Tis the season for First Communion gifts

Tis the season for First Communion gifts

A reader writes of a dilemma. His neighbor’s son is receiving his First Communion in a week and he wants to get the 9-year-old an appropriate gift. He gets the impression that they’re not very devout and isn’t even sure if they go to Mass regularly.

He’s thinking about Amy Welborn’s “Loyola Kid’s Book of Heroes”, which presents a saint or Catholic hero and the virtue they embody. But he doesn’t know if the boy is a reader.

Too often faith is seen as a girly thing, and too often religious book illustrations seem to be too childish. I’m looking for a gift for a boy. Girls are a little easier – you can get them jewelry or a scrapbook, but it seems so hard to get a good gift for a boy.

I’ve thought of the Champions of Faith DVD, but it gives me the impression of religious propaganda, rather than educational material. You watch it for maybe 2 hrs and then never again. Besides, I don’t think they’re baseball fans. A book lasts longer. On the other hand, few kids are readers, and his parents probably read even less.

Other than books, are there other products out there? Maybe a paint by number set of Stations of the Cross? I don’t know, I’m just grasping. I just wish somebody would make something to get kids more involved, and maybe some of it will rub off on parents.

First, let me say that the Champions of Faith DVD is very good. I’ve seen most of it and it’s not your typical athlete hagiography. One player talks about dealing with his own public hypocrisy, preaching Catholic values to teens in youth ministry and an on-field fight. If you’re a baseball fan, it’s worthwhile, but even if you’re not and you don’t know the players or their teams, it’s still worth watching.

Okay, so what are other good First Communion gifts for a Catholic boy who may or may not go to Mass with his family regularly and may not be a reader?

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • How about a rosary?  Or, a Bible for kids?  Doesn’t get any more boyish than the OT.

    I gave Amy Welborn’s saint books to my nieces. I didn’t think they were too girlish.  But, one of my nieces is definetely a reader.

  • I’d consider a Rosary, and a book or pamphlet explaining how to use one. There are a lot of good products on the market that do this…just google “children rosary.”

    Then I’d begin adding the kid and his family to my own Rosary intentions.

    The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary: the gift that keeps on giving.

  • Okay, so what are other good First Communion gifts for a Catholic boy who may or may not go to Mass with his family regularly and may not be a reader?

    You mean other than prayer and fasting on his behalf? Intense, sustained prayer?

    I think they still make Children’s Illustrated Classics.  There are some stories among those that are “boy’s boys” stories that still teach a lesson – The Count of Monte Christo, The Three Musketeers, etc.  Or even less morality-based stories like Call of the Wild or Tom Sawyer.  It doesn’t matter that he may not be a reader.  The illustrations usually draw most kids in and they discover that mayber reading isn’t so bad.  And a love of reading is what every kid needs.  Anything that would tend to foster that would be good.

  • You know, when I made first Communion, several peopl gave me saints’ books and “First Mass Books.”  I was a “reader,” but I didn’t consider myself particularly “religious” at the time.  My feelings towards God were mixed then.  I was barely out of my pop-culture Hindu and atheist stages I went through from around ages 5-7, but on the other hand I knew all the answers on our first Communion questions.

    Anyway, I suddenly had all this “religious stuff” that I hadn’t particularly “wanted,” but it was appealing enough that I explored it, and it was the catalyst to my being the Catholic I am today.

    So I strongly recommend something like the Welborn book.  THere are various “Lives of the Saints” books for children put together by Fr. Lawrence Lovasik that are all very good.  Some have longer stories than others; usually they’re the same stories repackaged in different sets.

    There’s an older series called _Miniature Stories of the Saints_ by Fr. Daniel Lord.  My wife and I were both given that set for First Communion, and we both credit it very strongly with our spiritual development.  It’s an old series from the 40s with beautiful 19th Century/Early 20th Century style paintings and one-page bios.

  • I have to say that even if the child isn’t a reader, I still give a book. Maybe, who knows, that book will be “the one” that will hook him for life. Maybe he’ll pick it up on some rainy afternoon and it will change his mind about reading or about the saints. I’ve had books that sat on the shelf for years before the right day came I and then I wondered why I’d never read it.

    I loved the Loyola Kids Book of Heroes, by the way. The individual stories are short and engaging. I liked the way it was organized by virtues. I think it would be an eminently suitable gift for First Communion.

  • Well, since it’s for First Communion and a nine year old try to find the stories of the miracles of the Eucharist … preferably with pictures; and those saints’ lives extended to martyrdom or personal suffering attached to their love and faith in the Eucharistic Presence… about those who died protecting It and perhaps someone like Blessed Imelda whose life’s longing literally ended at that moment.  These would also instill a greater respect for just how future reception should always be. Nine years old is not too young for such stories.  We had them and Blessed Imelda was always part of our First Communicants’ procession.  It (she) was awe inspiring in our preparation.

  • Someone gave my son a “boy” type cross on a cord.  It was a wooden cross.  He wore it for a long time.
        CD’s—Christian artists.
        Coloring books—go to a Catholic Store.
        Something to hang on the wall—crucifix, posters.  My son has up a big colorful poster that reads “NO SLACKERS!!!!!!!!  When the fight is finished, when the race is run, will He find me faithful.  Will He say ‘Well done.’?”
      Again, go to a Catholic Store.
      If you do buy a book, place money in it, here and there.  Maybe that’ll keep him reading.

  • We’re a mixed Protestant-Catholic family, and, FWIW, we almost always now give The Catholic Children’s Bible from Regina Press. They can personalize it nicely, and, who knows? Maybe they will need it some day.

  • Of late, the gift we’ve been giving our nephews for First Communion are Fr. Lovasik’s “Picture Book of Saints” and the “New Catholic Picture Bible”, as a set.

  • How about linking to a Catholic goods store for Catholic stuff instead of to Amazon?

    Just a thought…

  • Hi Dominic, our affiliate program doesn’t even require that you use an affiliate id in the links. You just sign up and we track by domain referrer. Can’t get easier than that.