A christening is a Catholic infant baptism. According to Grace Fox, author of "Everyday Etiquette," "Family members and close friends are among those invited to a baptism. Work colleagues and acquaintances are not usually asked to such an intimate party." Due to the close nature of the relationships, awkward moments of giftless guests are rare. However, etiquette in regards to the gift item presents confusion, especially if the extended family has not welcomed a new baby in quite some time.
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A gift at the christening can serve as a gift for both--if an attendee presented a gift for the baby after the birth, the child's parents will not expect a christening gift given close proximity of the events. However, sometimes parents delay the baptism for health reasons or due to the time of year--many parishes do not perform baptisms during the season of Lent. So close friends and relatives often choose to commemorate both milestones with presents.
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While no rule discourages non-religious in gifts, some individuals, especially godparents of the child, may choose a religious item. Chose an item the baby will not outgrow quickly. Examples include a white Bible, a rosary or a children's Bible. Look for the Catholic edition of the Bible, unless the parents request otherwise.
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Silver baby mugs, spoons or jewellery serve as keepsakes. Jewellers may have a special selection of baptismal or baby jewellery, such as lockets and rings. Some gift givers choose a silver or gold cross substantial enough for a baby to cherish and wear through childhood or into adulthood. Do not purchase pierced earrings for the baby unless the parents chose to pierce their daughter's ears in infancy.
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Traditional Baby Gifts
Some guests may feel jewellery or silver lacks practicality. Parents can put blankets, books, sun hats and clothing to immediate use and so may welcome such traditional baby gifts. Avoid elaborate gifts, such as a stroller or swing, which are more appropriate for a baby shower. Choose a small token instead.
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According to the Emily Post Institute, even if the gift is not religious in nature, "Whatever the gift, the card accompanying it should be specifically a Christening or Baptism card." Look for appropriate cards at Catholic bookstores, grocery stores and secular card shops. Gifts of money, savings bonds or gift tokens may accompany a card in lieu of a wrapped present.