Christening Gifts from Godparents.
Being asked to be a godparent is a huge honour but what exactly does it involve and what do godparents do? Do godparents buy presents and what would be an appropriate christening gift from godparents be? How much money should godparents spend and what heartfelt message should go in a christening card… we’re here to help with some of these questions and provide you with some inspiration for a great christening gift for your godson or goddaughter.
The Role of a Godparent
Congratulations on being asked to be a godparent but what does it mean and what do you have to do?
Traditionally, a christening is about welcoming a child into the Christian faith and the role of a godparent is to help guide the child on their religious path. Some parents choose a christening as it is a family tradition and celebrates their new arrival. Many parents also like the idea of the symbolism, of bringing family and community together and having godparents for the child. Whatever the reason to have a christening, it’s a great privilege to be asked to be a godparent.
What does a Godparent do?
Regardless of why parents have opted to have their child christened, if they have asked you to be a godparent, there are certain roles and duties for you. During the church service, the godparents are asked to make promises to the child. The Vicar will ask you questions about supporting them in their faith and you have to reply, usually by saying “with the help of God we will”. For more information on the exact promises Godparents make see the Church of England website (we’ve put a link at the end of the article for you).
The ceremony is the official part of the christening but the role of the godparent goes beyond the day, as the promises you make are intended to last a lifetime. For many parents I’ve spoken with, the main hope is that the godparents will take an interest in their child. There are several reasons why you may have been chosen but below are a few qualities which you may recognise in yourself…
- You take an interest in their child, you’ll encourage and be there for them
- You are a great listener and someone the child may be able to talk with in future (always useful to have someone other than the parents!)
- You are a good example to their child – your values include kindness, thoughtfulness, you’re caring and loving
- You will encourage them in their faith and have positive values and morals
- You are someone the child can look up to and aspire to be
Even if you live a distance away, the important thing is to keep in touch. Sending a card or letter every so often just to simply say you’re thinking of your godchild.
Do Godparents buy Christening Gifts?
In short, yes. Whilst it doesn’t seem quite right talking about gifts when the meaning behind a godparent is about your beliefs, your kindness, thoughtfulness, relationships with the parents and hopefully a strong one with the child. However, it is generally considered the norm for a godson or goddaughter to receive christening gifts from godparents. Finding that special gift for a little loved one can be tricky but christening gifts from godparents (or anyone) don’t have to be expensive – it’s often the thought and sentiment behind the gift which is important. We’ve answered a few questions below and have included a gift guide too.
How much money should a godparents spend?
This is a tricky one. As a godparent, you have a very important role on the day, but one that is ongoing too. It sounds like a sidestep to the question but you have to give what you can afford – don’t leave yourself in debt or a personal sticky situation over a gift. If you have a lot of disposable income then you can be as generous as you are able. Adding money to a savings account will hopefully mean this sum will continue to grow in the future. For me, thoughtfulness is the key, there may be gifts for under £10 and there are gifts into the £100’s but it’s all relative to your personal circumstances. If you are struggling, I genuinely believe a small gift, with a keepsake card with a really thoughtful message from you about your promises and hopes for your godchild will be very well received. There’s a saying about time and money which can be turned into a positive – offering to spend time with the child is something money can’t buy. You could even make your own DIY christening gift with tokens – baby sitting tokens so the parents can have a night out together and you get to spend time with your godchild. Tokens for taking the child on a trip to the park, etc.
What are appropriate christening gifts from godparents?
What is an appropriate christening gift for godparents to buy? Whilst it can be stressful to think of an appropriate gift, it can also be fun and reflect a bit about your personality too. Do you want a keepsake gift, a valuable gift, a long term savings account, a more useful or functional gift for the child to use now, a religious gift, a gift supporting charity, a personalised more bespoke gift? The choice can seemingly be endless but here’s some of our ideas:
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Religious gifts are obviously popular, although many worry that items such as bibles will be duplicated. There are some beautiful bibles with silver crosses on the front, or with lovely illustrated inside. There are also bible stories for children or for babies lift the flap bible story books. There are also religious gifts such as cross necklaces, or even items such as photo frames or toys related to biblical stories such as Noah’s Ark.
Traditionally, silver used to be given as a gift for a christening – similar to the concept of putting a silver coin in the child’s palm when someone met the baby for the first time. The traditional silver gifts included, cutlery, rattles, bangles, and in addition to these very traditional gifts, there are also many more inventive silver items on the market now. You could also opt for silver plated items which helps to reduce the cost too but the traditional meaning of silver is still there. The range of silver plated money boxes is huge and these can often be engraved. A silver St. Christopher necklace used to be very popular when I stocked these in the past too.
If silver is a traditional christening gift there are many alternatives to this, including some stunning pewter items on the market. Wooden toys were amongst my favourite items for my own children – we still have a wooden Noah’s Ark that was a christening gift from my child’s godparents and although my children are older now I’ve kept it for them – perhaps for their own children one day. As toddlers my girls really like the spinning music box like the one below – it was used to the point of destruction but not everything can last! As a useful and also sentimental gift, I love the large plush Nutbrown Hare from Guess how much I Love You fame. Books are always a great gift too, from single books to collections. You could also write a dedication in the front of the book or buy some book plates and slip one inside if you weren’t keen on writing on the actual book.
Giving a gift which supports a charity can be a rather unique christening gift from godparents but a really important one to show values of kindness or taking care of others. It could be a very positive gift in the child’s name, donations to good causes or trees which have been planted in their name.
Unicef has a section called ‘inspired gifts’ – you select a gift for children/communities around the world (such as pencils for a school or a vaccine pack), you can dedicate the gift in the name of the child – the actual gifts get shipped off and a card or e-greeting gets sent to the child to show the gift was in their name.
For more information, visit Unicef website at: https://market.unicef.org.uk/inspired-gifts/
Planting trees in a child’s name.
I really love the thought of this gift and my sister actually did this for my child – I still have the certificate that trees were planted in her name. The Woodland Trust have a section on their website for dedicating trees, take a look at: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/support-us/give/dedications/
The concept of this would also make a great environmental gift to buy a tree and plant it in the garden to enjoy watching it grow over the years.
Making your own gift can be a quirky and unique. This could be anything from making ‘time tokens’ such as babysitting, planning a day out, cuddle tokens. You could try and release your inner creativity and make something for the child – do you have a craft skill such as knitting, woodwork, art …as baby blankets, wooden furniture, wall decorations which you can make. Even gardening – of taking plant cuttings (such as roses) and making new plants to symbolise new beginnings and watching the plant grow as the child does. …from little acorns grow great oaks…
Personalised Christening Gifts
Many personalised christening gifts are hand made by independent sellers so are not mass produced, rather they are bespoke, just for the recipient to make them feel extra special.
A personalised gift is wonderful as they can be made just for you – tailored with your personal messages as godparents and therefore shows a lot of thought and sentiment.
There are many items which can be engraved, such as money boxes, photo frames, wooden toys. You can also buy pieces of art to hang in the child’s nursery which can be personalised. Take a look at Bell and Walsh designs – the artwork is personalised with a message of your choice to make it just that little bit special. For example, popular messages over the years have included, the date and location of the christening and a personal message such as:
To celebrate your Christening Day on 17th March 2019 at St. John’s Church.
Wishing you a life blessed with love and happiness. Thinking of you always, love your Godmother Sarah.
Christening Messages from Godparents
Whatever you decide to choose we’d recommend sending a card with a heartfelt message too – this is often so much appreciated by the parents and may be kept in a memory box for the future! We’ve already got an article on what to write in a christening card, but for ease, the messages below are some of my favourite and heartfelt to write in a card:
To my special Godson [or Goddaughter] on your christening day,
I am so honoured and proud to be your Godmother. I make my promises to you that I will love you, help guide you, encourage you, listen to you, be there should you need me and always hold you in my thoughts.
With much love on this special day, your Godmother Sally x
To my beautiful Goddaughter Rosie,
With lots of love on your special Christening day. I am very honoured to be your Godmother and proud to celebrate this wonderful day with you. On your journey through life, I promise to always be there for you – encouraging and listening to you.
I look forward to sharing and making lots of happy memories with you in the future,
Love your Godmother Alison x
To our special Godson on your christening day – we make our promises as Godparents to help guide and support you in your faith. We will always pray for you and wish that your christening blessing today be the first of a lifetime blessed with much love and happiness.
from your loving godparents, Christine and James xx
We hope you’ve found this article useful on what being a godparent involves and given you a few ideas for a christening gifts from godparents.
For more information on the religious aspect of a christening and what promises the godparents make, take a look at the Church of England website which does provide a really good and understandable guide, often with a focus on the values of kindness and compassion.