Baptism Gift Etiquette
You may already be familiar with traditional baptism gift etiquette if you know the phrase "born with a silver spoon in his mouth."
The expression refers to the most common traditional baptism gift--a silver spoon. But silver spoons aren't the only traditional christening gift. Vintage Emily Post recommended silver cups, spoons, eating utensils, and porridge bowls (sometimes called "porringers"), usually engraved with the baby's name and the giver's name.
When To Gift?
Attendance to the ceremony are different by Church. Many permit family and friends to attend. In some cases, a baptism is limited to the close family--the immediate family and Godparents--and the congregation of the church. Check with the parents to confirm attendance expectations for the ceremony.
Extended family members and friends are also invited to a reception after the ceremony. If you have already presented the parents with a gift at a baby shower or a home visit, you're not obligated to bring an additional one to the reception, although cards are always welcome expressions of your good wishes.
If you have the honor of being chosen as a Godparent to the new baby, your baptism gift etiquette guidelines are a bit unique. It is traditional for you to both give and receive a gift at this time. The new parents traditionally present the Godparents with a token of their appreciation for becoming mentors of their new arrival. And the Godparents traditionally present a gift to the new baby to signify their commitment of being a mentor.
The time-honored gifts of silver are most appropriate coming from Godparents. Keep in mind that these gifts will most likely be heirlooms or display gifts. Engravings should include the baby's name, since baptisms and christenings are, in part, naming ceremonies. You may also include an inspirational inscription, or a short personal message from yourself.
What to Gift?
A baptism or christening is a more formal ceremony than a baby shower, and in religious situations, marks the baby's welcome into the religious community. It is accepted gift giving etiquette to present religious-themed gifts to the parents for this occasion, but in today's pluralistic society, it can be difficult to understand the nuances of faiths that you might not share. In this case, it's good gift etiquette to look for inspirational-themed items rather than attempting to find a specific or unusual item.
Typical baptism gifts for friends and family usually run to either the sentimental, or the useful-for-the-baby. Good sentimental baptism gift ideas are picture frames, keepsake books, inspirational figurines, or children's religious stories. Good practical gift ideas are blankets, outfits, age-appropriate eating utensils, and monetary gifts.
Appropriate gift etiquette welcomes handmade gifts. Many families today have heirlooms from times past that are actually christening or baptism gift items. Antique crocheted lace gowns, bonnets, and blankets have become family treasures that last for generations.
In matters of money, baptism gift etiquette is surprisingly welcoming. Christenings and baptisms are proper times to think of the baby's future. In keeping with time-honored practices, many well-wishers choose to present savings bonds or investment certificates in the baby's name.
Ideas for Baptism Gifts
Below you will find some ideas for baptism gifts. Baptism gift etiquette would say the gifts are more religious in nature than you would give at a baby shower or at the birth. If you prefer to give something more along these lines, you may want to see the options on the baby shower gift etiquette page
. There are two sections. The first is a collection of religious stores where you can go directly to the website and search for what you are looking for. The second is a selection of gift ideas. If you do not find exactly what you are looking for, click on the store name to go directly to the store's website to search more easily.
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Note: Below this table is a selection of related pages that you might wish to explore for more information related to baptism and the new baby's arrival.
If Baptism Gift Etiquette didn't quite answer your question, here is more information on events related to the baby's arrival:
- Baptism Etiquette: This page is to help mom and dad prepare for the baptism. There are also a selection of invitations to invite your guest for this solemn day.
- Invitation Etiquette: Need help on when to send the invitation? This will help. You can disregard the "Dinner" in the title, as the protocol is covered across multiple events.
- Baby Shower Etiquette: If you are planning the baby shower, this page will help lay out the steps to be followed. It also has a selection of baby shower invitations at the bottom of the page to consider.
- Appropriate Gift Etiquette: Stuck on choosing the "right" gift? This page will help clarify how to go about your gift selection.
- Ms Practical Etqiuette: If you are looking for a personalized answer, send your question to Miss Practical Etiquette. You will have a response within 48 hours.
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