On Sunday, I spent the afternoon at a gorgeous family Christening for my niece, who wore the most exquisite traditional handmade Christening gown I’ve ever seen. My sister-in-law’s Mum had made it from scratch and it had panels of white embroidery mixed with lace panels. Definitely an outfit to keep and treasure and pass on down the family – sadly, I didn’t think it was my place to take any photos to put on this blog, so you’ll just have to take my word for it on how beautiful it was!
LPD (Little Pickle’s Dad) and I have already discussed whether or not we’d want to get Pickle christened in the future, and we both instinctively knew the answer: no.
That’s not because we don’t value tradition or the symbolism of a Christening, but more because we DO value it. Although neither of us are religious, we have a great respect for those who are, and so for us, going through with a religious ceremony when neither of us belong to that faith seems a bit pointless. I grew up in a very Christian household and attended church every week for most of my childhood. I completely understand how important a Christening service is for those that believe, and I don’t want to make a mockery of that by just going through the motions for the sake of… what? A few presents and a memorable day?
I’d perhaps be tempted if I thought having Pickle christened would mean a lot to his/her Grandparents, but I’m fairly certain neither set of Grandparents would feel particularly strongly either way. LPD’s Mum might bat an eyelid or two from a ‘tradition’ viewpoint, but not because she has strong faith values. She just likes things done in the ‘proper’ way. It took her a LONG time to get her head around our fairly un-conventional wedding day plans! But I’m sure she’ll respect our decision.
It’s not my intention to offend anyone who chooses a Christening for their child for non-religious reasons. I can certainly see the appeal of a family gathering to celebrate the safe arrival of your child – if anything, it’s a good excuse for those who perhaps live far away to travel and see the baby. Especially if there’s a yummy cake as a further incentive! I’m not trying to appear morally superior or judgemental, because how can you be when it’s such an individual choice? I’m just saying that it’s not our choice.
I’ve been thinking that I would like to do some kind of welcome. But an event that is personal to us, and has the same kind of resonance and importance to us as a family as Christening would have to a family of faith. And it hit me – the Clent hills. Rather than a ceremony, I’d like to make an ‘event’ of Pickle’s first walk up the Clent hills, a place that is such a part of our family’s traditions. It’s where my parents got engaged. It’s where we’ve been going for big family walks every Boxing Day for generations. I have family members whose ashes have been scattered there. We’d been for a walk up Clent the day LPD and I got engaged. It holds so many special memories for me, and I’d like to create more.
So no, we won’t be holding a Christening for Pickle. But we will be going on a big family walk at some point. And I absolutely can’t wait.