Religious events are a time of celebration and often, gift giving! Supporting your faithful friends and family throughout their lives means finding a variety of presents for all the happy moments you’re invited to. Whether you’re devout or not, these fresh ideas will help you strike exactly the right note.
Gifts for all religious ceremonies
These gifts for adults are great for almost all religious ceremonies, and can be monogrammed or customized with a devout saying.
If your friends have a little too much fun during communion, they’ll enjoy receiving glassware.
Wine glasses or champagne glasses are a great option for weddings. Rocks glasses, used for whiskey, and even a complete set of bar glassware, are great options if you know your hosts like to throw parties. Add a personal touch by engraving a short quote about drinking (such as Ecclesiastes 9:7, “drink your wine with a joyful heart”) onto the glasses, or monogram them with a romantic verse and the couple’s initials.
Those who either already have a full set of glassware or those who don’t drink alcohol will love individualized coasters, as coasters are the sort of thing you need but never buy for yourself.
If you prefer to stay away from housewares, all couples and other young people starting out in life will appreciate personal stationery with an inspirational design. Traditionally, newlyweds receive notepaper on their first wedding anniversary, known as the paper anniversary. However, thank-you cards for kids, notecards for newlyweds, or letter paper for couples celebrating any wedding anniversary are perfect, classic gifts that will be warmly welcomed at any time.
Weddings in Faith
Some weddings have more spiritual impact than others. For couples who closely follow God’s path, gifts that honor their beliefs support them both in their faith and in their marriage.
Christians will appreciate gifts that link their religion to the joyous day they’re experiencing together.
A braided gold or silver necklace for the bride represents the Ecclesiastes 4:12 verse “A cord of three strands is not easily broken”. This gift mirrors a God’s knot, a popular decoration in Christian weddings which also hearkens back to the 4:12 verse, in which a husband and wife make up two strands of a braided rope alongside the third strand, God. Candelabras with three intertwined stems are another option for incorporating this charming reminder of faith into your gift.
For an observant Catholic wedding, gift a traditional crucifix. It’s easy to pick one that will match your hosts’ taste, as they come in many different styles and sizes. Rosary bracelets and rosary necklaces as favors with a modern twist are very popular.
An engraved Bible is an appropriate gift for people from any denomination of Christianity; adding the wedding date and the couple’s names makes it a valuable keepsake.
Two rose bushes romantically represent the two lovers’ spiritual growth together over the years, particularly if they already enjoy gardening. A garden statue of any favorite religious figure, particularly Mary or St. Francis, is a nice touch.
Guests at Jewish weddings often give money in multiples of 18, as 18 sounds like “chai”, the Hebrew word meaning “life”. Seven or nine times 18 are good choices, as the number seven represents covenants or vows, and nine represents the nine months of pregnancy – both great symbols for a wedding.
If you think cash gifts are impersonal, home goods are a nice alternative. A gift to use during Shabbat ceremonies reminds the newlyweds of you every week. Attractive candlesticks for the lighting ceremony or personalized wine glasses for the kiddush blessing are classic gifts any couple will enjoy. Help Orthodox couples keep kosher with kitchen utensils and cutting boards, and your friends can keep the Sabbath while enjoying delicious hot meals if you give them an automatic slow-cooker. A Kosher cookbook would be a great addition to this homey gift. If the couple aren’t great cooks, give them a mezuzah instead. Mezuzahs are small scrolls of parchment covered with a verse from the Torah, housed in decorative cases, and put up in doorways in many Jewish homes. Observant couples will want at least one for the front door, and perhaps several for each doorway in their home. You may even want to get the case or cases engraved with the couple’s initials.
Islamic couples might like an adhan clock, which announces the call to prayer five times per day, or a personalized Quran. Art is a traditional gift for Muslim weddings; note that people and animals shouldn’t be depicted in the art, so you may want to look for geometric designs, abstract art, or specifically Muslim art galleries. Prayer rugs and beads can be very beautifully designed, as well as useful, and you tangibly support a newly married couple in their faith with these thoughtful gifts.
Children and teens
First communions are a great opportunity to provide children with religious presents that will support them throughout their lives. Rosaries and monogrammed bibles are traditional, because kids may not have ever received these before. A gift of this type welcomes a child to spiritual young adulthood.
Confirmation is another opportunity to give a useful religious gift such as a Bible; customizing it with the child’s name makes it more fun for him or her to use. Cross-shaped scented soap or a delicate piece of cross jewelry are appropriate gifts for a young girl’s first communion or baptism. Boys and girls alike enjoy religion-themed toys, such as a Noah’s Ark play-set or stuffed prayer buddies shaped like their favorite animals. If you’re helping to plan the event, customized water bottle labels featuring your favorite little one make a fun favor for guests at baptisms and christenings.
Jewish adolescents on the threshold of adulthood have a celebration called a Bat Mitzvah (for girls) or Bar Mitzvah (for boys). As the child being celebrated is usually around 13, gifts for these events tend to have an academic or instructional tone. Many families take vacations after a Bar/Bat Mitzvah; you can contribute to the fun by giving a guidebook related to their destination. Alternatively, a book about Jewish history or learning shows you recognize the child’s change into a mature, thoughtful adult. Some examples are the Codex Judaica (a book on the history of Judaism), or a biography of an inspirational Jewish person like Ruth Bader Ginsburg (the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court). Jewelry is also a popular gift for boys and girls, particularly necklaces representing the Star of David or the Chai (life) symbol.
Christmas tree decorations or a classic Nativity set (depicting Jesus’ birth), reminds one about the true meaning of the holiday. Cookie cutters in religious shapes such as crosses and angels are great presents for kids. Around the holidays, look for Christmas-themed cookie cutters for a festive gift; creating a Nativity scene in cookie form is a fun project for the whole family! Try giving angel figurines, including a tree topper. Tabletop angel figurines are cute all year round as well. Hanukkah-themed cookie cutters, like dreidels, menorahs, and stars, are also adorable and a fun way to share faith with kids. During the Christmas season, there’s plenty of winter themed gift giving choices.
What if you aren’t religious?
Don’t feel obligated to get explicitly spiritual presents just because the ceremony is a religious one. You can give a thoughtful gift without feeling awkward about buying something too explicitly pious. Do make sure that you stay away from gifts that will make the recipients uncomfortable. If you know your hosts don’t drink, don’t get them wineglasses, for example. Mason jars filled with creative projects (like jar cake or cookie ingredients) for the family to enjoy together, or jars stuffed with treats, are a secular gift that will go over well with anyone, no matter their faith. The mason jars can be reused afterward so are useful as well as pretty gift “wrapping”. Use common sense and get a gift that comes from the heart, and whether it’s a wedding, bar mitzvah, or baptism, your present will be a hit. Learn more about religious sacraments and occasions of faith as you think about finding the perfect gift for your friends.