If you are in doubt what gift to present to a First Communicant, then a First Holy Communion Cross is an ideal choice. Crosses or crucifixes are in line with First Communion – not only that, but as a symbol of Christianity, a cross is among the best religious gifts you could present to one.
What Is First Communion?
First Communion is a ceremony during which children first receive the Eucharist. Celebrated by the Catholic Church and Lutheran Church, among others, First Communion is the most important sacrament for a Catholic after Baptism.
Typically, First Communion is celebrated when children reach the age of 7, though it may be celebrated as late as 13 years old. With that said, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians celebrate Holy Communion in infancy together with Baptism and Chrismation.
First Communion is traditionally held during the Easter season.
In the Catholic Church, First Communion is considered life itself because to receive the Eucharist means to receive the body, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ in the form of bread and wine. The Holy Eucharist completes one’s Christian initiation as well.
For Latin Church Catholics, Holy Communion is usually the third sacrament to be received – after Baptism and after the child reaches the age of reason. But before receiving the Eucharist, the child must also have the first confession.
As preparation for First Communion, children usually complete catechismal training and learn Church doctrine, prayer, as well as how to properly receive communion. The purpose of catechismal training is to help children deeply appreciate the presence of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Adults may also receive First Holy Communion after attending classes and showing sufficient reflection on entering the Catholic Church. With that said, depending on the situation, adults should talk to a clergy member to find out how to initiate the process of entering the Catholic Church.
How Is First Communion Celebrated?
Traditions of the celebration of First Communion vary from church to church. Usually, First Communion is celebrated with large family gatherings and parties.
The First Communicant wears special clothing for the occasion – typically white to symbolize purity, but this may vary from community to community.
Girls usually wear a dress and a veil attached to a hair ornament, such as a chaplet of flowers. In some communities, girls wear dresses passed down to them from their mothers or sisters. In a few cases, girls may wear their school uniform along with a veil or wreath.
Boys traditionally wear a national dress, a tuxedo, or a suit and tie. Sometimes, boys wear white gloves as well. In many Latin American countries, boys wear military-style dresses with gold-braid aiguillettes. In Scotland, boys usually wear kilts and other traditional Scottish items.
In Switzerland, both girls and boys wear white robes and brown wooden crosses. In several European countries such as Germany, Austria, Spain, and Luxembourg, girls are dressed up as brides, though recently, albs have started gaining popularity, gradually replacing bride attire.
Professional photos have long been part of the First Communion celebration as well. These days, churches typically arrange for a professional photographer after the session too.
Gifts are an integral part of First Holy Communion celebrations as well. Gifts such as Bibles, daily devotional books, prayer books, statues, crosses, and holy cards are commonly given. Crosses are arguably the best gift for a First Communicant – let’s find out why below.
Why Are First Holy Communion Crosses Great Gifts?
There are several reasons why First Holy Communion Crosses are great gifts for the First Communion ceremony.
Perhaps most importantly, the cross is the symbol of Christianity. Besides, crosses and crucifixes may be displayed in a visible location in children’s rooms. Each time a child glances over the cross, they will be reminded to deeply appreciate their faith. Their faith can also be of great support and motivation in times of hardship, which your child is very likely to encounter.
First Communion Crosses can also be found in many styles, and they may even be personalized with custom engravings, the name of the child, or the date of the First Communion ceremony.
What Other Gifts Could You Give On A First Communion Celebration?
First Communion Crosses are wonderful gifts, but they aren’t the only option you have for First Communion. For boys, for example, some gift ideas are:
- Bible or spiritual book.
- A statue of the child’s namesake saint.
- A gift card to a religious goods store.
- Spiritual compass.
For girls, some ideas are:
- Nativity pieces.
- Photo frames in wood or silver.
- Rosary keepsake boxes.
- Inspirational bookmarks.
When in doubt, you may prepare a monetary gift as well. Some parents put money gifts in savings accounts for their children. Monetary gifts are also optimal when you don’t know the child well.
Cash gifts of 20 to 50 euros are typical for First Communion, though close relatives of the First Communicant may give much bigger amounts. If the party will be held at the restaurant, then consider its costs when choosing an amount to gift too.
Aside from cash, you may also purchase a savings bond that matures by the time the child attends college.
Although a gift isn’t a must for the First Communion celebration, it shows your support and appreciation for the child’s milestone. What to choose comes down to personal preference – however, keep in mind that not all gifts are appropriate for First Communion.
Select a gift that is in line with the spiritual nature and importance of the day. Religious items, cards, or crosses are most appropriate for the occasion.
If in doubt or if you don’t know the First Communicant well, then a First Holy Communion cross is an ideal gift. When appropriate, crosses may be customized as well, and they are also available in different styles to better match the preferences of the child.
Monetary gifts are great as well, and they will be appreciated not only by the First Communicant but also by parents. But in some communities, they may not be deemed appropriate.