Your Christening Speech and Toast

Standing up at a Christening and making a speech or toast can be a bit unnerving, but, with a little preparation, you will find that the speech will almost write itself and there is really little to fear.

Start by thanking everybody, on behalf of the parents, for attending the service and supporting your godchild and the family. Don’t forget to thank the vicar or priest – if you are planning ahead, ask for their name and make a note of it … it is easy for the vicar to be forgotten or taken for granted. At this stage, if caterers have been used for the party, now is probably the best time to thank them for providing such delicious food and for their service.

You are not only talking on behalf of the parent’s you are probably also representing the other godparents, so find out who they are. You may be a close friend of the family, but it is amazing how often friends you don’t know from the parents’ past or relatives you have never met are asked to be a fellow godparent, so do your homework. If you are able to contact them beforehand it may be worth asking if they want you to say anything on their behalf.

Talk about the mother and father and how lucky your godchild is to have such loving parents. You can pick out some of their qualities or remember stories from their first months of parenthood. Although you should really avoid a speech full of endless “thank yous”, now is probably the best time to ask everyone to show their appreciation for all the hard work they have put in to preparing such a great party. If you have time before the Christening, it may be worth asking the parents if there’s anything they want you to say … there may be a special relative or someone who has travelled a long way for the celebration who they would like you to mention. It is a family affair, so consider grandparents, brothers and sisters.

Finally you can talk about the reason everybody is there – your godchild. Talk about everyone’s hope for their future and the sort of person they are likely to become. You can mention any traits or idiosyncrasies you have noticed, the support you and the other godparents will provide, plus the positive attributes they may inherit from their parents. Keep it light, and present the future as a wonderful world of opportunity and experience rather than a challenge or threat. Avoid clichés …. although the line that your goddaughter “will be blessed if she ends up with the good looks of her mother and the intelligence of … her mother” , still seems to be appreciated.

It is traditional to end with a toast, asking everybody to raise their glasses. There are numerous possible toasts. Here are a few, ranging from the short and sweet, to the sweet and saccharin:

“Long Life & Happiness”

“Wealth, Health & Happiness”

“We wish Charlie good fortune, health and peace on his journey through life. May he find love and comfort when he is troubled, may he find true friendship as he grows and may he learn to be kind and considerate to everyone he meets over a long and happy life.”

“May the Lord cradle you in His hand, but never close His fist too tight.

May your pockets always be heavy and your heart always be light.”

“May you live as long as you want, and may you never want as long as you live.”

“Be loving with your family, selfless with your friends and generous to everyman.”

“For a head that will always be bright, a stomach that will always be full and a heart that will always be happy…”

When you do make the speech, avoid using sheets of closely written A4 and certainly don’t read it out, simply use a few index cards with just the bullet points of your speech as an aide memoir to guide you through. Above all, stick to the maxim “less is more” … keep it short and to the point.

Good Luck!

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Whats in a Silver Hallmark?

Whats in a Silver Hallmark?

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Popular Names for Baby Girls

Looking at the latest publication of the Top 100 Baby Names in England & Wales from the Office for National Statistics, there seems to have been very little change to the top five girls names over the last couple of years – but there have been some big movers over the last decade. Ten years ago Amelia and Lily weren’t even in the top twenty – they are now some of the UK’s most popular names for baby girls. Sadly, some names have disappeared altogether including: Bertha, Blodwen, Gladys and Muriel – you will also struggle to find a Gertrude or a Marjorie at the playgroup.

So, who is in the top five and why are they so popular?

1. AMELIA
Amelia has shot up 24 places in the last ten years to take the number one spot. Unlike Emily (which has a Latin root), Amelia is a variation of the Germanic “Amalia” and is often associated with a hard-working, diligent character as well as a fruitful and productive nature. The Georgians brought the name to England in the 18th century and many royal princesses carried the name. Forty years ago the name hardly featured in the top 100 and its current resurgence is difficult to link to any recent cultural or media trends.

We are pretty short of famous personalities called Amelia. So, while the first one to come to mind is probably Amelia Earhart, here’s one for the pub quiz: The famous actress Minnie Driver was Christened Amelia Driver.

Other diminutives include: Mel, Milly, Amy
Foreign alternatives: Amélie, Amalia, Emilia

2. OLIVIA
Olivia is one of those English names (like Wendy) where we can be pretty confident of its origins. Up until 1601 the name simply didn’t exist, then, William Shakespeare, looking to name a character in his play Twelfth Night, coined the name for the wealthy Countess Olivia who falls in love with “Cesario”. Thought to be Shakespeare’s feminine version of the boy’s name Oliver, the derivation is from the Latin word “Oliva”, meaning olive. For this reason, the name is associated with peacemakers but also strength and reliability.

Ok, we can all name one famous Olivia who sang “You’re the One That I Want”, but can you name two more celebrities called Olivia?

Other diminutives include: Liv, Livvy, Livia, Ollie
Foreign alternatives: Olivie, Vivi

3. JESSICA
Jessica has been in the top ten girls names for the last twenty years or so. The exploits of one Miss Jessica Ennis in the 2012 Olympics will probably ensure it stays there for the next twenty years. Amazingly, the origin of the name Jessica is attributed to an English playwright we have already mentioned here … yes, William Shakespeare is credited with coining the name Jessica as well as Olivia. In The Merchant of Venice, Jessica is the daughter of Shylock. Shakespeare is thought to have adapted the biblical Hebrew name Yiskah which was also spelt “Jeska” in some contemporary bibles. The Hebrew word means “foresight” and the name is now associated with an organised personality who plans ahead.

Jessica Ellen Cornish was born on the 27 March 1988 … you know her by another name … you’ve seen her on The Voice … yes it’s singer songwriter Jessie J.

Other diminutives include: Jessie, Jess
Foreign alternatives: Jessika, Yessica

4. EMILY
Although similar to the name Amelia (which has Germanic roots), Emily is thought to come from the Latin romance languages. The meaning is often cited as “rival”, but another interpretation could be “contender”, “equal” or “peer”. So Emily is her own person, independent and up for a challenge. A very feminine name that was number 2 ten years ago, but still very popular. Corresponding boy’s names include Emile and Max (Maximilian has the same root).

Mini factoid: Hermione Granger actress Emma Watson was Christened Emily.

Other diminutives include: Em, Emmy, Milly, Emmie, Millie
Foreign alternatives: Emilie, Émilie, Emilia

5. LILY
Of all the girls names derived from flowers (like Rose, Violet and Daisy), Lily is by far the most popular. Lilies have always been closely associated with the Virgin Mary because of their pure white colour and the name still conjures up images innocence, virtue and purity. The name has grown in popularity over the last ten years, climbing 23 places to the number 5 spot. A few home-grown celebrities like Lily Allen may be partly responsible, but some commentators have also pointed to a more magical icon … Yes, Harry Potter’s mum was called Lily.

Other variants include: Lillie, Lilly
Foreign alternatives: Liana, Liliana

Finally can you explain this … Ten years ago hardly any girls were called “Lexi” – 1,659 other names were more popular. The name now comes in at position 46 (more popular than Rosie, Emma, Amy and Katie) … It is a pretty diminutive of Alexandra or Alexa, but why the sudden surge in popularity?

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