Emily Post’s Tips on Christening Etiquette and Silver Gift Giving

Emily Post (1873-1960) was the dean of etiquette advisers and in 1922 wrote tips on etiquette for christenings or baptisms. Some of the advice is true today, but changes in communication methods and modern lifestyles make some of the advice seem terribly outdated. I wonder what Ms. Post would have thought about how we behave today?

Here are some of the tips he gave for baptisms more than 80 years ago:

“Invitations to a christening are never formal, because no one but family and a few close friends are supposed to be invited. On this day, almost all invitations are sent by phone, except those who are at a distance, or friends. they ask each other verbally when they see each other, but it is correct and polite to write notes. “

This is the invitation form:

“Dear Mrs. (Name):

The baby will be baptized here at home, next Sunday at half past four, and we hope that you, Mr. (name) and the children, if you are interested, will come.


(your name)

All very rigid and formal, but it seems that the telephone invitations would be communicated by a servant:

“Mr. and Mrs. Gilding, Jr. would like Mr. and Mrs. Norman to come to the baby’s christening on Sunday at four thirty at their home.”

Whereas, today everything would be terms of name, church attendance and communicated by email, mobile / cell phone.

On the subject of godparents, Emily Post writes:

“Before setting the date of the christening, the godmothers (two for a girl and one for a boy) and the godfathers (two for a boy and one for a girl), of course, have already been chosen.”

“Since godparents are always the closest of friends, it is natural to ask them when they come to see the mother and baby (which they probably do often) or to write to them if they are at a distance.”

But I hadn’t realized that the invitation was supposed to be sent by the newborn:

“I arrived last night and my mother and father were very happy to see me, and now I am looking forward to seeing you.

Your beloved godson

(Name) “

There is much more besides. Tips on what to wear, the arrangement of rooms at home, and when to return the baby to the nurse (!), Before moving on to the important tips on gifts and christening gifts:

“Godparents must, of course, give the baby a gift, if not earlier, at least at the christening. The standard” gift “is a silver cup, a porringer, or a knife, fork, and spoon, usually marked with the name. of the baby. and that of the giver “. For example:

Adam Lee. From his godfather. Stewart hersey

Of course, there is nothing stopping other guests, especially grandparents, from giving silver christening gifts.

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