Confirmation Gift Etiquette

In confirmation, a young person affirms that the religious faith he has been taught is now a personal responsibility. In Judaism, a bar/bat mitzvah celebrates attainment of a calendar age, 12 or 13, as well as new congregational status. Confirmation is reserved for a teenager between 14 and 16 who has pursued further study of his faith. In Christian confirmation, a young person affirms the promises made for him at baptism and assumes his independent congregational status. A confirmation gift need not reflect a particular denomination or religious faith, but it can recognize the confirmand's new personal strength and status.

A gift of affirmation

Consider a gift that speaks directly to the issue of faith and his renewed participation. A cross or Star of David to be worn around the neck is appropriate. So is a personal prayerbook or Bible, inscribed for the occasion if you wish. As a guide, choose something you would value yourself as a personal token of faith.

A gift of growth

Selecting a book of prayers, psalms or meditations that have meant something to you in your faith recognizes that confirmation represents a beginning of active adult faith. You can also select a biography or the writings of someone whose religious faith defined his actions in life. Enlarging a young person's sense of faith in practice serves as a recognition of adult growth, whether the author you choose belongs to the same or a different faith.

A gift of choice

Consider a gift of money to be contributed to active faith. Give a small gift for the confirmand to keep and set aside money he can claim to support a charitable project of choice. This might allow a young person to make a gift of school supplies to an inner-city first grade class, fill the car with groceries for a local food pantry, or provide toys for a hospital playroom. The confirmand should research and choose the project before he claims the money.

A gift of commitment

Give a gift of support that recognizes the confirmand's hobbies and interests. Indeed, some families and confirmands themselves ask for charitable contributions instead of gifts. If you are not aware of a strong family interest, select a gift that will have meaning to the confirmand. A young person who lives for winter sports can be recognized with a gift to the ski-rescue patrol at his favorite slope. Recognize an experienced camp counselor with a contribution to his camp's scholarship fund. Send money to a local animal shelter for a pet lover. Include the confirmand's name and the occasion for your contribution.