 4pm and I will also record the event.

The idea is that I will need some local pick up points where children can pick up their Christingle bags, with all the bits needed to put a Christingle together. Then when I go live on Christmas Eve I will ask you all to join in to put a Christingle together with a talk, and hopefully music, if I have the right licence. If anyone can help to act as a local pick up point for Christingle kits or anything else please let me know:-


Pickup locations needed; one or two places in Norton, Campsall and Burghwallis and maybe other places such as Sutton. I have ordered enough for 200 oranges as usual. But if we run out, I have another game to create one.


God Bless, Revd Chris

Many churches and schools celebrate Christmas with a candle in an orange. But where does this curious tradition come from.

Every year from mid-November to as late as February, many British children stick sweets on cocktail sticks, stick them in an orange, put a candle on top and gather together. 

This is Christingle.

The roots of the practice lie with John de Watteville in Germany and an attempt to get children to think about Jesus. He started the tradition in 1747 in his Moravian Church congregation. At the time it was just a candle with a red ribbon given to each child. It didn’t involve the orange. Or jelly tots on cocktail sticks. 

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. 

It is unclear where the orange part of the object came from. It has echoes of the scented pomander, which can be an orange studded with cloves.

Assembled Christingle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.