Saturday, 2 January 2010


A church service that is popular in Britain during December and January is the Christingle Service. This special service has been adopted by the Children’s Society, a charity that helps vulnerable children. It is a way of fundraising and bringing families and communities together. Christingle services have been held up and down the country in churches and schools for over 40 yrs and even when the children (who are usually the ones this service is aimed for) have grown up their parents still come back, year after year, to soak in the atmosphere of a Christingle service.

Here is a Christingle I tatted last week
During the service a christingle is given to every child who attends (and very often adults) and in return they give a donation towards the work of the Children’s Society. At some point the lights are switched off and we sing a carol by candlelight. We also have buckets of water ready, just in case!

I took this photograph myself when the lights went out and this is actually my hand!

A christingle is made of an orange, a candle, a ribbon, sweets and dried fruit on cocktail sticks. Each part of a christingle stands for something:

· Orange – the world
· Candle – Jesus the light of the world
· Red ribbon – the blood of Jesus · Cocktail sticks holding fruit and sweets – the seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) and all the good things in our world

Here are the Christingles on the altar ready to be given out
(okay yes some were doing a nose dive!)

Every year I purchase the items that go in to making a Christingles, which means buying about 150 oranges, hundreds of cocktail sticks, not to mention the sweets and dried fruit. Thankfully the red ribbon is provided by the charity and we order the candles in bulk. Making them takes quite a few hours and just before Christmas this can become an added chore especially when there are so many other preparations for the festive season.

This year it was my turn to give the talk at the services we hold on Christmas Eve at one of the churches (we have two sittings because so many people attend!). To illustrate the meaning of the Christingle I made a giant orange out of cardboard, some giant sticks with some birthday wrapping paper printed with sweets around the ends. Then I had an adult hold a lighted candle with children holding the orange, the sticks and other children came up and held red tinsel around them, so making a human Christingle!If you want to learn about the history of the Christingle which dates from the 18th century then here is the link

I am going to see Jane tomorrow, and she and I have been testing the shuttles that my husband has been making - so watch this space!


  1. LOVE the tatted Christingle - VERY clever.

  2. I had never heard of this, and it is a lovely tradition! I always think there are too few traditions surrounding Christmas - apart from the Advent Wreath, perhaps, so it's nice to hear about this one.
    Hmmm - I wonder how long it would take you to TAT 150 christingles, for next Christmas? -piecework, perhaps? It's beautiful.
    Thanks for telling us about it, and I certainly will be watching this space!

  3. Hmmm...I'll bet the room smells really nice when you're making them with all those poked oranges! LOL!
    Like Maureen, I have never heard of this! I also enjoy learning about different traditions!

  4. What an interesting lesson on an old tradition! I love your site for the kind of education I am receiving beyond tatting!

    I DO, however, love that fancy-dancy tatted Christingle!
    Fox : )

  5. Another very interesting post. I have never heard of that service either. Love your tatted one.

  6. Very interesting post. I've never heard of this lovely tradition of Christmas.

  7. You are spoiling me Sally! I'm soaking up church tradition. This seems a lovely celebration and for a good cause. I would love to have been there.
    In Him, B

  8. Cool! I've never heard about a Christingle (did I get it right?). Always cool to learn something new =) thnks for sharing!

  9. Maureen - no I'm not going to tat 150 Christingles, a bit fed up of them and do not wish to see another one for at least 11 months!
    Well Tatting Chic the main smell was of smoke when the candles were blown out it is just a fire hazard nightmare!
    Thanks Fox - Christingle services make a lot of money for the Children's Society.
    Now I am surprised these services have not come your way Tatskool.
    Thanks Carla for visiting.
    Bev - I wish you could have been at one of the services.
    Aileen - you got it right - hope you are having a good break

  10. Hi, Sally!

    What a lovely tradition! I can smell the oranges just looking at the photographs. I love your tatted version, too!



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