Formal etiquette indicates that gifts are optional for baptisms; when they are given, keepsakes, items with spiritual connotations and savings bonds are acceptable. Attendees bring gifts to the reception, not to the baptismal service. Cash is an inappropriate gift for a baptism.
Appropriate general keepsake choices for baptismal gifts include silver picture frames, spoons, baby cups or other silver baby dishes. Engraving with the child's name and the date of the baptism adds a nice touch. It is a good idea for gift givers to check with the parents on the spelling of the child's name to avoid mistakes.
Appropriate religious gifts depend on the faith of the child's family. Bibles, rosaries, cross-shaped pendants or tie tacks that the child can grow into and religious-themed art pieces are acceptable for many Christian traditions. If the gift giver's religion is different from the child's family's, religious gifts should not be given to avoid possible etiquette gaffes.
General toy and clothing gifts are inappropriate for baptisms. Better options include storybooks and toys with Biblical themes. A miniature Noah's ark set or a volume of illustrated Bible stories are gifts that remind the child and family of the baptism day for years to come.
Savings bonds are another welcome gift. Parents put away the bonds to give to the child when he is older. It is also appropriate for several guests to pool together to buy a larger savings bond or another investment for the child.