First Communion Gifts: Practical and Cheap Ideas
For most cradle Catholics in parochial schools, the Sacrament of
First Holy Communion usually takes place in the 2nd grade. It is the culmination of a preparation undertaken as a class part of their Religion curriculum. By this point, they have already gone to their first Confession and have been properly prepared for the Eucharist.
The Mass itself is like a cross between a mini-graduation ceremony and a wedding. The little guys are in their jacket and ties, the girls' first communion dresses are white--a symbol of purity--looking like little brides and grooms. And then we throw a First Communion party, of course, just as we did after their Baptism, and just as we will do when they receive their Confirmation, then after either their Marriage or Ordination.
You're probably looking at those First Communion invitations on the counter and wondering, what do I get John or Jane? Before you place an order for the Douay-Rheims Bible, the two-foot statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, and the bent log wall crucifix, keep one thing in mind: they're still kids just beginning their journey into our faith. Yes, we do want to get them something that will encourage their spiritual growth and commemorate the occasion, but let's also be age-appropriate... and of course, within a reasonable budget.
This is the equivalent of getting a tie for dad on Father's Day. They know it's coming. We adults know the significance of this Marian Devotion, but perhaps our little ones may not be at that point yet. To encourage them into this prayer, we can give them
Children's Rosaries (with Rosary beads that are smaller in size and/or colorful) and a prayer guide--but like shoes, they outgrow these. A suggestion would be to get them grown-up Rosaries instead. Also, get them a Rosary case or Rosary pouch to protect it. In a way, we are investing in their future prayerfulness as teens then adults. Decades from now, they will be proud to show off the very same "Rosary that Aunt Ruth got me for my First Communion."
At this age, the Douay-Rheims
Catholic Bible would serve them better as a booster seat than a resource of Sacred Scripture. As 2nd graders, it would be best to get them a reference that's tailored to their level of cognition: we have a number of illustrated Bibles, children's Bibles, and even more accessible children's Bible stories and Catholic activity books and Catholic coloring books--among many other titles in Catholic children's books.
Religious jewelry with
crucifixes, images of patron saints, Miraculous Medals, and scapulars are great gift ideas--they will remind their wearer of the Lord who now resides within them. It can be a keepsake they will be proud of and from which they can draw inner strength and a sense of protection. But be wary of this: they are kids. In their active lifestyle, these could be broken or lost. Or, be outgrown.
Other Gift Ideas
First Communion picture frames, commemorative plaques, and remembrance books: This one is more of a gift for the parents. Displayed prominently in the living room, these items will soon be joined by diplomas that serve as a timeline for the child's life.
Catholic Key Chains: The one thing we always tell them never to lose is their keys. What better way to remind them of the importance of the two things we should never misplace: our way into the house, and our way into Heaven.
Catholic DVDs and Catholic Music: With lots of items to choose from, you will find a title that will pique their interest. The inspirational and spiritual selection is educational and is wholesome fun for the entire family.