It’s a blessing and an honour to be asked to become a godparent to a little one. A godparent is someone who promises to nurture and inspire a child, and to be a second parent in a supportive role. It’s not a job to be taken lightly.
Once the christening invitations have been sent, the guests will prepare to attend a traditional christening in a church, or a modern naming ceremony, where you will be in attendance as one of the chosen godparents.
As a godparent, you will naturally want to let the child’s parents know that they’ve made the right decision in choosing you for the responsible role. To reflect your love for the child, it’s important to give them a special christening gift. This can be something traditional that is treasured forever, or a modern gift that is appreciated for its unique ‘new tradition’ value.
The Symbolism Of Christening Gifts
The custom of giving christening gifts dates way back to the 4th century, a time when Christians were afraid of being persecuted by non-Christians. Current members of the church were expected to sponsor new members so that the church ‘family’ could grow. Parents asked their closest friends to sponsor the children at the christening celebration by becoming what is now known as a ‘godparent’.
Sponsors were known as ‘patrinus’ after the Latin word meaning ‘someone who witnesses the child’s christening and promises to support and raise in a Christian manner’. To honour the birth of Christ, and the symbolism of the trio of gifts given by the three kings, christening gifts were presented to the child. And so the tradition of christening gifts was born…
Customary Silver Keepsakes
Throughout the centuries, the most traditional christening gifts from godparents have been made of solid silver. This christening gift tradition began in the Tudor times and continued into the Victorian era. At the time, these precious gifts were considered to be of high monetary value.
Silver was believed to be a good choice for a gift because it offered some form of future investment for the child. Shiny silver also symbolises independence. Godparents often chose solid silver items like spoons, rattles, egg cups, 1st cutlery sets, napkin rings and baby trousseau brush and comb sets to bestow on the child being christened. Silver coins were also widely given as a christening gift that could be cherished as a keepsake.
If you’re a godparent who wants to follow tradition, you can choose a timeless christening gift that is made from polished 925 marked sterling silver. Commemorative coin sets, featuring the ever-popular Beatrix Potter character Peter Rabbit, are an excellent alternative to the traditional silver spoon or rattle. The limited edition Royal Mint silver coins are embellished with the iconic furry creature on one side and are presented in a stylish gift box. A certificate of authenticity is also included. You can expect this collector’s item and customary keepsake to gain value with age.
Alternatively, you can give your godchild a sterling silver money box, a Tooth Fairy trinket box or a special frame in which to store a lock of their baby hair. A baby bangle is also a popular gift choice for a little girl. A leather-bound bible that is embellished with a silver plaque and a cross on the cover is a great christening gift option that is also suitable for Holy Communion gift giving.
Modern Personalised Gifts
Just because a christening is a traditional custom, it doesn’t mean that you are limited in the choice of gift that you can give as a godparent. It’s perfectly acceptable to present your godchild with a modern gift that is lovingly personalised. You can encourage a love of books and reading by giving a special book collection as a christening gift. Personalised books like a Classic Book of Nursery Rhymes or Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales will be put to good use at story time, and fondly treasured throughout childhood and beyond.
A silver traditional christening gift can be easily modernised by adding personalised detail. Christening photo frames that are adorned with engraved decorations often have a special space where you can add the child’s name and birthdate. Choose from a wide selection of luxury sterling silver portrait and landscape frame designs and styles that are elegantly finished with a velvet back.
Christening Gifts For Older Children
Not all children are christened when they are babies. Some parents choose to wait until their child is old enough to understand the significance of the occasion. If your godson or goddaughter is more mature, you can present them with a christening gift that is special, meaningful and also wearable. A silver St Christopher charm, dangling on a silver chain necklace, is suitable for both boys and girls. The iconic Catholic Church medallion is decorated with an image of St Christopher the martyr, who is also the patron Saint of Travellers. This lucky charm is widely believed to offer protection to the wearer on their travels.
A high quality blank journal or notebook that is bound in a beautiful gold foil embellished cover makes a great alternative christening gift for an older child, and is ideal for creating a new gift giving ‘tradition’. As their godparent you can encourage the child to develop their creative and artistic talents by filling the pages with stories and pictures that they will cherish in adulthood. A ‘letter’ shaped book offers a truly original christening gift option, and is available in all the letters of the alphabet.