Now that my Thanksgiving dishes are done I think it is safe to start talking about Christmas. I do love Christmas, I just wish that retailers would quit exploiting it by trying to kick start it in October. I know that they are just trying to make a buck, but I can’t help but feel that I’m being a little bit strong armed. Between all of the shopping hype and the Santa Claus images everywhere, the true meaning of Christmas too often gets lost in the melee.
When we lived in England and my children were small, the little village school they attended would host a Christingle service at the beautiful 14th century church at the top of the hill every year. My words cannot express how lovely this little stone church is every day, but during the holidays its beauty defies description.
The Christingle custom began in Germany in 1747 by Bishop Johannes de Watteville as a fresh and lively way to explain the meaning of Christmas to the children in the Moravian church. He gave each child an orange wrapped in a red ribbon with a prayer that read “Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these dear children’s hearts”, and the Christingle service was born. In 1968, John Penson of the Children’s Society of the UK brought this custom to the Anglican Church in England. This soon became a well-loved tradition with children eagerly making their own Christingles each year.
To make a modern Christingle you first take four toothpicks and poke them through soft candies or dried fruit symbolizing the bounty of the earth. A red ribbon representing the blood of Christ is then wrapped around the center of a large juicy orange, symbolic of the earth. The red ribbon is then either secured in four equally spaced places by the gumdrop skewers, representing the four seasons of the year, or the ribbon can be tied and the skewers placed higher above it. Finally a hole is cut in the top of the orange where a lit candle is placed celebrating Jesus as the light of the world.
For our service in England our children were then dressed in white robes, their candles were lit and they carefully entered the darkened church singing carols cradling their oranges in their tiny cupped hands. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and not a Santa Claus in site. This is one of my fondest memories of Christmas. Oh yeah, I am happy to say that to everyone's great relief, no one's hair was set on fire during any of Plumtree School's Christingle services.
It has been a long time since my children fashioned a Christingle so I am very thankful for my blog for giving us a reason to relive this beautiful memory. The scents alone from the components of this little project made us smile. If you have a child in your life and feel so inclined, this is a fun and meaningful activity to share with them.
To celebrate the season, I've fashioned a drink that incorporates some of the wonderful flavors that that are so prevalant this time of year. My "Christmas Tingle" is a blend of cider and orange juice with a hint of cinnamon schnapps. This recipe was recently tested at a holiday high school friend reunion at my house and the college girls gave it three enthuastic thumbs up, so I feel quite confident about passing it on to you. It is wonderful in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions so everyone can enjoy it.
3 parts hard or sparkling non-alcoholic cider
1 part orange pineapple juice
Splash cinnamon schnapps (I used clear Goldschlager so my drink may not be as colorful as yours), or if making non-alcoholic, 1 small cinnamon stick
Fill a large highball glass with ice. Pour cider into glass, top with orange pineapple juice and schnapps; stir well and garnish with an orange slice, cranberries or cherries.
For the non-alcoholic version: Pour sparkling cider into a large ice filled glass, add a splash of orange pineapple juice and a cinnamon stick; stir well. Garnish with an orange slice.
Now, for my newest giveaway from Wayfair!
As you may recall, in the past I have held several giveaways for CSN merchandise and gift codes. Recently I was made aware that CSN is now rebranding itself, moving its smaller sites into one big site they are calling Wayfair.com. I really love shopping this site as it has everything from kitchen area rugs, toys and cookware to lighting, pet furniture and baby stuff.
To help everyone discover their new site, Wayfair.com has offered to give me a one time $70.00 shopping credit* to give to one of my lucky US followers. You choose an item totalling $70.00 from their site and they will ship it directly to you. To receive one entry you must be a public follower of my blog and leave a comment saying so. To receive extra entries follow Savoury Table on Facebook, Twitter or sign up to receive my posts by e-mail or RSS feed (just click on the symbols at the top right of my page). If you vote for my daughter's recipe contest entry for Salmon Croquette Sliders (just a simple click, no registering or logging in) you'll get an extra entry as well. State each entry as a separate comment. I will let Random.org choose my winner on Sunday, December 4th around noon mountain time. Good luck!
*Correction from earlier statement of shopping code.