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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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/
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/ .
Chews Life Rosaries
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/ .
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
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/
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)
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
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
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.