Here are some guidelines and suggestions to help you decide how to gift when asked to serve as a godparent or sponsor or when invited to the Baptism of a family member or friend.
Godparents / Baptismal Sponsors
When a child is Baptized, godparents or sponsors customarily provide a gift for the child. Godparents are especially responsible for concerning themselves with the spiritual needs of the child. They are to show interest in the child’s Christian upbringing, encourage the child in the faith, and be there for the child at difficult times in life.
It is also important that godparents/sponsors remember their child at certain occasions in the child’s life, such as confirmation and marriage. An important time to remember your godchild is on their Baptismal birthday. Mark the date on your calendar. A card and/or small gift is a special way to remember your godchild and remind them of what God has done for them through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 3:21
Family and Friends
Friends and family are often invited to a Baptisms and it is appropriate to offer a gift. No one should feel obligated to give a gift, but it customary in a similar way to birthdays and baby showers. Since the event is spiritual in nature, it makes sense to provide a gift centered on the faith. Crosses, Crucifixes, or religious icons are powerful remembrances of the “washing of regeneration” the child receives through the waters of Holy Baptism. In Holy Baptism, the Holy Spirit descends granting the gift of faith to the person who is Baptized.
At Baptism parties, it is common for gifts to be placed together on a table or specific location, similar to a birthday party or baby shower.
Gifts for Adult Baptismal Candidate
Spiritual gifts are especially valuable when an adult catechumen is received into the church through the Sacrament of Baptism. The baptismal candidate recently taught the faith will especially treasure a meaningful Christian gift.
Ordinary vs. Religious Gifts:
Sadly, many Baptisms take place today for the sake of tradition; rather than for the right spiritual reasons. It has also become more common place to delay baptism so that children are often months or years old before receiving God’s gift of Baptism. In an age where our culture’s understanding of Baptism is declining, how much more meaningful is it to offer a gift centered on Christ to your godchild.
Practical gifts for Baptisms (money, clothing, toys) are certainly acceptable; yet a religious gift is far more fitting for this sacred event. Such gifts serve as a powerful witness to the faith both to the parents and family of the child, but also to the child themselves who will grow up and look at a Baptismal gift remembering the reason for which they received it.
We invite you to peruse our site for a selection of meaningful baptismal gifts. Look beyond the limits of the Baptism gift section as any gift centered on the birth, death or resurrection of Christ remains a powerful reminder of God’s gift to us through the waters of Holy Baptism. Crosses, Crucifixes, as well as religious icons, paintings and statuary are good choices for a Baptism.
God’s blessings in your search for the right Baptism gift!
Note: While local or family custom may exist, these guidelines are generally applicable within Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran and traditional Protestant denominations.