My friend’s twins are getting confirmed on Sat. They have a lot of aunts and uncles, so I will probably skip the religious item approach. I was going to buy a savings bond for each of them, but buying them online looks like a hassle and I know it will take their mother forever to set up their accounts. Plus, I don’t know their socials.
Talk to their parents, because you can’t necessarily assume that the relatives are intending to go the religious item route, or even to give a substantial gift. If they are giving substantial gifts, they may be doing it as a group and giving something very substantial, indeed, which would leave smaller items as options. We gave our twins leather-bound Bibles (not for confirmation; they’re not that old yet) and had a local bookbinder emboss their names on each. It was not a cheap gift, but the result is very much like their grandmother’s Bible, which she has had since she was a girl. They like them very much. The twins might also like a small (travel size) durable (leather bound) book of Scriptures…it is possible to find Catholic versions with the Psalms and the New Testament, for instance.
If you’d like to make a financial gift, but not cash, ask her about whether the twins have college savings accounts. These can often accept gifts from anyone, and they’ll already be set up.
I agree with EasterJoy. My in-laws are all anti-religious, and I know that when it comes time for my daughter’s first communion (still years out) that they are not going to be gifting anything of the sort.
For what it’s worth, I still have a small statue of Mary that was given to me for my first communion. I love it. I recently gifted it to my little girl and it now sits on display in her bedroom.
Some non-religious ideas that I have are more “experience” based. For example, a pass that, when redeemed, will ensure a Saturday afternoon together with lunch and something fun. I love doing gifts like that for my nieces.
Mine aren’t anti-religious; they’d just assume that by 14 you have about all the rosaries, guardian angel pictures, Marian statues, and crucifixes that you’re going to need. My point is that relatives sometimes make those kind of assumptions without really knowing if that is true or not.
What my relatives would not think to give is an icon of each of the twins’ patron saint, or any kind of icon at all, for that matter. We gave our twins a statue of Jesus with little children and an icon of Christ the King, High Priest, for their 1st communion. They like both very much, and sitting together on their dresser it makes a nice picture of both the glory and approachability of the Lord. Anyway, there are a lot of really beautiful icons that can be had over the internet, and the art is not only adult but made to draw the viewer in. The local monastery and seminary bookstore also has quite a selection, and can order others in a short time…plus, they will mail the item to the buyer when it comes in.
I received my first statue (of St. Joseph) when I went off to college. As for my confirmation presents, they were secular items (a radio controlled car for one and a cassette player for another) from my sponsor and his wife and from others.
You can set up a bank account (I was actually planning on doing that for my nieces), but then you have all these legalities to deal with (such as having a social security number).
Can you trust the parents to set up a savings account for their child and you write the child a check?
I will endorse finding items of religion. Maybe you can get an icon from an Eastern Orthodox gift shop if you think that the child will get too many similar items.
I like icons because they are very adult and yet not emotionally cold. An icon invites you in, and the spiritual depth of it demands respect. Even a thoroughly secular person can see the profound nature of an icon, whereas they might miss the significance of religious art aimed at a juvenile audience, because secular culture can get kind of flippant at the sight of religious sentimentality.
An icon is religious art for a lifetime, very much like a quality crucifix or statue of the Madonna. I’d suggest including one of those little stands with it, so it can be displayed on a shelf or desk and moved around for use on a home altar, instead of needing a nail and getting stuck on one place on a wall.