I originally developed this idea for a baptism that took place at Epiphany. I was thinking about gifts and journeys and came up with the idea of giving everyone a small present. That present was one baby sock.
I wrapped up each baby sock individually, enough for everyone to have a gift. I handed out the little parcels to everyone present, and then told them to open them. There was laughter and smiles as the socks were revealed.
I invited them to take the sock home with them, keep it somewhere and every time they looked at it to pray for the child who had been baptised on their amazing journey of faith and life, to pray for all the children in their family, and if they wanted to pray for children in the world.
Not a sock was left behind.
I tried the idea again a few weeks later at a stand-alone baptism. I was less sure that people would take the gift, so only gave parcels to the christening party – parents, godparents, grandparents.
However, I stood at the door with a box full of packages– and gave away over 50 to the guests who asked for them, mostly friends of the parents.
I’ve now done this at baptisms and training events, and it works well.
On other occasions I have also bought a pair of christening shoes for the child being baptised – little trainers – and used them to talk about the journey ahead as an adventure.
Practical tip: buy baby socks in discount stores at sale time, often 10 pairs for under £2. Alternatively, ask a local charity shop if you can sort through the baby sock box: it turns out that baby socks don’t sell well in charity shops!