It’s an honor to be invited to such a significant event as a baby’s christening. But with such a formal social occasion comes a certain amount of social anxiety. You want to behave appropriately, and that includes coming with the right gift. Money is a fairly traditional christening gift, because it can be put away and saved for the baby’s future. How much to give depends on your financial situation and your relationship to the baby.
How much you're expected to give as a christening gift often depends on the closeness of your connection to the child. If you are to be his godparent, you might be expected to give a significant gift of $100, $150 or even more if you can afford it. If you are another close relative, $50 might be equally acceptable.
The parents who invited you to the event are likely aware of your financial situation. If you are a student or otherwise living on a tight budget, they will not expect a lavish gift. It’s perfectly acceptable to give according to your means. If $10 or $15 is a generous amount for you to give in your circumstances, it will be gratefully received. You could choose to give the money in a memorable way -- say, inside a cute piggy bank that can be a keepsake for the child.
If you’d like your gift of cash to go toward the child’s future savings or education, you have numerous options. It can be complicated to put money directly into a college savings account in the child’s name, but services such as GiftofCollege and Gradsave offer a way to do that for a small fee. Or you you could give a savings bond. A Series EE bond, backed by the U.S. Treasury, pays interest for 30 years and doubles in value over 20 years. Series I bonds offer an adjustable interest rate, so if rates are low when you purchase, this might be a more affordable gift for you to give.
If you can’t give much money and don’t want to appear cheap, consider a gift alternative. If you have a skill, you could make something for the baby. Often a handmade gift that can be treasured for years has a significance well beyond its monetary value. Or you can look for a traditional keepsake like a silver rattle or photo frame. If you shop wisely, you can find something special that will be appropriate without costing too much.