A Preparation Guide for First Communion: The Big Stuff

A Preparation Guide for First Communion: The Big Stuff

A Preparation Guide for First Communion: The Big Stuff

There’s a lot to think about and do in preparation for your child’s First Holy Communion.  From making sure your child is spiritually prepared for the big day down to the concrete practical details of party planning—it’s a big job. Here’s an overview of stuff you need to think about along with ideas to streamline your preparations.

Your Child’s Spiritual Preparation 

The most important thing to do for your child’s First Communion day is to make sure they are well catechized and understand exactly why this Sacrament is so special. Don’t rely solely on what they may learn from their CCD or Faith Formation classes.  Be sure that you’re talking about this Sacrament at home, asking them questions, and getting them excited about it. You can read more tips on this with this helpful article, How to Spiritually Prepare Your Child for First Communion.

First Communion Crafts

monstrance craftAnother good way to prepare your child for their big day is by doing First Communion crafts. There are many, many great activity ideas by professional Catholic mothers and homeschoolers.

I think the best crafts are those that can do double-duty, not only catechizing your kids but that can also be put to use at the First Communion party, such as First Communion banners, First Communion shortbread cookies, and First Communion party favors. Catholic Icing is a fabulous online resource for Catholic crafts for kids. I love this kid’s monstrance craft that would tie in well to preparing your child for First Communion. And it would be great to show off at the First Communion party too.

First Communion party

10It’s customary to have a small gathering of friends and family following your child’s First Holy Communion. I mentioned above that your kids can help make shortbread cookies to serve. Don’t worry if the cookies they made don’t look the greatest; no matter how terrible they may look, they’re still cute.

Have your kids come up with shapes that symbolize the Sacrament, such as a cross, a host, a chalice, or grapes. Use the shortbread cookies your kids made as the cookies to serve at the party, while you make the nicer cookies and wrap them in cellophane as party favors. Use the First Communion banner and other crafts your child made and display them on the food or gift table.

With the First Communion party food, keep in mind that presentation goes a long way even if the food itself is very simple. The easiest way to give your food presentation pop is to do layers or tiers. If you don’t have fancy tiered serving trays or can’t borrow some, create the tiered effect by stacking up boxes, tupperware, or even books and drape a table cloth over them. Keeping a unified color theme is good too, even just picking a single color works well. A clean, uncluttered display of simple foods like cookies and cupcakes goes a long way.

First Communion Photography

CaptureYour child will definitely need great photos of their First Communion day. If you aren’t a fabulous photographer and don’t plan on having your child’s photos professionally done, don’t fret.  There are plenty of photo editing tools that make you look like a pro, such as Picasa and Instagram, and both are free.

To help you generate some photography ideas, check out The Catholic Company’s photostream on Flikr and view the entries for their annual First Communion Photo Contest. There’s lots of creativity on display there. 

First Communion Apparel 

Shopping for First Communion apparel is easy enough for boys, because boy’s suits are pretty versatile. But a girl’s First Communion Dress is something special because it’s only worn for this one occasion. Picking out a First Communion gown can be a little tricky, but here is a helpful guide, How to Choose a First Communion Dress that takes you through the steps to make your shopping experience a bit more straightforward.

First Communion Gifts

It’s traditional for parents, grandparents, godparents, friends, and relatives to get the little girl or guy special gifts to have as keepsakes of the special day.  These range from rosaries to photo frames, from jewelry to Bibles. To get an idea of what’s popular, here’s a First Holy Communion Gift Guide for Girls and a First Holy Communion Gift Guide for Boys.

Hopefully this overview helps you to stay focused and organized while planning for your child’s First Holy Communion. Even if the day ends up being harried and your child doesn’t really soak in or reverence the Sacrament they received that day, don’t worry; you always have every Sunday mass to continually prepare your child to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. 

Copyright 2013 Gretchen Filz


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  1. These are very practical tips for first communion. I love the one about baking with your children. It’s the little things that they’ll remember most years from now. Thanks for sharing.

    Chief Princess | Designer Communion Dresses

  2. Hello, my daughter is about 12 years old, and she is almost ready to take her first communion, she’s been studying and preparing for it. And I want it to be very special and memorable for her. When I read your article I got a lot of tips that will definitely help me make the event special to my one and only daughter. To God be the Glory! Thank you.

  3. These are wonderful tips. We work with parents all the time as they prepare their children for First Holy Communion. I will share this post with them since you did just a beautiful job pulling all this information together.

  4. My 10 year old daughter just made her First holy communion on May 17th and had to wear rubberpants under her communion dress.i got her the youth size rubberpants in the required white and they fit her a little loose.My question is,should i put the rubberpants and her under shirt away with the rest of her outfit or keep them out for her to wear in her neices wedding in august as the flowergirl?

    • Well…let’s do this again. All the data got lost but what little I wrote may have been sent. As I was saying, Sarah, let your 10 year old daughter make up her own mind at the wedding what apparel she wants to wear (under her dress). “Purity” at a wedding of “another” is not her “own” purity. Although one might understand the authority of the church with it’s conventions and dogma — the symbolism of “personal” commitment in a “confirmation” to “purity”, and along with this the
      “submission” of that authority; a wedding is different. It’s not your “daughter’s” wedding and even if it was, she was “cleansed” in baptism, so she’s already pure. At 10 she is already making up her own mind how important it is to follow the parish’s strictness. She is now confirmed. Let her be her own individual. After all, isn’t that was “confirmation” really is? She is now confirmed in her own mind that she believes in the “Christ Consciousness”. She is saying, “Christ is now within me”. That’s what really matters, what is in her “heart” rather than some symbolism. But in First Communion and Confirmation, it’s alright if she (or you choosing for her) submitting to the infantile undergarments because you both “are” Catholic and along with Catholicism is following the Sacraments. But no…in my opinion, not someone else’s wedding, even if it is a relative. Yes, I’d put them away with the rest of her outfit and let the wedding party decide on the color of apparel knowing that what is underneath doesn’t matter.