Denver Catholic’s 2020 Christmas gift guide

Denver Catholic Staff

If you’re anything like us, then you can hardly believe we’re just slightly over a month away from Christmas. Although many of us have hardly left our homes this year and the days (quite literally!) seem to blend together like some weird marathon session of Groundhog Day, it certainly hasn’t slowed the passage of time.

We’re all in need of a little bit of holiday cheer, and thankfully it’s right around the corner. While it seems like everything else in world has been cancelled, it’s comforting to know that Christmas and the immense joy that Christ brought to the world cannot and will not be cancelled.

In the spirit of the season and to help spread a little bit of that joy, we present our 2020 gift guide. May your Christmas season be full of jubilation and rejuvenation!

Books

We’ve all likely been glued to our phones or a screen of some sort more than usual this year, but it’s never too late the kick the habit! Why not bury your face in a good book instead? It’s better for the brain, more enriching, and the pages don’t emit a mind-numbing blue glow. 

1. Consecration to St. Joseph by Father Donald Calloway (Marian Press), $14.95 
2. The Imitation of Mary by Father Quan Tran (Sophia Press), $17.95
3. Pray, Hope, & Don’t Worry Prayer Journal for Catholic Women: A 52-Week Guided Devotional Through Scripture and the Saints to Overcome Anxiety by Sara A. Smith (Holy Water Books), $13.95 
4. Theology of Home: Finding the Eternal in the Everyday (TAN Books), $34.95 
5. Theology of Home II: The Spiritual Art of Home Making (TAN Books), $34.95
6. Brilliant! 25 Catholic Scientists, Mathematicians, and Supersmart People by David Michael Warren (Word on Fire), $24.95 
7. Fatima: 100 Questions and Answers on the Marian Apparitions by Paul Senz (Ignatius Press), $14.95 

Clothing/Accessories 

Just because we’re Catholic doesn’t mean we have to be dressed for Sunday Mass all the time, nor does it mean we can’t wear some hip Catholic gear every once in a while. Here are just a few small Catholic businesses that are thinking outside the box when it comes to clothing and accessories. 

More Than You Realize Skyline women’s t-shirt

1. More Than You Realize (mtyrstore.org)
2. Catholic Socks & That One Sheep shirts (sockreligious.com
3. Pink Salt Riot Jewelry (pinksaltriot.com
4. Rosary Habit jewelry (rosaryhabit.com
5. Brick House in the City (brickhouseinthecity.com
6. PAL Campaign (palcampaign.com

Baby/Kids/Teen 

Look beyond the shelves of Target and Walmart when shopping for the little ones and kids in your lives. From adorable swaddles to books of the children’s and comic variety, here are a few Catholic alternatives. 

Noah’s Wooden Ark Animal Shape Sorter

1. Be A Heart Catholic baby swaddles (beaheart.com), $28 
2. Chews Life rosaries (chewslife.com), $38 
3. Custom saint peg dolls (TheCheerfulGifter Etsy shop) 
4. Noah’s Wooden Ark Animal Shape Sorter (Tender Leaf Toys), $99
5. Stories of the Saints: Bold and Inspiring Tales of Adventure, Grace and Courage by Carey Wallace (Workman Publishing), $24.95 
6. Lily Lolek: Future Saint by Katie Warner (TAN Books), $16.95 
7. The Four Gospels for Young Catholics (Pauline Books and Media), $29.95 
8. Friends Again by Karine-Marie Amiot & Violaine Costa (Magnificat), $14.99 
9. The Kingstone Bible Comic Books (Kingstone) 

Practical/Religious gifts 

While many religious gifts in the past seemed to be better suited for your grandma than your niece, that is no longer the case. Consider gifting one of these sacred gifts this Christmas season. Included are a couple of unique new Bibles, just in case yours or someone’s you know is getting a little raggedy. 

Little Rose Shop Coffee Mug

1. Monk Manual 90-planner, $38 (monkmanual.com
2. Rugged Rosaries (cordbands.com
3. The Catholic Candle Company (catholiccandlecompany.com
4. The Catholic Woodworker Crucifixes (catholicwoodworker.com
5. The Little Rose Shop: Unique Catholic prints, coffee mugs and more (thelittleroseshop.com
6. The Catholic Journaling Bible (Blessed is She), $49.95
7. The Word On Fire Bible, Vol. 1: The Gospels (Word on Fire), starts at $29.95 
8. The Augustine Bible ESV-CE (Augustine Institute), starts at $49.95 

Local stores 

It’s important to support small, local Catholic businesses, and especially so this year. Lucky for us, there are quite a few just around the block, and they have wide ranges of gifts that would be perfect for your loved ones of all ages. The best part is you can order online too! 

The Retro in Arvada

1. Bethlehem Handicrafts (bethlehemhandicrafts.com
2. Creator Mundi (creatormundi.com
3. Stargazer Fine Chocolates (stargazerfinechocolates.com
4. Gerkens Religious Supplies (gerkens.com
5. The Retro, home of Full of Grace USA and Motherboards (theretro.net

COMING UP: Preparing your Home and Heart for the Advent Season

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The Advent season is a time of preparation for our hearts and minds for the Lord’s birth on Christmas.  It extends over the four Sundays before Christmas.  Try some of these Ideas to celebrate Advent in your home by decorating, cooking, singing, and reading your way to Christmas. Some of the best ideas are the simplest.

Special thanks to Patty Lunder for putting this together!

Advent Crafts

Handprint Advent Wreath for Children 
Bring the meaning of Advent into your home by having your kids make this fun and easy Advent wreath.

Materials
Pink and purple construction paper
– Yellow tissue or construction paper (to make a flame)
– One piece of red construction paper cut into 15 small circles
– Scissors
– Glue
– Two colors of green construction paper
– One paper plate
– 2 empty paper towel tubes

1. Take the two shades of green construction paper and cut out several of your child’s (Children’s) handprints. Glue the handprints to the rim of a paper plate with the center cut out.

2. Roll one of the paper towels tubes in purple construction paper and glue in place.

3. Take the second paper towel and roll half in pink construction paper and half in purple construction and glue in place.

4. Cut the covered paper towel tubes in half.

5. Cut 15 small circles from the red construction paper. Take three circles and glue two next to each other and a third below to make berries. Do this next to each candle until all circles are used.

6. Cut 4 rain drop shapes (to make a flame) from the yellow construction paper. Each week glue the yellow construction paper to the candle to make a flame. On the first week light the purple candle, the second week light the second purple candle, the third week light the pink candle and on the fourth week light the final purple candle.

A Meal to Share during the Advent Season

Slow-Cooker Barley & Bean Soup 

Make Sunday dinner during Advent into a special family gathering with a simple, easy dinner. Growing up in a large family, we knew everyone would be together for a family dinner after Mass on Sunday. Let the smells and aromas of a slow stress-free dinner fill your house and heart during the Advent Season. Choose a member of the family to lead grace and enjoy an evening together. This is the perfect setting to light the candles on your Advent wreath and invite all to join in a special prayer for that week.

Ingredients:
– 1 cup dried multi-bean mix or Great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed
– 1/2 cup pearl barley (Instant works great, I cook separate and add at end when soup is done)
– 3 cloves garlic, smashed
– 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
– 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
– 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
– 1 bay leaf
– Salt to taste
– 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend (basil, oregano)
– Freshly ground black pepper
– One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice
– 3 cups cleaned baby spinach leaves (about 3 ounces)
– 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, extra for garnish

1. Put 6 cups water, the beans, barley, garlic, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaf, 1 tablespoons salt, herb blend, some pepper in a slow cooker. Squeeze the tomatoes through your hands over the pot to break them down and add their juices. Cover and cook on high until the beans are quite tender and the soup is thick, about 8 hours. 

2. Add the spinach and cheese, and stir until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve with a baguette.