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This was a new one on me – but apparently it is becoming increasingly popular – boys are being given pocket watches at Christenings. It sort of makes sense when you think about it … your life’s span measured in time … a gift that is sure to be used and treasured for many years … a gift that can be engraved and personalised with a message. In fact pretty perfect all round.

However, I would have thought this was a costly exercise … I mean, how much do you think a gold plated watch like this would cost?

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To tell you the truth … not as much as you might think. You can get attractive chrome pocket watches for under £40 … this gold plated one with a “skeleton movement” (you can see the bits & bobs inside) costs under £90.

Have a look at: http://www.pocketwatchhunter.com

Plans are underway for the Christening in three months time of the latest members of the Danish Royal Family.

Born on January 8th to Princess Mary and Prince Frederik, the twins are currently called Lille Pige and Lille Dreng for “little girl” and “little boy”. Their names will not be revealed until the Christening, but this hasn’t stopped the Danish public speculating on the internet.

When you read the most popular suggestions, I think you will agree, it is probably preferable to grow up as a girl in Denmark.

The most popular suggested names for the girl are: Caroline, Sophie, Louise or Charlotte ….

And for the boy? …. Well …. Here we go: Gorm, Knud, Sven and Harald

Don’t you just love those Danes.

Congratulations to Orthodox Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia II, on successfully Christening more than 500 children on one day, whilst celebrating Epiphany at the Orthodox Holy Trinity cathedral in Tbilisi. Families with three or more children could have their youngest child Christened in this annual ceremony celebrated on the new Orthodox date of epiphany – January 19th.

Whilst this is an impressive feat, worthy of a doffing of the cap from yours truly, Ilia II attains superhero status in my eyes for one simple fact …. he has over 7,000 godchildren – respect, my man, respect.

Just returned from across The Channel where I attended my first French Christening. The lady wife’s youngest sister is married to a charming French chap and we were invited across to fly the flag and keep the British end up.

Interesting …. very interesting.

The service was a scream (in all senses of the word) with loads of mini-tadpoles getting the treatment from an over-excited flapping priest. After a while it became obvious that the priest was making it all up as he went along and the assembled parents, friends and relatives – although cooing and oh-la-la-ing as required – were definitely keen to hurry the ceremony along as quickly a possible … why waste valuable time when there’s some healthy celebratory food and drink waiting round the corner at the local restaurant.

Suffice it to say everyone was very charming (The French are either very charming or very rude – there’s nothing in between). My only faux pas was when one of the guests asked me if my wife was a meringue. And I, thinking something had been lost in translation, replied that she was watching her weight and that meringue would be the worst possible thing for her to choose. This was received a bit frostily, so I had another glass of fizz.

It was only when I returned to dear old blighty that I discovered that a Marraine is a French Godmother.

Oops.

I really do dread this time of year. Not only am I exposed to an excess of my mother-in-law, whose mild insanity becomes more pronounced each Christmas, I also suffer severe bank related stress due to the legion of godchildren I have been lumbered with over the last couple of decades … each of the little blighters seems to expect a seasonal yuletide prezzie from yours truly. I used to leave this rather onerous task to the lady wife, but she went on strike a few years ago after we received a text one Christmas which simply read; “Tx 4 prznt – nxt yr cash is fine”

With boys and girls of so many different ages to cater for, choosing the right prezzie can be a pain in the proverbial … until I hit on a cunning plan – buy them all exactly the same thing every year. Basically collect a set of something (anything) for them a piece at a time. Start a canteen of cutlery for when they leave home, collect limited edition pieces (plates, figurines, coins etc) – basically find something that you don’t need o think about year on year … the kids will hate you for it, but the parents seem to appreciate the effort.

This may sound pretty obvious, but when planning your speech or toast for your godchild don’t forget to say a few words about the other godparents. It’s all too easy to forget your partners in crime in your Christening speech.

Amazingly, although the parents of your godchild are either close friends or relatives of the mother and father, it is often the case that the godparents don’t know each other very well. It can be a bit unnerving when you turn up at the Christening to find a completely new side to your friends’ lives of which you have little knowledge. You are probably a good mate of the father from way back in the past, but you’ve seldom set eyes on the other godparents. You get introduced to the mother’s best mate from university, who you have vaguely heard of and may have seen at the wedding and the father’s brother who has been living in Dubai for the last ten years who you last talked to on the stag night.

So see if you can have a quick chat with the other godparents before the Christening and see if there is anything they want you to say. When you get to the speech you can include them more successfully and hopefully avoid one of my early Grumpy Godfather faux pas when I capped a particularly turgid Christening Speech by forgetting the other godparents’ names …

Well, the Grumpy Godfather has failed again.

How was I to know that the elegant holiday drinks party we had been invited to by some old friends was also doubling up as a birthday bash “for The Wrinkly Friends” of their 21 year old daughter … I suppose I could be forgiven for not cottoning on to that one. The idea seemed to be that the poor girl gets to have drinks with all her parents’ old cronies before high-tailing it out of there to go to the “real party” with her monosyllabic, rather scrofulous, boy friend at some local den of iniquity.

So, I’m forgiven for not realising it’s the little lady’s birthday party. What I’m not forgiven for is forgetting that I am her godfather. I turn up at the festivities exactly the same way I turned up at the Christening some twenty years earlier … without a present and without a speech prepared … and with distinctly less hair.

A warning to all future godfathers: Don’t worry about that Christening Speech, you’ve got at least 42 presents to find in the next few years and another speech to come.