Gift Ideas for Baptism or Christening

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Gift ideas as new godparents

May 2008

We are incredibly honored and have been asked to be godparents for one of my best friend's new baby. He will be baptized in a Methodist Church, of which I know little about (i'm more accustomed to Catholic traditions). My husband and I are agnostic, which makes a gift selection a little more challenging...any gift ideas would be wonderful. mm

If the parents who asked you to be godparents were very concerned about religion, they probably would not have asked agnostics. Most people these days are happy just to know someone whom they trust and feel confident about, in regards to how that person would raise their children. (Shared values, morals, etc.) That does not mean that they expect you to become Methodists or even to know much about religion. They mainly just want to think their kids would be raised happy and healthy. So I wouldn't stress about a religious-themed gift. How about something that reflects the nature of the relationship they are asking you to develop, like a scrap book or photo album of all your interactions for the 1st year of the child's life? anon

Honestly? A $500 check for babysitting was the best gift we recieved as new parents. We could've paid for a babysitter on our own, of course, but the encouragement to take a date night just for us in the midst of being so consumed with our baby was invaluable. I wouldn't think you'd need to get anything religious for the baby or parents--a gift from the heart is most important. anon

My agnostic DH and I recently found ourselves shopping for a Catholic baptism gift. After some debate, we settled on a donation to Defenders of Wildlife and choose an animal to ''sponsor.'' Our card wove together the animal's traits and a wish for the child's spiritual growth -- We nature lovers felt comfortable giving this and the parents received our spiritual blessing in stride. naturally spirited

The nicest thing I can remember my daughter receiving from her Godparents was sort of an extended life-long standing invitation. As she grew old enough, she was treated to those special times like Tea at the Ritz and camping trips by herself with her Godparents. It made her feel special and connected with two lovely people. In addition, now that they are in their early 80's they have mentioned that she will be one of their beneficiaries. Susan

What is an appropriate gift for a Greek Orthodox christening?

April 2007

I have been invited to the Christening of my friend's baby boy. They are Greek Orthodox. What would be some appropriate gift ideas? secular and clueless

We are Greek Orthodox and for our son's Baptism we got gifts of all kinds, though mostly either checks or savings bonds. When I have been a guest at a Baptism I've given either savings bonds or the Tiffany Bunny Bank, which you can order online. anon

I enjoyed receiving (on my children's behalf) Christian themed board books or a toddler story bible. Amazon has a good selection of these. Also, a frame or photo album with a cross or a St. Christopher medal on a chain for when they get older. Courtney

We really enjoyed receiving a book called ''In every tiny grain of sand.'' Look it up on Amazon. It's sweet & has great messages for kids. It quotes from all religions, but the illustrations are so great & the items pulled are simple enough for kids to understand. Spiritual, but not secular. Check it out. Anon.

We recently attended a Catholic baptism, and being secular and clueless myself, I wasn't sure how to mark the occasion. Since the celebrating family knows I'm not religious, I thought giving an explicitly religious gift (like a traditional rosary or engraved bible) might come off as insincere, or just plain awkward. We opted for a pearl and gold infant ID bracelet, engraved with the baby's name. I thought it was really quite pretty, and it seemed formal enough for the occasion, something that her parents will keep well past baby-hood. (It turned out to be a big hit.) Depending on your price range, you can find these bracelets anywhere from Tiffany to Red Envelope. Good luck! Clueless, too

Crucifixes are always a nice gift for baptisms. Wall crosses be put up in a baby's room for example. Many catholic baptisms require a small crucifix for the baby during the rite, so a necklace sized crucifix may not be needed by the parents. Simple or artistic crosses are usually more welcome for home use than the traditional body of Christ on a cross. I'm an Irishman, so prefer Celtic crosses, and love the crosses made from pressed turf. And they are more affordable than silver etc. I've only seen them available from Ireland. Example ($10): prod=220. If you look you will find some very unique and artistic wall crosses.

I would suggest a picture frame with the child's name, and christening date. It's special and thoughtful, and yet, not necessarily religious. There are tons ''baptism gifts''. -Good luck! Bought a baptism gift last week

No Gifts policy for infant's baptism?

December 2006

My husband and I don't enjoy the presents our kids receive for birthdays, holidays, et cetera. We both have extended families and the boys receive tons of gifts that they don't even know what to do. We're grateful for the thoughts and the time people take time to make to provide gifts for the kids. We rarely ever have birthday parties and may have them randomly once every couple of years. We are planning a baptism for our infant son and we would like to request ''No gifts please. Simply your presence is requested.'' Is it rude to receive an invite with a line such as the one we want to add? We don't want to offend but we don't want presents. Please advise. Thank you anon

How 'bout ''No gifts, please. Your presence is ''present'' enough! Not rude, a little cute and says it all -Congrats on your new baby.

Although I can imagine that some people might think it rude, I don't. But another approach could be to decide as a family on a charitable organization--say the church where you are baptizing your child, or a group that provides social services to children--and request that instead of gifts, your guests bring a donation to that organization. Your friends and family are only trying to spread the wealth by bringing gifts. If you have enough already, let them spread the wealth further anon.

Try this: ''Instead of a gift, we ask that you make a contribution to your favorite charity.'' Anon

A fine line is ''You presense, please, but no presents.'' I would not consider that impolite

In my opinion it is not rude at all to kindly request no gifts. I've seen it done and done it myself (mainly for b-day parties for adults, which is a different scenario than you're describing). I'm glad and relieved when people are clear about what they want, and I imagine most of your invitees would be also. And the ones who want to get your child a gift will go ahead and do it anyways! anon

It's kind of rude but not nearly as rude as specifying what gift someone should get. I wouldn't put it on the invitation, but if you do say ''no gifts, please'' it probably won't offend most people, I just have a pet peeve with all these commands on invitations these days. irked social gal

I would not be offended at an invitation that said ''no gifts please''. If you do write that, though, be prepared that some guests will bring gifts anyway. Smile graciously and say thank you -- they don't have to know if you give the gifts to Goodwill afterwards Good luck

Its not rude to say ''No Gifts Please'', but people often ignore it. You could ask for monetary donations instead of gifts, which you could then donate to your favorite charity Elaine

I once recieved a lovely invitation that said something along the lines of, ''Your presence is our gift -- no other gifts please.'' happy to attend without having to shop

not rude at all. some will be relieved. You will still receive some gifts, because some people just don't feel comfortable not giving something. When my husband and I married, we had a similar (very informal) wedding invitation. and it said soemthing like: no gifts please, we have everything we need, but we do appreciate your presence, which is the best gift! If, however, you still feel in a giving mood, here are some of our favorite charities: (and we listed 4 or 5 of our favorites.) We also suggested that if they have a favorite, then they could donate there. We ended up with a few donation acknowledgements, and only a small handful of small and very thoughtful gifts (which we hid from everybody else)

My late grandmother, whom I adored, would always say: ''My present is your presence!'' I use this line for our invitations, and have only gotten positive feedback...and no unwanted gifts! Good luck -As Grandma Always Said

I don't think it's rude at all to put ''No gifts please'' on the invitation. I've received a few invitations like that, and to be honest, I've always been very grateful to see that :-). If people wanted to bring something, perhaps you could recommend that they write a nice letter that the child can read when they get older, or you can ask that they bring a photo of themselves that you will use to put in their baby book/scrapbook ''No Gifts Please'' Fan

I always like the line ''No gifts please. Your presence is your present.'' I don't think it's rude at all, and if folks bring gifts anyway (and inevitably some will), just smile graciously and say thank you.

Hi there, I think an easy line to add to an invation is ''No presents please, your ''presence'' is gift enough!'' Or something along those lines. Michelle

We just sent out this invitation! Ours said ''This will be a small, simple ceremony. No gifts please''

Why don't you say you don't want gifts, but give people the option of donating to either a college fund for the child or to a charity of your choosing if they feel they must gift? I'm sure there is a polite way of saying that charity

I don't think this is rude at all! I appreciate getting things like this, especially since money is tight for so many of us. You *could* decide, if people challenge you on it (for us it's often relatives who feel like they have to spend money to commemorate an event, that in lieu of gifts we would be honored if you would make a donation in our child's name to _________ (your favorite non-profit, perhaps one that works on child welfare locally or globally). Nicole

I do not think that it is rude to put in a request for no presents. I have been to a few baptisms with that request. I totally understand the desire to limit the amount of stuff that flows in. The flip side is that you have people in your life that want to express their affection in a material way. You can always donate unwanted gifts to worthwhile organizations. Joan

In my opinion it is not rude. Some may disagree. But, it is your family's event, and it is your right to call the shots. If someone insists, thell them they can make a donation to the church or another organization in your child's honor. Mom

I have read on invitations a straightforward, ''No gifts, please''. Also, ''Your presence is the only presents required.'' Also, ''In lieu of a gift, please make a donation to the charity of your choice'', (or to a specifically donated charity). Also, ''all gifts will be donated to a homeless shelter''. None of these have ever offended me, except maybe the last one just a little bit, and I'm not even sure why Nanu

I don't think it's rude to say ''no gifts, please'' for your celebration. The thing is, families give gifts even if you tell them not to - I don't think you can stop them from doing this. In my experience, our families get a lot of pleasure out of buying things for our child. It would be rude not to accept their gifts, so we just thank them and donate the stuff we don't want.

Also, it's traditional for most baptism presents to be bonds. If someone asks you for a gift suggestion, you could always mention the college fund. (You can't request money gifts in lieu of presents, though - that actually would be rude.) Regifting

Why not just donate the unwrapped presents to Elisabeth House or some other place that gives nurture to people in need? Then, write a note: ''Thank you for the lovely gift'' or ''Thanks for the sweet present.'' mail them off and win win!

People LOVE shopping for baby presents! The old gals get out and have a nice day, Women in stressed out surcumstances get a NEW, wrapped gift, not some old unwanted thing, and you don't have to clutter up your over full house! The path of least resistance.

Baptism Gift Ideas?

Nov 2003

Hi, I'm curious if anyone can provide some suggestions for a non- religious baptism gift. Outside of a nice note, are there any books that speak about loving one another, sharing or building confidence that you can recommend? The gift should be appropriate for a one-year-old child. Thank you. kara

Perhaps your gift need not be geared to a one year old, but rather for the child to keep, and for the family to appreciate beyond this year. A beautifully illustrated hard cover book would be nice. I'm sure if you went to Cody's in Berkeley or the Storyteller in Lafayette that a staff person could steer you to a great book that talks about humanity and love, or all the people of the world, or taking care of the earth. There are even some books that refer to spirituality but have a broader base of recognition. A beautiful book that I saw recently comes to mind (but I don't remember its name). I saw it at the Museum of Childrens Art (MOCHA) in Oakland, where they have a wonderful exhibit about book illustrators (their childhood drawings and their drawings now - you should go see it!). Anyhow, the book illustrates the verse...''To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.'' The illustrations are detailed and colorful and depict people from a variety of ethnicities. A nice note by you at the front of the book would make the gift even more thoughtful and personal. We still enjoy reading enscriptions of books my 7 yr old received when she was a baby.

Oct 2003

My grand nephew is about to be baptized in the Catholic church. I would like to send a meaningful gift, but other than a tiny baby's cross (I'm sure he'll receive many), I've no idea of what to send. Any ideas? Susan

It may be a few years before your g. nephew can use it, but my son enjoys reading ''Preschoolers Bible''. It has about 6 bible stories, all with pictures to help indroduce some of the basic principles. There are several versions, and I think there may be a toddlers version also. Courtney

Traditionally in our family a keepsake type gift is given, and it is based on the relationship you have with the child. For example, I am the godmother to my niece and she and her godfather (my brother) gave her a Tiffany Hairbrush... We have gotten as gifts the tiffany hairbrush, etc.

There are also many meaningful choices at Sagreda on Telegraph. I am fond of a cross for the baby's room some piece of religous artwork, etc. Anon.

We took a baptism education class prior to having our son baptized. The teacher mentioned that seashells were a symbol of baptism (something about a shell being used to put the water on the baptisee). I thought that a beautiful shell or something sea related would be a great gift. Connellan

How about giving a nice, leather-bound copy of the bible? Or a picture frame with the date of the baptism engraved or painted on it? How about a bible verse or phrase that is meaningful to you painted on it? cb

Try Sagrada 4926 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 510-653-7196, also one at 411 Hartz Ave, Danville, CA 925-820-6359. They have nice and unique religious stuff. Janet