The Christmas Eve event -- Christingle -- at Chelmsford Cathedral involves children forming a circle each holding an orange with a candle in it, The Telegraph reported.
This year, church officials said they would replace burning candles with fluorescent glow sticks, as some parents last year expressed concern their children's hair would catch fire.
Member of Parliament Eric Pickles lamented the move, saying Christmas was becoming dull and homogenized, the newspaper said.
"Health and safety will ban everything. I would be kind of interested to hear when the last time an orange and a candle set fire to a child's hair," Pickles said.