Baptism marks the commitment of a family and the church to oversee the spiritual development of another person. Gifts are customary for the occasion, but knowing what to buy for a religious celebration can be challenging. There are a few important elements to keep in mind when selecting a gift for a baby baptism.
Understand the Basics
Depending on denomination, churches have a wide variety of beliefs and practices regarding baptism. Make sure before you purchase a gift that it is in keeping with the basic tenets of the particular religion. Briefly introducing yourself to the denomination through a church website, Wikipedia or asking the family a couple of questions will aid you significantly in choosing an appropriate gift.
Just because this is a religious occasion does not mean you need to sacrifice practicality. Figurines and commemorative plates are destined to collect dust, just as they would if given in another circumstance. Think about whether you would use the gift if you were receiving it. A baptism gift can be commemorative and useful. Give a Christmas tree ornament with the baby's name and date of baptism engraved on it. This keepsake is guaranteed to be used at least once a year and likely would be treasured by the family.
Keep It Meaningful
Many websites encourage you to buy baptism gifts that are really gifts that could be given for any occasion, such as a share in stock or claiming a star to be named after a child. Be sure that for a baptism the gift is still religious in nature to properly commemorate the occasion. You wouldn't wrap a Christmas present in birthday paper, and likewise you shouldn't give a non-religious gift for a religious occasion.
A Few Suggestions to Get You Started
Still drawing a blank? Consider some of these suggestions:
--A prayer to hang in the nursery. Many religious families say prayers at bedtime and mealtime. The Lord's Prayer, the Prayer of Serenity or "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" are great options that parents would be pleased to put in the baby's room.
--Plush Bible characters. Christian bookstores sell plush characters like Noah and Moses, and these items are a fantastic way for parents to keep baby entertained in church or at home.
---A children's Bible. These are available online or in bookstores and include pictures and Bible stories adapted for a child's level of understanding.
--CDs with children's praise songs. Great for car trips, while the baby is at play, or as lullabies.
--Noah's Ark puzzles. These chunky puzzles are fun and still religiously oriented. You can find these and other toys at http://www.findgift.com/Occasions/Baptism/p-9/
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