Gifting Occasions for the Cross
The cross as a gift is a distinctly Christian practice. There are occasions where a cross is appropriate as a gift, and there is etiquette which should be followed when considering giving a cross as a gift. The most common occasion where a cross is given as a gift is at first communion, and baptism. Of course, giving a wooden cross as a gift is not limited to just these two occasions--any Christian would be pleased receiving an heirloom quality wooden cross for a birthday or Christmas.
The First Communion is a Christian rite of passage which some Christian traditions celebrate, where a member of the church first receives the Eucharist1. The first communion is common in the Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican churches (thought it is not limited to just those denominations). The First Communion usually occurs between the ages of seven and thirteen. First Communion is not celebrated in Eastern Orthodox (e.g. Russian, Armenian, and Greek).
First Communion Gifts
The family of the person receiving First Communion is usually the one giving religious gifts including crosses and Bibles; however, those not related generally give a monetary gift. There are no set rules for giving of religious gifts by the family, so the gift could be a necklace cross, wall cross (wooden or otherwise), or any kind of religious trinket or jewelry.
Baptism is the sacrament by which an individual is brought into the Christian church, and usually involves either the full emersion of the body into water (either a natural body of water or a specialized receptacle) or pouring of water over one or more parts of the body (usually the forehead). In some Christian denominations there are additional steps--in the Armenian Orthodox church a special oil (consecrated and blessed) called ?muron? is used to make the sign of the cross on several parts of the body, such as the forehead.
This tradition arose from the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan.
The traditional baptism gift is a sliver spoon (hence the old saying ?born with a silver spoon in his mouth?), and is generally given by those invited to attend the ceremony, usually limited to close family. In modern times, there is a lot more flexibility with gift giving for a baptism, and the gift can either be a practical item such as a blanket, or a religious one like a Bible, silver or wooden cross (of heirloom quality).