In some countries, like the UK where I used to live, christening your child is take-it-or-leave-it, depending on your beliefs. In other countries, like Greece where I live now, it’s more like a rite of passage – although of course it’s still optional. To be honest, I’m not overly fussed about the whole thing – to me, God is everywhere – rituals and ceremonies hold little religious significance for me. But it’s important to the people I care about, and you know me – any excuse for a party!
I had our first daughter’s christening in the UK, because we still lived there at the time. Even though there were over 100 guests (it was her first birthday, too) it was fairly low-key – a laid-back service, cake afterwards, then beer and hog roast in the local pub. For my second daughter, in Greece, we had an outdoor service at a tiny church in the ecological park, then lunch at a local taverna. I did do the Greek thing of christening favours and sweets after the service, both of which I made myself, but I didn’t have the finances to do exactly what I wanted. I was also still depressed, so I didn’t have the will to find myself a nice dress, the energy to search for entertainers and photographers, or the ability to enjoy myself.
Daughter number three – I was determined – would be different. Usually, for a Greek Orthodox christening, people pull out all the stops. And that’s what I planned to do. I’d saved a bit of money for it and I wanted to do the whole shebang – one last blowout before I get my head down and start spending wisely (haha). I planned and made everything myself (except the food – easy now!) and below are the details.
DISCLOSURE: I’ve added links to the places I purchased the materials, in case you want to recreate anything yourself. Please be aware that the links to Amazon are affiliate links, so if you buy anything via the link, I get a teeny tiny percentage (at no extra cost to you, of course!)
The first thing to sort out was, of course, the invitations. I designed these myself on Canva and had them printed at a local shop on thick card.
I used twine to dercorate the invitations, and a heart-shaped gift tag to address them. Then, I finished them off with a large red and white polka dot bead.
In Greece, we call christening/wedding favours boubounieres. I got the idea for these before I even gave birth to the baby! I was in my boss’s office, staring around while I was waiting for her to finish a phone call, and I noticed she had a pretty wicker wreath with little ornaments stuck to it. It was so cute!
So I found a florist supplier in the UK that sold these wicker wreaths in bulk, and that also made them in white and, of course, heart-shaped! They each came with a gingham ribbon attached, but we’re doing polka dots here, so those had to come off. (If anyone can think of a use for 100 lengths of gingham ribbon, let me know!)
Every heart is unique, which fits perfectly with my christening tagline from Snowflakes by Cerrie Burnell: “Every snowflake is different, every snowflake is perfect.” Speaking of which … .
Gift for the Kids
I wanted to give the children who attended my youngest daughter’s christening something extra. After all, wicker hearts are all very well, but they don’t do anything. I settled on a book because I love books and, plus, I had the perfect one in mind.
This is Snowflakes by Cerrie Burnell. It’s beautifully illustrated by .. and the drawings go perfectly with my christening theme – spots and stripes and red hearts. The main character also shares a name with my daughter, and there is a line in the book which says, “My name is Mia and I came with the snow.” I love it because, the day my daughter was born, we got the winter’s first snowfall in Athens! The book also has that great message, which is very appropriate for the third of three girls in a family: “Every snowflake is different, every snowflake is perfect.” I love this book! (Did you notice?)
I gave one to each family, with a handwritten inscription in the front, in a simple paper bag tied with polka dot ribbon.
These are usually sugared almonds and they’re traditional gifts at every wedding and christening here. To be honest, I was ready to skip them at Middle Child’s christening, but my mother-in-law wouldn’t hear of it! So I included them this time (don’t rock the boat!) However, I opted for chocolate-filled, sugar-coated sweets as they’re more child-friendly … and I ordered them heart-shaped, of course! Red and white for the grown-ups and multicoloured for the kids.
I found these great polka dot gift bags online, but when they arrived I realised I’d need quite a lot of sweets to fill them, so I decided to use them just for the kids. The adults got these cute paper polka dot bags with a wooden heart peg.
These are given out to guests at the end of the service, and they’re usually on pins (not kid-friendly – and they always fall off and get lost). Lately, I’ve seen a few on bracelets, which is a nice idea, but my friend had key rings at her son’s christening and I liked that even more. Of course, I asked her first if it was OK to totally steal her idea, but luckily she was cool with it!
I used mini key rings and bought thread, red and white beads from a local shop. The red glitter heart beads and cute crosses I got from Amazon – I was really chuffed to find ones with hearts on! Fortunately, I roped my seven-year-old into helping me assemble everything – 100 key rings is a lot!
Of course, no Greek christening would be complete without a little something sweet after the service. I’ve seen desserts, ice cream, cake pops and cookies, but I opted for cupcakes … mainly because I found these polka dot cases with ready-made heart flags.
I love cupcakes, so I had a hard time choosing the flavours. Eventually I settled for:
Coconut with coconut frosting
Lemon with lemon butter cream frosting
Red velvet with cream cheese frosting
Chocolate with chocolate butter cream frosting
(Well, that last one was more of a direct order from my three-year-old!)
Naturally, I made sure I ordered polka dot napkins, too!
I had a great time on the day, and so much fun planning everything. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was filling 50 polka dot balloons with helium in the dead of night! Actually, filling them was fun – Middle Child’s godfather hired me a cannister of helium for the job – but tying all the knots was murder!
I also hired a magical pirate (Melania the Clown Doctor) who I highly recommend! She does a great show – I had her as a fairy for my daughter’s 7th birthday, too – and she’s a lovely person. She also does balloon animals and face-painting!