First Communion

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What is an appropriate gift for a first communion?

April 2002

We've been invited to a good friend's son's first communion. What would be an appropriate gift, considering that we're not Catholic? Thanks! Helena

My son is also preparing for his First Communion. There are many Catholic Book Stores in the Bay Area. I would suggest a Crucifix for the child's bedroom, a rosary, a Children's Bible or a Children's Lives of the Saints, a statute of saint (perhaps the saint that the child is named after), or a medal with a saint's image on it (or the Blessed Virgin Mary if the child is a girl). Some book stores also carry videotapes of religious movies (sometimes animated) that are very nice for kids.

If you would prefer a nonreligious gift, then a US Savings Bond for the child's college fund would also be nice. A friend gave one to my daughter when she was baptized. Burker

I am struggling myself with a gift for my nephew. I previously bought a garden plaque with an image of Mary as a child for my niece's communion from a store called something like Sacred Arts in Oakland. They specialize in religious, particularly Catholic gifts, but also have a world's religions bent. It is a very nice store for communion gifts. I think I will try and donate money to a charity on behalf of my nephew, since I can't imagine any religious gift being of much use to him. Does anyone have any ideas how to donate in someone else's name? Sharon
From the time of my first communion 35 years ago to my youngest son's first communion two years ago, the focus has changed from an automatic event and party in a Catholic child's life at age 7 or so to one which occurs a slightly later age, which is more of a conscious decision on the part of the child (he/she must answer that this is what they want after a period of study), one for which he or she truly participates in the preparation, and one which marks a welcoming into a ''community''/larger group, by choice. As a family friend or honorary aunt/uncle, there are some special ways to mark this idea, acknowledge a new level of maturity for a child and make the event special, without overt religious gifts. Gift certificates are often given for book or record stores, some toys, but one of my son's favorite gifts, which I thought was very special and appropriate was a trio of books from his aunt and uncle: a children's book of heroes, enscribed ''To help you find your place among people''; an age-appropriate book about geography ''To help you find your way in the world''; and a children's book of history ''To help you find your moment in time''. Eileen
My son received various nice gifts: crosses, crucifixes, books and some nice nonreligious toys -- which made for a great balance. Anon.
Hi, I was raised (and still am) Catholic. I remember for my first communion (and my siblings' and cousins' etc.) that we got religious articles from close family members (necklace with cross, rosary beads, children's book of prayers or bible stories, etc.) but from some other friends of the family we received either nothing (which is completely appropriate!) or a nice ''congrats on your first holy communion'' card (hallmark has tons) coupled with a small non-religious gift (something you'd get for a birthday party). It's very kind of you to think of bringing something, so I think you can't really go wrong. Maryanne M.
Any gift is a great gift for First Holy Communion. Don't worry about having to get anything holy-moly. A nice book is always a winner. Joan
I received my First Communion back in 1968, so my experience isn't too recent, but I got a few regular gifts--similar to birthday presents--some money (I bought a Twist and Turn Barbie with it and was thrilled), and a few items of a religious nature such as rosaries or saint's medals. I don't think you have to give a religious object. I still have a Better Homes and Gardens Kids cookbook I received from our Jewish next door neighbors! One suggestion if money seems too crass: a gift certificate to a bookstore. Suzanne