First Communion is one of the most sacred and solemn occasions in a Roman Catholic's life. Most children receive their First Communion around the ages of seven or eight. It is at this point that the Catholic Church deems them at an age of reason, when they are capable of understanding and appreciating the mystery of the transubstantiation. Your child, for the first time, will receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ. That calls for great celebration! Preparing for your child's First Communion can seem a bit overwhelming. It is easy to get wrapped up in trying to buy the right veil or tie, finding the perfect gifts and entertaining family and friends. That is why we have put together some First Communion gift guide and party ideas to help ease some of your anxieties and allow you to spend more time focusing on what is most important, your First Communicant.
If you're not exactly sure what qualifies as a good First Communion gift, fall back on the classics. Think back to some of the gifts you may have received on your First Communion and pass those traditions onto your children.
- A First Communion rosary is always appropriate, and will be treasured for years to come. Many adult Catholics still have their First Communion rosaries, and are quite attached to them.
- A children's Bible, prayer book, or wall crucifix also make wonderful First Communion gifts. And if you can't decide which one your First Communicant might like best, try a First Communion gift set. First Communion gift sets offer the perfect array of rosaries, Mass books, bookmarks, pins, scapulars, candles and so on, all beautifully packaged in one nice, neat gift box.
- A fine piece of jewelry for First Communion is always a much appreciated gift. Often times, this is when a young girl is presented with her first set of “good jewelry” or a young man receives his first medal or crucifix. A child's length cross necklace or extremely popular rosary bracelet will go over well with any young girl. Her First Communion is also the perfect time to start a sacramental charm bracelet. Begin a tradition of adding a charm to the bracelet as she passes through each sacrament and milestone in her life. If you're shopping for a boy, try a patron saint medal or choose a specific First Communion medal designed just for the occasion. Four-Way Medals are a great idea for boys and girls, and can be found in special First Communion designs.
- And lastly, don't forget the camera! A creative gift idea to accompany a beautiful First Communion photo album or picture frame is a disposable camera. Give the camera right to your First Communicant and watch them have a blast taking pictures of their First Communion day from their perspective. You might be surprised just how well the pictures turn out, and can use the photos to fill up their own special album of the people and events that were most important to them. First Communion picture frames and photo albums are the ideal way to store all those great pictures of your child and the family and friends who helped you celebrate. These moments are irreplaceable, and lets face it, when's the next time you're going to catch her in a white dress or him in a clean shirt and tie?
- With all these great First Communion gift ideas, finding the perfect card will be a breeze. Don't forget to include a First Communion card with just the right words and special First Communion blessings. Place a prayer card of the communicants favorite Patron Saint in the card for a special touch.
Once you have the basics covered, suggest that family and friends have some fun picking from some less traditional gifts as well. Young children love stuffed animals and dolls. First Communion bears and porcelain dolls make great gifts and incorporate the faith into every day play. Use these First Communion gift ideas to get you started and add your own personal touches along the way to make your child's First Communion as memorable and unique as possible.
Now that you're full of First Communion gift ideas, the party doesn't seem so intimidating. Most Catholic families choose to throw a First Communion party with friends and relatives to acknowledge the First Communicant and celebrate their First Holy Eucharist. Whether you plan on having a small get together or a large gathering, make sure to allow yourself time with your son or daughter. You don't want to become so busy playing the host that you miss the opportunity to celebrate with your family. Use paper First Communion plates and cups to make clean up fast. Themed First Communion party supplies come with matching centerpieces right down to the thank you cards. This makes deciding on colors and decorations simple and inexpensive. Another time saving tip is to keep your menu simple and serve foods that can be prepared ahead of time, remember this is a child's First Communion party, not a black tie affair.
The Finishing Touch
OK, so You have the gift and party under control, now its time for the finishing touch, making sure your First Communicant is looking their best on their First Communion day. You've got the dress or the suit, but now you need a little something extra to send them off knowing just how much you love them. For girls give her a delicate First Communion veil for her hair, or a pair of white gloves and purse. For boys how about a First Communion tie with matching tie clip Another nice gesture is to present them with a special medal or piece of jewelry to wear just before the ceremony. This way they will have it with them and know you are thinking of them as they walk forward to receive the Holy Eucharist. The sacrament of First Holy Communion is just as much a celebration on the inside as it is on the out. The way your child steps forward on the big day is a reflection of the importance you place on this most holy of events. Check out our line of First Communion accessories here.
Remember, this is just a guide. Use these ideas to get you started and add your own personal touches along the way to make your child's First Communion as memorable and unique as possible. However you choose to celebrate your child's First Communion make sure it does not deviate from the sacredness of the sacrament and be sure to enjoy it!
Many Blessings to you, your family and your First Communicant!