The saying ‘born with a silver spoon in their mouth’ actually has its origins in traditional baptism gift etiquette. The expression referred to a common traditional baptism gift of a silver spoon. However, it is not only silver spoons which are traditional gifts. There are many items, generally engraved with the baby’s name, which are traditionally gifted such as porridge bowls, spoons, silver baby cups and eating utensils.
When You Should Have a Gift
The attendance of a baptism will vary depending on the church. There are some churches that allow friends and family to attend while others limit this to only the close family such as immediate family and godparents. You will need to check with the parents and confirm any attendance expectations for the baptism or if the ceremony has been limited to certain people only.
Extended family and friends will generally be invited to a reception after the actual baptism. You will not be obligated to bring a baptism gift if you have already presented a gift to the parents at a home visit or a baby shower. In these situations, a card would be a welcome expression of your good wishes for the family.
Gifts From Godparents
If you have been given the honour of being chosen as a godparent, the baptism gift etiquette that you need to follow is slightly different. It is the tradition for the godparents both give and receive a gift at the baptism. New parents will generally give the godparents a token of their appreciation. The godparents will also present a gift to the new baby to signify their commitment to their mentorship role.
The traditional gifts given by the godparents will generally be made of silver. If the item is engraved, it should include the baby’s name as the baptism is a form of naming ceremony. Inspirational inscriptions may also be included or a short personal message. Of course, you need to ensure that the inscription or message is appropriate for the child and will still be appropriate as they grow up.
What You Should Give as a Gift
A baptism is a more formal ceremony than the baby shower and will generally mark the baby’s welcome into the religious community. On this occasion, it is acceptable to present the parents with religious-themed presents. However, you will need to be careful with this if you are working in a religion that you do not share as the religious nuances might be missed. If you miss these nuances, you could either cause offence or present the family with an inappropriate gift which would be a problem for everyone involved.
In these cases, you should look at a gift which is inspirationally-themed instead of looking for an unusual or specific item. The typical gifts given by friends and family will generally be useful for the baby or sentimental. Some good sentimental gift ideas will include picture frames, inspirational figurines and keepsake books. Some good practical gifts will include blankets, age-appropriate eating utensils and monetary gifts.
There are many families that have heirlooms which are baptism gift items. Bonnets, blankets and lace gowns are family treasures which are passed down the generations. Baptisms are also good times to think about the baby’s future. This is why another traditional gift is an investment certificate or savings bond in the baby’s name.
Best Ideas for Baptism Gifts
When looking at baptism gift etiquette, you will find that these gifts are generally more religious in nature than the ones presented at a birth or a baby shower. If you want to give a gift along these lines, you will need to look at the options available in baby shower gift etiquette books. There are many books that will have ideas for the different gifts that you can give.