Unsure what to buy a young baby to mark their christening? Silver is a beautiful, traditional choice for christening gifts, and here’s our guide to some time-honoured favourites.
Why do we give silver christening gifts?
The tradition of giving silver at christenings comes from the days when silver acted as currency, and so was a future investment for the new little one. However these days it’s because we want to give a gift that will last, to mark this special occasion.
Of course, the first Christian baby gifts were those given to baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men – although the tradition of gifting a christening cup or tankard is thought to have earlier, pagan origins. The phrase “born with a silver spoon in your mouth”, meaning you’re from a wealthy background, comes from the Tudor tradition of presenting babies with silver “Apostle Spoons” (spoons engraved with images of the Apostles).
Typically, the Victorians took the silver tradition and expanded it; and it’s thanks to them that we give a wide range of silver christening gifts to this day, including napkin rings, silver rattles, teethers, and cutlery sets.
Silver tableware for christenings
Traditionally, this offered a practical option as well as a show of wealth. These days, your baby is unlikely to have a silver egg cup on their highchair tray; however, they still make appealing mementoes for modern christenings. This one from silversmiths Carrs would make a beautiful christening gift, especially if engraved with the baby’s name and the date of the ceremony. Christening cups and child-size cutlery sets are also popular options. In true Victorian style, you could also give a napkin ring.
Silver christening toys
Just as your baby is unlikely to enjoy their milk from a silver tankard, christening toys aren’t really for playing with. A silver rattle has long been a classic christening present, or perhaps a money box in a cute design. For a modern take on this tradition, we love this silver bubble blower by Francis Howard. (Top tip: you can always buy a plastic version for immediate enjoyment!) If you’re hoping for an erudite little one, look out for beautiful little silver bookmarks.
Religious christening gifts
As the christening ceremony is intended to welcome a new person into the Christian community, a Bible or prayer book is considered a lovely and appropriate present. Something like this gorgeous sterling silver and leather Bible by Carrs would make a wonderful gift; and you could always buy them a brightly-illustrated children’s Bible to enjoy reading together. You could also think about Christian jewellery such as a delicate cross or crucifix pendant, which can be kept until the baby’s old enough to wear it.
Silver keepsake boxes
And what could be better to keep it in than a silver keepsake box? Another traditional choice, keepsake boxes range from sleek polished silver to pretty little fairy designs. They can be used for baby milestones such as a curl from the first haircut, or that first lost tooth. It could also mark the start of a trinket box collection (a useful idea if you’re a godparent, as you’ll need to come up with gift ideas every Christmas and birthday until your godchild’s 18, according to Debrett’s!).
Modern christening gifts
These days, a silver photograph frame makes a much-loved alternative to the traditional rattle or cup – and it has a great practical benefit too. Choose from child-themed frames like this charming teddy bear design from Carrs; or try an elegant, classic silver frame that will appeal to the whole family, and can be used to display a photo of the christening.
We hope that’s given you some ideas for lovely, long-lasting silver christening gifts. Don’t forget that a personal inscription adds an extra-special touch, so please ask us about our engraving service.