Saturday, April 13, 2013

First Communion Gift-Giving

I have three First Communions to attend tomorrow. I used to struggle with what to get a kid for her First Communion, or her Baptism. When I went through the various Roman Catholic rites of passage as a child, I received a lot of sweet, well-intentioned gifts that I truly did not enjoy. (Yeah, yeah. Learning to graciously accept gifts you can't stand is an essential art, so - Suck it up, princess!)

Most 7-year-olds do not need, nor appreciate 5 rosaries, 7 crucifixes, and 3 angel statuettes, etc. I think the grandparents, the godparents, and the aunts and uncles will have those gift bases covered. Fine. But for the random adult who is a friend of their parents like me? I'll stick to something secular.

No, these kinds of generic religious gifts do not get better with age. They are not appreciated in the future, either. Perhaps some religious gift that is small, personal, and handmade has the best chance of being more cherished? Sorry, crafting is not my skill set.

When I attended 2 Baptisms and 1 First Communion in the Spring last year, I came across a cool, untraditional gift idea (besides the gift of cash, which part of me thinks always makes the perfect gift). It is - the gift of cute summer sandals, with a card that reads:

"As you begin your walk with the Lord, you should do it in a great pair of shoes."

A baby being baptized will soon fit into a shoe that is US baby size 5, and a 7 1/2 to 8-year-old girl generally will safely fit into a US size 2 shoe. Good idea to enclose a gift receipt in case they have extra large feet.

The folks I gave these shoe gifts to remarked long after the fact how much they enjoyed the gift, and I've seen the kids actually wearing them even when they didn't know I was going to run into them at the park.

When I start getting invited to loads of Confirmations in a few years, I'm going to give cash, and perhaps a secular book (with a gift receipt of course).

What are your go-to gifts for kids celebrating religious rites of passage?


Anonymous said...

Nothing! I don't think we've been invited to one ever in my adult life.

When I was younger, I don't remember getting gifts for first communion other than a children's Bible and a cheap plastic rosary. I'm vaguely remembering a pin with a saint on it. (And, of course, the pretty white dress and shoes.) For confirmation, I think I got a Bible and that's it (though I was no longer Catholic by confirmation... my mom got a very nice rosary when she was confirmed Catholic).

Sandals sound like a nice gift!

ana said...

I've only been to one such event, for a little girl...and I got her a little jewelery box with music. Ostensibly she could use it for her numerous rosaries/crucifixes etc... but I was later told it was full of matchbox cars and rocks. Even better!

Claudia said...

Well, in Lutheran Denmark, everyone gets baptized and confirmed, and some that don't have an equivalent party so they don't miss out on the loot.

The gifts can be absolutely anything. Lots and lots of cash (way too much, IMO), and I've even seen a girl get a thong (underwear, not flip-flops) for her confirmation. I find that inappropriate for the age, let alone the occasion. So if you're not as tacky as the Danes, you're doing fine.

hush said...

@nicoleandmaggie - Thanks, the young woman seemed to enjoy my gift more than a cheap plastic rosary. ;) It was fun to see all the kids dressed up. Too bad the priest was a total jerk and yelled at all of the kids and their families because they would not quiet down during post-Mass picture time. Luckily we aren't parishioners there! My mom wants me to call the diocese and report his behavior.

@ana - That sounds like a well-loved gift! One I would enjoy, even as a grown-up. Yay!

@Claudia - A thong? Whoa! That's awesomely bad. LOL

Calee said...

I'm a total lurker here but I love that for a gift idea. We usually do a book or two for baptisms but I'm sure there will be a slew of first communions in our near future.