A Christingle is a symbolic object used in the Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany services of many Christian denominations. Christingle, from a word of German origin, Christkindl, meaning "Little Christ Child", is used to celebrate Jesus Christ as the "Light of the World".
A modern Christingle is made from a candle in an orange (representing the light and the world) which is typically decorated with a red ribbon and sweets or dried fruit. It has been a feature in Moravian churches across the United Kingdom since before the World Wars. As members of Moravian churches moved away from their home congregations, they took the custom of Christingles with them and introduced it to other denominations. In the 1960s John Pensom adopted it as a fundraising tool for The Children's Society of the Church of England.
The history of the Christingle can be traced back to Moravian Bishop Johannes de Watteville, who started the tradition in Germany in 1747 as "an attempt to get children to think about Jesus". At that time it was just a red ribbon wrapped around a candle; it is unclear how an orange came to be incorporated into the Christingle.
In the intervening years, the Moravian Church spread the tradition of Christingle through their early role in the Protestant missionary movement.
The custom was popularized in the United Kingdom by John Pensom in 1968. He was raising funds for the charity The Children's Society. In the 2000s, over 5,000 Christingle services, in which children are presented with Christingles, were being held in the UK every year. In 2018, over 6,000 services were held for The Children's Society. Each year, Christingle raises over £1.2 million to help vulnerable young people.
In 2018, The Children's Society launched its #Christingle50 campaign, which included festive services in schools and churches for the 50th year.
A Christingle usually consists of:
Alternate additions to the Christingle include: