Maybe with the recession it’s time to look at the hype surrounding the First Holy Communions.
We have read stories about false tans, sunbeds, hair extensions and limousines to the Church over the Celtic Tiger years. Last year I remember laughing at a story of a girl who had received communion and as she turned around, her tiara lit up flashing ‘I have received’ as she walked to her pew. The 32 colour choice of suits for boys priced up to €400 may be at an end.
Holy communion hype
The reality is that if you ask most children what they are looking forward to it is being with their friends and an informal party with cousins, granny’s and extended family. A bouncy castle for smaller gardens can keep the children happy , but so can a Treasure Hunt that is planned ahead of time or some old fashioned games like Tug of War, three legged race, hide and seek and chasing.
Communion memories are of family & friends
When my first daughter was making her Communion, I bought a dress in Heaton’s which was passed onto her two sisters. The cardigan was knitted by an aunt, and the hair was done at home. My youngest daughter preferred her cousin’s dress which was made from her mother’s wedding dress. The celebrations were held at home with family helping with a salad or dessert on the day. A sit down meal in a hotel at €35 a head is a bore for many children of this age, who prefer playing with other children where they can move freely.
Pressure around First Communions
All Parenting begins with the parent though, and we need to be solid in ourselves to withstand the peer pressure at this time. ‘That is the way it is in this family’ may need to be said in order to pass on your values regarding the day. For some families, that may mean spending €500 on the Communion dress, and the mum’s outfit may come from New York, for another it is something different.
Cost of First Communions
An Ulster Bank survey revealed that the average cost of a communion was €750, split between the dress and accessories and food and drink on the day. This will just increase the financial burden many family’s are under and some may even go to money lenders. The Vincent de Paul is selling dresses for €30 and a complete outfit for €70 and has many non regular customers this year.
Build memories with an innovative gift
Regarding gifts again use your imagination! Offer an ‘experience’ and here are some examples. Important to include one of your children with the recipient or allow her bring a friend/cousin.
- A trip to the Aquatic Centre
- A trip to the Zoo with a picnic
- Two movie tickets with money for an Ice Cream Sundae after
- Treasure Hunts with buried treasure on Dalkey Island
- Train to Belfast (€10 for a child, €20 Adult) with a day in Belfast in W5 (interactive Science museum) and a pizza out.
- A Beach Day (on a sunny day!) with friends and chips on the way home
- Lambert Puppet Theatre Trip
- Horse Riding Lesson with sleepover
- A Pool session for 4/5 friends on a fun swim time at the local pool
- A trip to the Pantomime or a local amateur Show
Practical Parenting Tips:
- Remember what it is all about!
- The child says it’s about ‘being with my friends in church & a party with family afterwards’
- It is the Parent who models values for the child, be a good role model!
- Keep it simple, informal and relaxed
- Resist peer pressure, say instead ‘that’s how it done in our house’
- Decide your budget and work within it
- Take the help that’s offered re food/catering
- Dunne’s Stores flower girl outfits with accessories are selling out!