As a godparent choosing a gift for your godchild can be a real minefield. Babies are especially difficult as they grow and develop so fast that clothes and toys are often redundant within 6 weeks. The old faithful “he will grow into it” gift choice has served godparents well over the years, if in doubt make sure the gift is advanced and the child will eventually get a lot of enjoyment from it.
In my experience as a father of 2 young boys, the notion of buying gifts for kids that are about 2 years advanced for them is far from ideal. Our oldest boy has 3 godparents (it seemed like a good idea at the time) so he is overrun with toys at Christmas, birthdays etc.
The problem with giving kids toys that are too advanced for them is that by the time they are old enough to properly appreciate them, they have grown bored with, or, in many cases, wrecked the toy and never get the intended use from it. Also, having toys lying around the house that your kids don’t use is a waste of precious space that most homes simply don’t have.
Godparents often feel that their gift should be special and should stand out from the crowd. This can be a double edged sword, if you get it right and everyone loves the gift you can bask in the glory of being the cool godparent who always delivers. Get it wrong and prepare to be the subject of family ridicule at every birthday/Christmas until some other poor fool takes up the mantle!
As an uncle of five, father of two and godparent of one (all under 3), I believe I can call myself experienced in the buying and receiving of gifts for young kids, so here are my top 5 tips for godparents when buying gifts:
1. Big is not necessarily beautiful. Small, high quality toys can be far superior to bulky cheap ones.
2. You can never go wrong with books. There are some fantastic children’s books available these days.
3. Try and be different, its easy to get personalised or unique gifts online.
4. Be gender specific, it’s amazing how quickly boys go tractor and girls go dolly.
5. Do a bit of research (phone the child’s mother!)
As with all gift buying the secret is to give yourself plenty of time to get something decent. Godparents often forget their godchild’s birthday, so set up a simple reminder on your phone or email about a week in advance.
Christening gifts are a once off so it is best to avoid toys as people generally prefer a more commemorative gift that can be kept for years to come.