Charity donations instead of christening gifts?

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mrsrolfiemrsrolfie Forumite
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I know this isn't really money saving, but it comes under Martin's 'unnecessary gift buying' so I thought I'd ask you all for your opinions.

We're getting our baby girl christened in a couple of months. I know it sounds soppy but we feel so grateful to have a healthy baby with all she needs and it just seems such a waste of money for people to buy gifts when the money could go to better use, to children who don't have much or who haven't been blessed with good health. What does everyone think of this? Do you think it would offend people if we asked them to make a charity donation? And also should we set up a JustGiving page or just have a bucket next to the buffet so people can put some money in without it being done publicly? I did wonder if we set up the JG page if we should suggest a maximum donation of £10 so no one feels obliged to donate more? Or is that assuming people would spend that much on a gift? I'd appreciate any advice. TIA :-)
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  • notanewusernotanewuser Forumite
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    I would much rather make a charity donation than buy a gift.

    Downside of the bucket (other than the "public" nature of it) is that the charity won't be able to claim gift aid on the donations.

    Downside of the justgiving idea is the amount justgiving take from the donations. However, they will sort out the gift aid issue. There are other giving websites that take less from the charity - virgin money giving, for example.
    Trying to be a man is a waste of a woman
  • mrsrolfiemrsrolfie Forumite
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    Thanks - I hadn't realised some websites take less from the charities than others so will check that out.

    Funnily enough I think using these websites is more 'public' and encourages more people to donate, as for my 30th I had a bucket on the bar and asked people to make donations and not bring presents. I collected very little and with the exception of a few notes, it was a few pound coins and small change which I think some people just chucked in at the bar, rather than giving what they would have spent on a present. However a friend used JustGiving for her 30th and raised £300 - I think the fact that you could see who donated made people donate actually what they would have spent rather than chucking in 50p, if that all makes sense. Of course no one should feel obliged to donate to charity but the websites work better I feel.

    For the gift aid, I wrote to the charity and said it was a donation from me and gave my details to claim the gift aid, bit dishonest to the tax man but better for the charity (and anyway, all my friends and family are taxpayers) and planned to do the same again. But good point that they sort it out for you.
  • ScotsbrideScotsbride Forumite
    960 Posts
    Congrats on your DD. Some people still might give you things for the baby though and if they aren't personalised or are things for newborns then maybe hospital might be able to use them.
    :kisses3: Married 29th September 2012:love:
  • cef66cef66 Forumite
    133 Posts
    We asked for donations to the local hospice instead of presents for our 2nd son's Christening as we already had a houseful of boys toys and lovely books and felt that any more was unnecessary.
    With the exception of the Godparents, who bought keepsake gifts and OH's mother who always bought a bible for her grandchildren the other guests were all asked for donations, on the invite. Everyone just put money or a cheque payable to us in their cards. We then wrote a cheque for the total to the hospice with gift aid. We sent thank you cards to everyone saying how much we had collected in total.
    We still get mailings from the hospice and have given other donations over the years and we're really pleased we chose that route. I think it's great when people can celebrate something in their own life by helping others rather than buying more and more stuff they don't need at all.
  • themull1themull1 Forumite
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    I would hate being forced to give to a charity rather than buy something. Do people not just put money in a card anyway? and presents you get, you can put in the loft and keep for when your child is older.
  • themull1themull1 Forumite
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    cef66 wrote: »
    We asked for donations to the local hospice instead of presents for our 2nd son's Christening as we already had a houseful of boys toys and lovely books and felt that any more was unnecessary.
    With the exception of the Godparents, who bought keepsake gifts and OH's mother who always bought a bible for her grandchildren the other guests were all asked for donations, on the invite. Everyone just put money or a cheque payable to us in their cards. We then wrote a cheque for the total to the hospice with gift aid. We sent thank you cards to everyone saying how much we had collected in total.
    We still get mailings from the hospice and have given other donations over the years and we're really pleased we chose that route. I think it's great when people can celebrate something in their own life by helping others rather than buying more and more stuff they don't need at all.

    Asking for donations is so rude!
  • NoAngelNoAngel Forumite
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    Whilst I agree that the sentiment is lovely I have to say that the gifts my daughter got for her christening were wonderful and most of them are lovely keepsakes for her to enjoy for a long time and look very nice in her bedroom. Personally I felt that as they weren't gifts for me then I would let people buy for my little girl if they wished and I'm glad they did.
  • themull1 wrote: »
    I would hate being forced to give to a charity rather than buy something. .

    Nobody is forced!

    Just say, our baby is lucky to have everything she needs but if you want you can make a donation to local children's hospice.
  • PasturesNewPasturesNew Forumite
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    Speaking from the other end of life's cycle .... when you're gone (if the gifts are good ones) she'll have a "contact with the past" as a reminder. So, certainly for close family, it'd be nice to have something that was always kept as the christening gift (e.g. not one of those mug sets, but a silver trinket or money box) ......

    The fact people paid for a goat years ago is of little comfort...

    I wasn't christened, but it'd be nice now to have a little something and to know "granny chose this, bought it for me, took it home, then gave it to me...."
  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    Are you expecting a lot of gifts? I wouldn't expect anyone other than the god parents to give gifts at a Christening.

    Asking for gifts is rude. And if you send people information about a just giving page or put a bucket by the buffet you are not only asking for gifts, but asking for money, which is even worse. People will feel pressured to donate.

    if you think that people are considering giving gifts then tell them specifically not to, or make an alternative which makes it clear that gifts are not appropriate - a friend of mine had a name-day for their daughter. They bought a tree for her. Thye then sent eveyone a (tie on) label in the invitations and asked them to write on the label their 'wish' for the daughter. They they tied the labels onto the tree. Daughter now has a lovely box full of labels on which people have written their good wishes, love and so on, the tree is in the garden, and because everyone was specifically asked to complete a label it was obvious that no one was expected to bring or give anything else.

    I think that if anyone *asks* you about giving a gift then it is fine to say no gifts are expected but if they would like to make a donation to charity in daughter's name that would be lovely.

    I see the thread is quite old so the Christening may well have happened by now - what did you do in the end?
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
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