One in five children receives more than €1,000 for their First Communion — while their parents are feeling the strain of paying for it.
The MummyPages.ie website, which has more than 700,000 users each month, found that parents now spend between €1,222 and €1,525 on their child’s big day.
Between €493 and €791 will be spent on food and entertainment, depending on whether the party is celebrated at a venue or at home.
Almost one in nine mothers feel First Communion celebrations can be excessive — parties, gifts and all the fuss often overpowering the church ceremony.
Nearly one in four (71%) of mothers are worried that their children are too focused on the amount of money they will receive.
One in six mothers (59%) said the amount of money their children received earned them bragging rights on the school playground.
The average amount of money children were given last year when they celebrated their First Communion was €323, up from €299 in 2014.
However the biggest increase was at the upper end of the scale — 56% of children received sums in the region of €500 to €1,500 last year, compared to 31% in 2014 and, of these, one fifth received over €1,000.
Laura Haugh of MummyPages.ie said it appeared that families are more financially stable and the materialist side of Holy Communion is creeping back in.
“Parents are spending more on outfits and the celebrations while children are now obsessing over how much money they will receive in gifts on their big day,” she said.
Most mothers (63%) spend up to €200 on their child’s communion outfit, including shoes and accessories. More than a third (35%) spend between €201 and €500, while 2% spend up to €750.
More parents are buying their children’s outfits in specialist boutiques, with 42% choosing to shop in the retail outlets — up 10% on 2014. One in six (17%) shopped in department stores, while 9% borrowed an outfit from a friend or extended family member.
While spending has increased, mothers want primary schools to help cut costs — 70% agree that their children should wear their school uniform on the day.
Most mothers (59%) get their children’s ears pierced for their First Holy Communion, and while a third (33%) style their children’s hair, 58% will spend up to €50 on an appointment with a professional hairdresser.
The vast majority of parents (98%) believe money and a card is the most appropriate gift. The average amount of money slipped into a card is €30.
Meanwhile, Sinead Murphy, a consultant paediatrician at Temple Street Hospital, has expressed concern about reports that some children are getting Communion outfits altered after the Easter break.
Weighing children is crucial, said Dr Murphy, when she spoke on RTÉ radio yesterday and is glad it is part of the under-six contract for GP care.
Kathryna O’Driscoll of Kids Stuff Boutique, also speaking on RTÉ radio, said some eight-year-olds are now wearing dresses made for 14-year-olds.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved