Etiquette for a Lutheran Baptismal Gift

Baby with bible

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Baptism is a cornerstone of the Lutheran faith. Lutherans believe that baptism rescues people from the works of the devil and ensures eternal salvation in heaven. The Lutheran church usually baptizes infants shortly after they're born, and gifts are often given in celebration of new life.

Primary Giftgivers

Godparents are among the most integral people during a Lutheran baptism, and usually give the baby or child being baptized a special gift. The gift is meant to be a promise to your godchild that you'll take the commitment as a godparent seriously and do it to the best of your ability. While a gift from a godparent is expected, other family members, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as family friends might also choose an appropriate gift for the baptized child.

When to Give Gifts

Often, godparents will bestow a gift on their godchild before the actual baptism ceremony, but there is no hard and fast rule for when to give a present. Many families plan a reception following the church service, and it's perfectly acceptable for godparents to give their gift then, as well. Family members and friends usually bring their gifts to the reception, too.

Appropriate Gifts

One of the most common gifts given to a baby being baptized is something made from silver, such as a silver spoon, picture frame or cross, according to the Practical Etiquette website. Usually it's the godparents that give a gift made of silver. Adding the child's name and baptism date to the object is appropriate, as well. Crosses to hang on the wall, framed Bible verses, a child's Bible or a blanket embroidered with the child's name and baptism date are acceptable gifts, too. Savings bonds or money are often given as an investment in the future of a child being baptized. It's not required to give a gift if you've been invited to a baptism reception, though writing a card is nice gesture.

Additional Etiquette

If it's your child being baptized into the Lutheran church, it's customary to give the godparents a gift that shows your appreciation. A framed photograph of your child with his godparents or a wall hanging with your child's baptism verse printed on it are appropriate tokens of gratitude. If you've been invited to a baptism at a Lutheran church, it's customary to give a gift that has usefulness, such as a blanket or investment certificate. Your gift doesn't need to be overtly religious, but it's inappropriate to give presents that don't reflect the sacred nature of the occasion. Toys and games are examples of inappropriate gifts.