For several years this country went a little mad when it came to First Holy Communions (and Confirmations too). The spirit of the event was lost in the rush to get the best outfits and accessories, the most lavish travel arrangements and parties and, of course, who got the most money.
At one stage, during the height of the boom, many families were spending up to €4,000 on this one day. These days the figure is much less, with the average for 2013 coming in around €713. But kitting out your daughter (sons are a little more easy to cater for) for her First Holy Communion doesn’t have to be an expensive affair.
Here are a few tips for a stress-free and inexpensive Communion day:
- When it comes to the outfit, be realistic. They’ll likely only wear it for the one day, unless you want something on hand for weddings or other dressy events, and the chances of spills or grass stains etc are quite high. In any case, they’ll likely outgrow the clothes quite quickly. So budget accordingly!
- Keep an eye out in stores like Aldi – last year the budget supermarket launched a line of Communion clothing with dresses as low as €24.99, and matching accessories. The line went on sale from March 16. Or consider paying a visit to Oxfam – you’ll be helping a charitable organisation, and getting great new and second hand options.
- The Paul Costelloe range of Communion clothes for girls is now available at Dunnes Stores. It’s a simple, elegant collection at an affordable price point: The sash dress is just €65 and the long bow dress is €70 and there’s also a full range of accessories: hair bands, gloves, shoes, bags, boleros and umbrellas.
- In 2004, some children were taking in up to €1,000 on their Communion day, a figure which has dropped to around €450 in recent years. Aside from religious books, tokens or jewellery, the most popular gift suggestion is cold hard cash, anywhere from €10-20. Suggestions for children making their Confirmation put the figure at €30 or less.
- Encourage your children to deposit most, if not all, of their Communion or Confirmation money in a savings account. Teaching children the importance of saving at a young age will help prepare them in some measure for the real world, even if they’d rather buy several hundred Euros worth of Frozen dolls.
- Afterwards, consider hosting a meal at home, or group together with fellow parents and split the cost of a function room and meal. Many locations do special Communion rates, so ask within for their best prices.