Being asked to be a godparent for a close friend or family member’s cuddly baby is a great honor. But what exactly are you signing up for? In this blog, we cover the essentials—from the basics and what you’re committing to all the way to how to pick out the perfect godparent gift. Let’s get started!
What Is a Godparent?
As a godparent, you agree to take on the role of guiding your godchild’s spiritual growth. This includes encouraging your godchild to engage with their faith, offering wisdom, and celebrating their life’s milestones.
Often, godparents are asked to fulfill this role because they are close family members or friends. Being a godparent also involves attending important events and celebrations and giving gifts.
What Is the Purpose of a Godparent?
The purpose of a godparent is to serve as a spiritual role model. If you’ve taken on this role, congratulations! The parents of your godchild love you deeply and trust you to be a positive influence on your godchild.
When it comes to being a godparent, you get out what you put in. It’s an exciting commitment; the more you attend events, spend quality time, and reflect on what gifts will make an impact, the more satisfaction you’ll find.
What Are Godparents Legally?
Godparents don’t have any legal distinction. You may assume that as a godparent, you’ll need to assume the role of guardian should anything happen to your godchild’s parents. However, being a godparent does not automatically grant you rights as a guardian. If your godchild’s parents would want you to take on a guardian role, and if you would want to accept it, then you would have to go through a separate legal process.
What Is the Catholic Tradition of Godparents?
Being a godparent in the Catholic tradition is largely similar to being one in other traditions. You’ll play an active role in your godchild’s spiritual upbringing by attending milestone events, spending quality time, and sharing life experiences. However, there are specific guidelines to be eligible as a godparent in Catholicism. You should typically:
- Be a practicing Catholic
- Be at least 16 years old
- Have received the sacraments of baptism, eucharist, and confirmation
It’s worth noting that times are changing and there can be exceptions to these rules. If someone close to you asks you to be a godparent for their child and you don’t meet all of these guidelines, it’s worth discussing the role with their church leaders.
Do Godparents Get the Baby a Gift?
Godparents are typically expected to get their godchild a gift for their baptism. Even though your godchild will most likely be a baby on this special day, there are a lot of exciting gifts that will make a lasting impact! Traditional baptism gifts from godparents should commemorate the occasion and retain significance in the future. To follow baptism gifts from godparents etiquette, look for gifts that are:
- Practical: The gifts you give should be useful in one way or another. Let’s face it; most families have more stuff than they know what to do with. That’s why it’s so important to give gifts that make an impact—not just on the day of the event but years down the road, too.
- Memorable: Special events pass too quickly. Gifts can help preserve memories that would otherwise get swept under the rug of daily routines. And, without a way to look back at their baptism, your godchild won’t be able to reflect on the day. After all, they’re just a teeny wiggleworm when they get baptized!
- Symbolic: Baptisms are a significant day for families to celebrate their darling being welcomed into their faith. Traditions go back centuries, and baptism gifts that respect and connect to these traditions are extra special.
- Spiritual: One of the most important aspects of being a godparent is guiding your godchild’s spiritual journey. Certain gifts can serve as conversation starters for years after the baptism day. This will give you and your godchild the opportunity to reflect on the importance of baptism together.
Looking for the perfect gift that has all of these qualities and more? Browse our classic collection of christening and baptism outfits.
Do You Get a Gift for a Catholic Baby Baptism?
Just like in other traditions, it is proper to bring a gift for a baby at their baptism in Catholicism. This custom isn’t part of the service itself. Rather, giving gifts became part of the tradition alongside the ceremony. Not sure exactly what’s expected of you when it comes to gifts? It depends on your role in the event.
- Godparents: It’s customary for a godparent to give a special gift to their godchild for baptism. Baptism gifts from godparents should celebrate the day and have symbolic significance even years after the event.
- Attendees: Friends and family who are attending the baptism, but don’t have a specific role in it, should still bring a gift. Typically, a card with a financial gift will be greatly appreciated. How much you give depends on how close you are to the family and what your personal financial situation is.
The purpose of gift giving is two-fold. First, it helps to celebrate the baptism. Similar to how gifts are part of birthdays, weddings, Christmas, and many other celebrations, giving gifts is a way to add excitement and support the baptized baby.
There is also a gift exchange element to baptisms. In many traditions, parents will give a gift for godparents at the baptism. This gift should celebrate your role as a godparent. Many godparent gifts feature personalized everyday items to serve as a reminder of the wonderful commitment you’ve made. Other gifts are more spiritual in nature.
What Are Traditional Catholic Baptism Gifts?
Godparent gifts for baptism in the Catholic tradition are similar to those in other faiths. When choosing a gift for your godchild, look for one that has the following qualities:
Catholic ceremonies tend to be heavily symbolic. As a result, Catholic baptism gifts from godparents that are also symbolic are often greatly appreciated. Consider options that create not only lasting memories but also ones that contribute to the day's significance.
What Do Catholic Godparents Buy?
Being a godparent in the Catholic tradition involves buying gifts, especially for baptism. Ideas for both traditional and non-traditional baptism gifts include:
- Baptism Outfits
- Personalized Blankets
- Christening Jewelry
- Photo Frames and Albums
- Picture Bibles
- Prayer Books
These ideas are great for baptisms, but there are other important days when it’s appropriate to give a gift to your godchild. These days include:
- First Communion
Every occasion doesn’t require the same level of gift as Baptism. For birthdays and other holidays, a thoughtful card and financial gift are appropriate. For religious milestones, gifts with symbolic meaning can add to the significance of those events.
It’s also important to know what godparents aren’t responsible for paying for when it comes to Baptism. In most traditions, godparents are not responsible for paying for the baptism ceremony. The exception is in the Greek Orthodox faith, in which the godparents pay for the ceremony.
Another part of baptism that godparents usually don’t pay for is the reception. This part of the day is typically hosted by the parents or another family member at the church, a restaurant, or someone’s home.
Do Godparents Dress the Baby?
Most often, purchasing a baptism outfit for your godchild is a wonderful and welcome gift. Baptism outfits aren’t just practical and symbolic on the day of the event, they can also be passed down as heirlooms to future generations. After checking with the parents to make sure they don’t already have an heirloom outfit for their little sweet pea, you can start shopping! Here are a few of our favorites when it comes to christening and baptism outfits:
- Victoria Puff Sleeve Christening Gown & Bonnet: This elegant, champagne lace outfit adds timeless beauty to your little darling. Ivory silk ribbons and ruffles tie the vintage look together.
- Harrison 3-Piece Suit: This jacket, pants, onesie, and cap combo are a precious sight to see on any baptism day. The plush white quilted cotton adds texture and boyish charm to the outfit. The best part? Gentle quilted cotton will keep your little man comfy and cozy on his special day.
- Ella Romper Dress: With lace sleeves and a bonnet detailed with whimsical vines and flowers, this outfit is truly unique. With a soft romper and airy skirt, your goddaughter will be just as thankful as her parents for this gift.
- Penelope Christening Gown & Bonnet: This gorgeous outfit flows with long ribbons of ivory silk. Shades of champagne and ivory add to the depth of the handmade design. If you’re looking for a gift that will last for generations, this is it.
- Owen Linen Romper: Simple. Classic. Stunning. This soft linen blend prioritizes both style and comfort. Just look at those baby blue ribbons along the bodice! This outfit also features snap-on and snap-off changing. It’s a win-win-win.
Baby Beau & Belle: Your Source for Timeless and Elegant Baptism Gifts
Baptisms are full of beautiful moments. Those moments are worth preserving as precious memories and heirloom-quality baptism outfits can do just that. Photos of your sweet and elegant godchild will last a lifetime. And dressing them in a sumptuously soft fabric will keep your godchild comfy and sweet during their baptism date. That’s an amazing gift for them and their parents, not to mention the fact that outfits from Baby Beau & Belle can be passed down as heirlooms.
See for yourself how absolutely adorable a godparent gift can be.