More not your grandma’s religious gifts

With ordinations, confirmations and several weeks of Easter ahead, many Denver Catholics are probably in need of some religious gifts. Leave the holy cards and rosaries to Great-Aunt Mabel. Here’s how the fun people are shopping:

Baby priests

Photo credit: wikicommons

Photo credit: wikicommons

First, a disclaimer: Literally every priest surveyed said they would prefer money to gifts, simply because they get so many presents already. However, if you’re crafty and can’t help yourself, you could always make them a pocket priest kit.

Purchase a small confession stole, two small bottles, and a small wallet or rosary pouch, with a separate, smaller, waterproof drawstring pouch for the stole. Label one of the bottles “oil” and the other “water”. If possible, fit a small handkerchief/purificator and a crucifix inside. The idea is for it to be small enough to fit in his pocket so that he’s always prepared in case of sacramental emergency. A cheaper option would be just to get a small but dignified pouch and a travel stole, so he can at least have something to wear for Confessions.

Some companies also sell travel Mass kits. It might be best just to get him a gift certificate and let him pick out which one he likes best.

For anyone
photos from Catholic Threads

Photo from Catholic Threads

Would you like some clothes that hint at your faith, but would still look okay outside of a youth conference? Luckily, some designers have received the message and are designing away. Both Catholic Threads and the FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) store have fun clothes that share your faith without being a billboard. They include everything from T-Shirts with Joan of Arc quotes to “Cradle Catholic” baby onesies. C’est parfait.

For the kids
Story of a Rose

Story of a Rose

At some point in the last decade, crafty people realized they could make adorable plush buddies that look like saints. There are so many good choices; I don’t even know where to start. Denver’s own Raquelle Kato makes precious custom dolls at Story of a Rose. Jacob’s toy chest and Trendzilly have different sets of adorable stuffed saints (also, read the backstory at Jacob’s Toy Chest and prepare to cry). Waltzing Matilda Makes is great for older kids, as they get to actually stitch the outline of the saint in question. Shining Light dolls aren’t cuddly, but what they lack in snuggle-ability they make up for in precious whimsical painting.

Waltzing Matilda Makes

Waltzing Matilda Makes

Maybe your (god)kids aren’t into dolls. That’s fine. Catholic Child makes Lego-compatible Last Supper set, as well as a sweet Mass magnet board. Also, we all know that dolls and action figures are distinct (at least according to that kid who was really into Batman in High School), so check out this St. Louis play figure. While you’re at it, read up on his history.

Catholic Child

Catholic Child

For your boo
JoanofArc

Gail’s Designs

First of all, let’s look at tasteful Catholic jewelry. Gail’s Designs still takes first place (look at the Joan of Arc necklace!)  SaongJai has fun colorful rosaries and matching holy cards for kids and gorgeous vintage-inspired rosaries and jewelry for mom.  Art Angel is filled with vintage pendants that are classically beautiful.

ArtAngel

Art Angel

Maybe you prefer decoration. In that case, Religious Antiquities is your self-explanatory shop, although parents of many will probably like the whimsical designs over at Honeychild Forest. We can all get behind the gorgeous wall art at Brick House in the City and Hatch Prints, and there’s bound to be an occasion for the decorative plates at Timree studio. Rakstar Designs has a modern collection of both jewelry and décor.

HoneyChildForest

Honeychild Forest

COMING UP: Not your grandma’s religious gifts

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The religious gift market has seriously stepped up its game in the past few years. Gone are the days when an inspiring gift meant a Precious Moments figurine or another Bible. Now, fun and aesthetically pleasing inspiration can be found in everything from jewelry to toasters (seriously–toasters). Here are some of our favorites:

Deck the Halls

Cloister candles

Candles are pretty much the perfect gift. They make a flattering light scheme, smell good, look cute and are soooo relaxing. These are even better than normal candles because they’re handmade by sisters! The Dominican Sisters of Summit, New Jersey, support themselves through their shop. They offer jar candles, in addition to 100% beeswax tapers, votive candles, and tea lights. Their store also includes soaps, room sprays, Christmas ornaments and all other kinds of goodies. Order now at http://summitdominicans.3dcartstores.com/ .

Soul Stirring gifts

StJosephPlaque

St. Joseph plaque from Soul Stirring Gifts

Anyone can hang a picture of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the wall, but it takes someone special to make a mixed-media wall hanging complete with antique holy cards and vintage medals. However, that’s exactly the kind of thing you can find at Soul Stirring Gifts Etsy shop, located at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SoulStirringsGifts. It’s all antique Catholic meets shabby chic decor, with the occasional journal or bracelet thrown in.

Pope Toaster

It burns the pope’s face onto your toast. And–I have to say it– Pope Francis toast sure would be good with some Eggs Benedict (ba dum CHING)! It’s available from  ToastThePope.com

Solar Powered Pope FrancisSolar powered Pope Francis

Using only the power of sunlight kept pure by initiatives in Laudato Si’, this adorable Pope Francis doll will wave at you all day long. Tattered Cover sells them, or you can order online at http://www.kikkerland.com/


Merry and bright 

Pink Salt Riot

AmenCuffLinks

Amen cuff links from Pink Salt Riot

For the lady who loves to read, and also loves Jesus. This Etsy shop is run by a Catholic mom in Oklahoma, and is full of cute, bookish Catholic wares. Everything is made out of recycled books pages. She has “Amen” cuff links, “Love Jesus” stud earrings, and even coasters made out of old book pages with Pope St. John Paul II quotes laser printed on top. The full store is at https://www.etsy.com/shop/PinkSaltRiot.

stFrancisNecklace

St. Francis necklace from Gail’s Design’s

Gail’s Designs

Probably some of the loveliest religious jewelry and rosaries out there. The owner has been an artist most of her life, and was inspired by her grandmother’s vintage European rosary. She manages to get medals cast from the original European vintage molds, and the results are stunning. She has rosaries made with Swarovski crystals, St. Patrick pocket rosaries and Hail Mary chaplets. She has earrings shaped like the Cross of Lorraine and the Seven Sorrows of Mary, garnet rosary bracelets, and St. Francis necklaces complete with tiny nests. The precious stones and Swarovski crystals are a recurring theme. You can browse her full catalog of beautiful sacramentals and jewelry at http://gailsdesigns.net/

journal-on-table-2-510x510

Advent journal from Blessed Is She

Blessed is She Advent journal

If you’re a Catholic woman who hasn’t heard of Blessed Is She, prepare yourself for the best news you’ll receive this year. Blessed is She (BIS) is an initiative to unite Catholic women across the country in prayer. Every day, BIS sends out an email with the day’s Mass readings and a (short!) reflection by a another Catholic woman. The writers are a mix of single women, young moms, grandmas and everything in between, but all are rock solid in their faith. The website includes affiliate links to meet up with other Catholic women in your area, host a BIS brunch, join a regional group, or even attend a BIS retreat. There’s also a store that sells everything from T-shirts to digital downloads. The real winner, though, is this year’s BIS Advent journal. Every page contains a list of the day’s readings, followed by a short reflection by popular Catholic artist Audrey Assad and space to write out your own reflections. You can buy it now at http://blessedisshe.net/ .

Tiny tots

Chews Life Rosaries

Chews_Life_Soft_Silicone_Rosary_Green_and_butter__57668.1447127279.1280.1280

Chews Life rosary from Organic Mama

Probably one of the best innovations in Catholic parenting since donuts after Mass. These are rosaries made out of soft, food-grade silicone. Instead of a typical cross, they have a rectangle with a cross on one side and bumps to soothe teething gums on the other. They’re sturdily made, but come with a lifetime repair or replacement guarantee. You even get to decide what colors you want! These are made by a mom, and she has tons of other clever ideas, like nursing charm bracelets that let you keep track of feeding and feeding necklaces specifically designed to keep nursing babies from scratching you.  You can find the whole catalog at http://www.organicmamasshop.com/ .

Mass kit from Wee Believers

Mass kits

Let’s be real–Ritz crackers and grape juice in a sippy cup are soooo nineties. Today’s kids have the option of vestments, cruets, patens and all kinds of minuscule Mass trappings. Some are plush, like the Wee Believers My Mass Kit from http://www.catholiccompany.com/ . Some are brass and even include little monstrances, like this Montessori-approved one from http://www.ourfathershouse.biz/ . Denver’s own Lisa Cotter also has a post on how to create a DIY Mass kit on her (retired) blog, http://www.catholicmissionaryfamily.com/

Whole Parenting Goods

leggings

Leggings from Whole Family Parenting

This shop is run by Catholic blogger mom. She has a wide variety of products, but she’s most famous for her huge variety of organic knit baby leggings with the cutest whimsical patterns. Think everything from woodland scenes to bicycles to multi-colored airstream trailers. She also has almost illegally precious baby bonnets and cloth banners. Check out her stuff at http://www.wholeparentingfamily.com/parenting-goods/

DomincanHabitwithBeltandRosary

Dominican habit with belt and rosary from The Little Habit

The Little Habit (tonsure kits sold separately. Probably.)

This is an etsy shop that makes religious habits for dolls. Seriously! Does your goddaughter’s American Girl doll have a vocation as a Carmelite? Maybe her Jenny Gymnast is leaving behind the uneven bars to become a Benedictine? Well, here’s a habit. But they don’t stop there—they have are tiny rosary belts, monstrances, rose wreaths and even a tiny Book of Kells. Go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheLittleHabit to swoon over the cuteness.

Better than sugarplums (whatever the heck they are)

Benedict’s Brittle

Classic. The monks at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison, KS make more than Benedictine College grads. They also make delicious, sweet, crunchy peanut brittle that should probably be classified as addictive. The monks make it, often from peanut plants they grow and using the captive labor–er–volunteer time from college students. Also, the tins the brittle comes in are super cute. Visit http://www.kansasmonks.org/brittle/ for more info.

Candy from Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey

Candy from Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey

Candy from Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey

Caramel. Chocolate. Caramel filled chocolates. Loads of other sweets. It’s all delicious, and it’s all made by contemplative Trappist nuns in Dubuque Iowa. Go to http://www.monasterycandy.com/ to order and read about how the sisters use this candy to support themselves. You can also watch a couple of interviews with the sisters, which may or may not help with your shopping but are definitely adorable. There’s also a picture of a nun who appears to be sweeping a lawn. The whole site is a win, basically.

Honey and/or candy from Holy Cross Abbey

honey-ch1-275

Creamed honey from Holy Cross Abbey

They sell truffles, but the real eye-catcher on these Cistercian monks’ website is honey. Specifically, creamed honey. According to their website, creamed honey is “All natural honey that’s smooth, creamy, with the consistency of whipped butter.”  They offer it in flavors cinnamon to brandy, lemon to almond. Their website is https://www.monasteryfruitcake.org. Fruitcakes are only available at the actual monastery gift shop in Virginia.