Published September 06, 2016 by
When a Baptism invitation comes in the mail, thoughts quickly turn to the gift. What should you give? Should you give cash? Should you give a present at all? What’s appropriate? While there are no rules set in stone, there are some guidelines you can follow so you can relax about your gift.
How Close is Your Relationship
Think about how close you are to the family. Is the baby your niece, nephew, Godchild or grandchild? If you’re part of the inner circle of family or very close friends, you’ll want to give a little more than other guests typically do. But, that being said, times might be tough right now. The bottom line is to give what you can comfortably afford. $50 is a very nice gift for a Baptism. So use that as your benchmark. If you can afford to make ends meet while giving $50 or more, go for it. But if you’re going to have to go without groceries for the week, you may want to rethink your gift.
Gift Ideas Other Than Cash
There is no rule that says you have to give cash for a Baptism. If you can’t afford to give as nice an amount as you’d like, it’s perfectly acceptable to give a Baptism gift in another form. You can purchase a savings bond for baby at any bank. You’ll pay a fraction of the dollar amount on the certificate and as baby grows, the bond matures. She’ll have money to cash in when she’s older and you won’t have invested beyond your budget.
Another option is to give a present appropriate for baby instead of cash. You can give a silver rattle or keepsake such as a cross or angel that costs only a small amount but looks more upscale.
Consider also how many people from your immediate family are included on the gift. If you are bringing a family of five to a restaurant dinner, you may want to try to give more than $100. Keep in mind, however, that the gift is for baby and is not meant as an offering to cover the costs of your dinners. It is however, customary that if you have more people in your party, you should give a bit more of a gift.
It’s perfectly appropriate to show up with a card with a check or cash in it. That’s also where you’d include a savings bond. But what if you’re just tapped out and can’t give the gift you’d like to? There are options. You can make something special for the baby. Even a small frame decorated well will look nice. Include a photo of baby in it. Look online for inexpensive things you can make your own version of.
Can’t afford a designer china place setting for baby? Why not head down to the Paint Your Own Pottery studio (they’re everywhere) and paint a nice set of dishware that includes a small mug, bowl, and plate. You can personalize with baby’s name and the colors you choose. It’s very thoughtful and will come out looking lovely once the studio fires it and presents it to you finished.
Parents love services. What about a gift certificate to a local child haircut shop, for when that special day comes. Maybe spurge on a set of meals to be delivered. This is a celebration of the baby's baptism, but you can also celebrate the family as well.
If you're religiously inclined, a book teaching the child about his or her faith. Something the parents would be relieved to have, and probably won't go out of their way to purchase. There are plenty of cute stories of Noah's Ark or the Parables (for Christians). Other faiths may have books on their respective religions. Perhaps even a Children's Bible.
If you’re thinking of not showing up at a Baptism because you don’t have a great gift, rethink. Your presence is what’s expected, not a present. So, go anyway. Even a heartfelt card is a fine idea if you can’t afford anything else right now.