In the Greek Orthodox Church, babies are usually baptized when they are a few months old. In the ceremony, godparents stand witness with the parents and accept responsibility to help the child grow spiritually throughout his life. Baptism is one of the sacraments in the Greek Orthodox Church, according to the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. The event often includes a celebration with friends and family, many of whom bring special gifts to commemorate the occasion.
A traditional Greek Orthodox decorative cross is a thoughtful gift that the baby’s parents may hang in the nursery. On a cross with a metal backing, engrave the child’s name and baptism date on the back to mark the special event. A picture frame or photo album can also be engraved, and can hold the parent’s favorite photographs of the baptism day. For a gift of jewelry, choose a locket or a St. Christopher medal for the child to wear when she is older.
A traditional Greek Orthodox baptism gift is an icon of the baby’s patron saint. For example, give an icon of Saint James for a boy named James or Saint Katherine for a baby named Katie. It is acceptable to give an icon of the saint most closely related to the child’s middle name. If you do not know the child’s patron saint, an icon of the Theotokos -- or Mother of God -- is another appropriate gift for a baptism.
A hand-knotted Greek Orthodox rosary is another special gift for a child’s baptism. The parents can hang the rosary in a place of honor in the nursery, or tuck it away in a keepsake box until the child is older. The gift of a rosary demonstrates that the child will be grounded in prayer as she matures.
Although it may not be traditional, the most common baptism gift among Greek Orthodox followers may be a check or money order. Giving money allows the parents to decide how to allocate funds. For example, they may open a college fund or savings account in the baby’s name to build on as the child grows up, or they can choose to use the money to help pay for the baptism party expenses.
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