“Christening, or baptism, originated with the Jewish purification ritual, the mikvah, which consists of a ritual bath designed to wash away sins. The custom of giving gifts to a baby at their christening dates back to pre-Christian times, and was a feature of many pagan cultures. It was adopted by the early Christian church based on the example of the three wise men who gave gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. The baby’s christening gifts were expected to have some monetary value, as the early church suffered a great deal of persecution in the Roman Empire, and there was a very real possibility that its godparents would be expected to take care of it if its parents were martyred. The custom of giving baby christening gifts made of silver or gold probably comes from this terrible history of violence against the early Christians.
There are christening gift ideas specific to baby boys and baby girls, but most baby christening gifts are unisex. It is on these unisex gift ideas that this article will concentrate.
Silver and Gold Baby Christening Gifts
As previously noted, there is a long tradition of giving baby christening gifts made of silver and gold. The most common type of such gifts is a baptismal cross. Indeed, in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the giving of a baptismal cross by the child’s godparents is an essential part of the baptismal rite, and the child is expected to keep wearing the cross for the rest of his or her life, as a reminder of the faith into which he or she was baptized.
Another traditional baby christening gift is the Apostle Spoon, a silver spoon with a representation of the apostles carved into the handle (from which the phrase “”to be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth”” is believed to derive, as they were originally the sole preserve of wealthy, aristocratic families). Silver cups and napkin rings are also popular baby christening gifts.
Family Bibles as Baby Christening Gifts
A family bible is a bible that has a special section at the front in which to record such family records as births, baptisms, marriages and deaths. Family bibles from generations past are often passed onto babies at their christenings, but even if there is no such tradition in your family, it is never too late to start. A family bible will be an invaluable gift not just to a new born baby, but to generations yet to come. Future genealogists will be able to trace your family tree just as genealogists today use old family bibles to trace the history of families going back centuries.”