A friend of mine (and his wife) recently made me the godfather to their son (who also bears my name). I’m clueless about presents. My first thought is savings bonds (an infant doesn’t even realize it’s getting a gift, and these will pay “cash money” to the kiddo down the road).
In my family the tradition (going on the fifth generation) is to open a bank account for the kid; I know other families that do the same. One of my friends was given, on her 18th birthday, the booklet to operate on the bank account that her godmother had opened for her and put a little bit in every week for all that time: she had enough to buy a small new car (she used it for something else, just giving you an idea of how much was in there). Saving bonds would be in the same vein: you’re giving the kid a present “for his future”, which is in consonance with the notion that you are responsible for that future.
I had no idea godfathers are supposed to give presents. Annually?
I actually am a godfather to my nephew. I didn’t want to do it, because I’m an atheist, and got into a fairly heated exchange with my sister about it. I ended up doing it because she said she had no one else to turn to.
Nava, I like the weekly/monthly giving idea. It keeps the kid in mind always (even if only budget-wise, at times). I think I’ll try to use that approach with both this kid and my nephew. A continuing gift seems better than a one time “here’s the fulfillment of my annual obligation” approach."
Boyo Jim, in my family (and “extended family,” to include family friends) yes - gifts are kind of obligatory. Usually the godparent is a potential guardian (in the case of tragedy), and should be prepared to assume parental responsibilities… it’s probably best to have the kid think of you as a quasi-parent when that happens… It’s a shitty obligation, but an obligation nonetheless.
Boyo Jim, it’s not covered under current Spanish law, but one of the reasons Godparents are often chosen as a couple hereabouts is that traditionally they were the people who would take care of the kid if the parents couldn’t (for example, my maternal grandmother was left with her Godparents when her mother left her father for about half a year). Are that kind of arrangements part of the package where you live?
When I went to open the bank account for The Kidlet, the bank wouldn’t let me, on account of Not Being A Parent Or Guardian. I pointed out I was not asking to “have signature” (be able to withdraw funds), just to open the account and put money in it, my brother would come sign later; that it is locally Traditional both to open an account for your Godchild and for Godparents to be the chosen guardians if no others have been appointed; that in our local legal system, Tradition is before and above written Law, and that half my family happen to be local lawyers, would they like me to give one of them a phone call? They let me open the account and made a quick note to change the procedure; a friend of mine went to open one for her own godchild a month later and didn’t get any crap. I just wish I had learned this “be quietly and sharply angry” technique back when I was in school, it works wonders.
Money. We are uncle and aunt and we opened savings accounts for both kids. It’ll never be a lot of money; we’re not rich, but I think the parents save too, and it’ll be something we can give when the kid comes of age.
And you can totally open accounts here in a child’s name. That’s weird. Ours are the SO’s name + the kid’s name.
Yeah, I’d say money is the thing. If you want to give a token tangible gift, a silver cup or spoon with the infant’s name and date of birth engraved on it is sort of traditional and classy. I have mine.
I don’t think the status of godfather is recognized under the law in the US. IIRC in theory the godfather is to assure that the child will be raised the appropriate religious education should the parents croak. I was absolutely unwilling promise that, in fact I told my sister that I would do my best to make her kid an atheist, but she insisted anyway. It was the most meaningless ritual I’ve ever experienced, except for all the other meaningless rituals I was subjected to while being raised Catholic.
In the catholic church, the godparents are to oversee the religious upbringing of the child in the event of the death of the parents. (Back in the day, if I am not mistaken, they would also be responsible for the physical upbringing of the child as well.) In fact, in the catholic church, at least one member of the godparent duo must be a practicing catholic in order for it to have any validity. I cannot speak to secular ideas about godparentship, but my understanding is that it is an outgrowth of the catholic tradition.
Savings bonds are a nice gift.