On December 23rd at St. John’s Church in West Wickham, at ten in the morning, a small group of about twenty people gathered to prepare over three hundred Christingles for the Christingle service. The production line ran as follows:

In the middle of the line of tables were the boxes of oranges to be used. They would then be passed down the line, before reaching either end of the table as a completed Christingle. They would have red tape wrapped around them, then have their tops cut out, to make space for the candle. Foil would be used to stop the candle wax reaching the orange. After this, four cocktail sticks would be stuck in all directions, each Christingle holding one of each of either a raisin, liquorice allsort, chocolate-covered raisin or a sultana. The finished Christingle would then stand on a wooden tray, made especially for holding the Christingles. 

As more time passed, more people arrived, meaning the production line moved faster. This included the curate of St. John’s, Peter Churcher. He told us who invented the Christingle and the reason behind that, as well as what each element of the Christingle symbolises. He explained the man behind it was a German bishop [Johannes de Watteville], who has wondered how to get his children to go to church around Christmas time. So the Christingle was originally a form of bribery, but then later the tradition caught on to other countries. It reached the Anglican Church in England in 1968. 

As mentioned, he also explained the significance behind the different aspects that make up the Christingle. The Christingle is a symbol in Christian religion, and each part holds a different meaning. The orange itself represents the world, and the red ribbon/tape goes around it symbolising the blood Jesus shed when he died. The candle stands tall and proud, and reminds Christians the love of God is what they believe is the light of the world. Four cocktail sticks represents either the four seasons, or the four corners of the world, and the  treats on the end embody God’s gifts to the world, including love and the fruits of the earth.  It is mainly up to the makers what is added to the cocktail sticks, at St. John’s, raisins, sultanas, liquorice allsorts and chocolate-covered raisins were used. 

Also due to the increased number of people, all the Chrstingles were quickly completed after just over an hours time, which was the quickest time they had managed it in.