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I’m not sure if you’re like me and you don’t know what is really expected from you when you are invited to a Christening/ Baptistm/ Dedication/ Naming Service? Being an aunt to 6 young children and having lots of friends who are having babies, I encounter this question regularly. And, believe it or not, owning a toy shop, doesn’t make it any easier to decide what to give. I decided to put down in writing, 5 ideas for Christening Gifts, so here goes…
If you are being invited for a meal, the reality is that you need to give a decent gift. Only months ago, you probably purchased a ‘baby gift’ when the child was born and prior to that, you may even have purchased a baby shower gift. Depending on where the baby is living, there’s a good possibility that they are out of storage room for baby clothes and if the baby has older siblings, the house is probably falling down with toys. Giving money to the baby as a Christening Gift allows the parents to choose something that the baby needs or to put the money into a savings account for when the child is older.
Often I feel funny just handing over an envelope and I like to accompany the envelope with a small gift. Since the child is probably teething, a nice touch might be a ‘first tooth keepsake box’ or something similar. It’s small for storage and will be nice to pull out when the child is 6 (they’ll admire it then) for him/her to put in their first tooth to fall out into.
I love books and so do my children. Why not consider giving a collection of books which the child will grow into? My children are huge fans of the Beatrix Potter collection. We have a large book that maybe has about 30 stories in it, which we were given as a gift. Both my children have favourites out of these stories which we read regularly. It’s a beautiful gift book with gorgeous pictures.
One of the most recent popular children’s authors is Julia Donaldson. She is known for her books like ‘The Gruffalo’, ‘Room on the Broom’ and ‘What the ladybird heard’ but she also has a range of books for younger children (toddlers and pre-school children) called ‘Tales from Acorn Wood’. Like the Beatrix Potter books, her books have amazing illustrations. I stock all four of these books and they only cost €10 each. Not only are they hard backed, but each page is cardboard and inside there are flaps to open. Depending on budget, you could choose to give all four books or just one or two (and then you could add to the range at the child’s next birthday)
If the ceremony you have been invited to is a religious one, you could consider purchasing a Children’s Bible. My daughters were given a few of these, which we try to read to them regularly. Their favourite (and mine too) is a gorgeous one called ‘The Jesus Storybook Bible’. I am all about buying Irish, but I couldn’t find an Irish online retailer for it. However, you can buy it from Footprints Bookshop in DunLaoghaire or on Amazon. Like the first tooth keepsake box, this Bible book is one that will be put away and taken out when the child is a little older.
Soft toys are often cherished by children for years and good soft toys don’t come cheap. If you are buying one as a Christening gift, make sure that it is ‘suitable from birth’. I stock a gorgeous range of soft toys from British soft toy company Ragtales. They range in price from €13.99 – €24.95.
In my opinion, the days of giving silver egg cups and tea spoons as Christening presents has passed. When I was Christened, my parents received several silver baby items as gifts, however, I have no idea where they are now and I never remember using them as a child. With our minimalistic small living spaces, parents just don’t have the space or inclination to display such gifts.
However, if you want to give a gift that is going to be played with and then put into the attic for the next child or generation, I can’t recommend a wooden toy highly enough. And the nice thing about wooden toys is that you can choose your budget and then buy something that fits into it. My daughter was given a wooden doll house when she was one. At first, I thought it was a strange present to give a baby but we attached it to the wall in our kitchen, took away the small pieces of furniture and waited to see what happened. She loved it and still does (she is 6 now and we’ve added back in the small pieces of furniture). And the first thing every child, who comes into our house does, is go to the dolls house.
There’s a huge array of personalised gifts available these days, so whether you are looking for a teddy with the child’s name embroidered on it, a wooden name plate for the child’s bedroom or bunting, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding it. I always encourage people to shop from your small local businesses so the best place to locate someone to personalise a gift would be a local craft market. If that fails, check out Etsy. I have bought personalised dressing gowns from Thread Designs and I’ve been very happy with them. I know they also stock comforters and teddies which you can personalise.
I hope this blog has helped you when it comes to choosing a Christening Gift and has maybe sparked some ideas that you can follow up on. I’d love to hear what some of your favourite Christening gifts were and some ideas of what you have given as Christening Gifts, so please comment below this blog and then we can all benefit from your experiences too.
And, once the gift is purchased, all you have to do now, is sit back and enjoy the occasion!