As you’ll no doubt be aware, people in the UK who would like their child to be brought up as a Christian, traditionally decide to have a christening for their child whilst he or she is still a baby. Although many families still consider this to be an essential part of welcoming their child into the world, there are now many other people who don’t believe that faith is the most important part of raising a child. Each family has their own different motivation for choosing an alternative to a christening. Popular reasons include:

  • Some families don’t believe in Christianity or God
  • Some families do believe in God, but want their children to make their own choices about faith and not have this personal choice thrust upon them from birth
  • Some parents don’t both follow the same religion, so choose to have an alternative to a christening as a compromise.

Having a Church Blessing as an alternative to a Christening

If you’d still like to welcome your baby into the Christian church, without the full commitment of a baptism, then it’s usually possible to have your baby blessed as part of a church service. Your child can then have a full christening at a later date when he/she is old enough to understand what it means and make the decision themselves.

Having a Naming Ceremony as an alternative to a Christening

For those that don’t believe in God, but still like the idea of having a special day to welcome your child into the world then a naming ceremony could be for you. They’re provided by the British Humanist Association who believe in placing the responsibility of raising a child upon people and not God or supernatural forces. At a naming ceremony, instead of ‘godparents’ you can choose adult mentors (usually friends or family members) who can assist in guiding your child through life in whatever way is necessary. If you’re interested in having a humanist naming ceremony, then contact the BHA (British Humanist Association) who will be able to advise you of venues and celebrants in your local area.

Having a Naming Day an an alternative to a Christening

This is less formal than other alternative Christening options. There will be no organisation such as the Church or BHA involved in a Baby’s Naming Day. Instead, you can choose to invite friends and family to your baby’s naming day. You can choose to hold this at a venue such as a restaurant or park, or in the comfort of your own home where your baby probably feels most relaxed. It would be normal to provide food and refreshments for those who you have invited. Then the day can take whatever form you wish. You may choose to read aloud the meaning of your baby’s name and the reasons that you chose for giving it to your child. You may also give a speech on how blessed you feel to have your baby in your life. It’s also lovely to read some poems or short stories to the group which reflect your baby’s arrival into the world. As with other types of Christening alternatives, you can choose a group of supporting adults who will act as mentors to your baby through his or her life. You can include them in the day as much or as little as you wish. Some may want to do readings of their own. An alternative to this is to just use the naming day as an excuse for a party with your baby at the centre of it. There will be plenty of opportunities for taking photos of your baby with your most loved family and friends.

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