While presents are not essential to the celebration of Christmas, giving gifts to others shows love and fellowship. Everyone is searching for something in their lives, and gifts that uplift the soul and point toward God’s love and peace can hold special meaning.
Seekers of spiritual knowledge
Those who are eternal students of life and of Catholicism would benefit, for example, from adding any number of books to their personal libraries. From books on history to prospective papal candidates to devotions, there is always something new in the Catholic literary world. Pope Francis’ “Christ in the Storm: An Extraordinary Blessing for a Suffering World” and Mike Aquilina’s “History’s Queen” are both new this year, along with “The Vatican Christmas Cookbook,” which is a feast for the eyes and the stomach and makes a lovely gift.
Devotion to St. Joseph has spread throughout the world this year, partly through Father Donald Calloway’s book “Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father.” This excellent book is a way to grow in love for this great saint. One way to enlist his powerful aid is by placing prayer requests beneath a sleeping St. Joseph statue, which would pair well with the book as a gift.
Seekers on a journey
In 2020, travel plans were canceled and trips postponed, but if a pilgrimage to Rome or the Holy Land is on a loved one’s bucket list, Verso Ministries is offering Catholics new opportunities for spiritual pilgrimage in 2021. Book a trip now as a gift for a loved one and secure their 100% money-back guarantee for all trips booked before the end of the year. Any trips booked Nov. 27-30 will also receive $400 off with the code “THANKFUL.” For a free glimpse into the experience of a pilgrimage, Verso Ministries is offering an e-book on its website, https://versoministries.com/, called “Christmas Around the World.”
Seeking childhood joys
One of the great joys of Christmas is watching a child’s face on Christmas morning — the wonder, the bliss, the awe. Childhood should last forever. And parents who want to feed the minds, hearts and souls of their little ones have wonderful options for this.
Take an adventure as a family or give an elementary reader a Catholic adventure of his or her own with the McCracken series. Written by Mark Adderley, these fun stories teach children about history and foreign lands while featuring a Catholic Indiana Jones-style hero and his friends.
Graphic novels of the saints use creative, modern means to educate youngsters with saintly heroes as well. Younger readers might enjoy learning about Marian apparitions with the book “Our Lady’s Wardrobe” or discover an old Christmas legend in “The Spider who Saved Christmas.”
For those who learn through play, there are numerous Nativity sets for all ages, including a brick-building one. And in the same vein as the Nativity set is a brick Advent wreath and even a Mass playset that are excellent tools for letting children practice the faith.
Seekers of beauty
Jewelry is a popular gift for the ladies, so why not give them pieces both that are both beautiful and a statement of their faith? Centered Jewelry has something to meet every style, from sparkly glam to casual earth tones in everyday wear. Does she have a sentimental religious medal that she doesn’t wear? Religious items, once blessed, are considered sacred and should never be discarded, but Centered Jewelry can remake them into bracelets that are similar to their Salt of the Earth Collection. This special jewelry line incorporates religious medals from all over the world – particularly from Carmelite sisters – with lovely bead bracelets to create a beautiful way to literally wear the Catholic faith. Years of prayers and devotions have followed these antique medals that are just waiting to be treasured again.
Seeking the home life
Simple, deliberate and tasteful are popular trends in home design these days, and with more time being spent in the home there are ample opportunities for decorating the great indoors Catholic-style. Inspirational signs, magnificent paintings of Christ and the saints, as well as Christmas decorations and tree ornaments, make beautiful mementos. For customized orders, several of the businesses listed in the Crafter’s Guide — also in this week’s edition of Today’s Catholic — are able to meet these needs in stylish ways.
Beyond decor, deepening the faith life of the home has been at the forefront of many families’ lives this year. Books such as “The Domestic Church: Room by Room” or “Theology of Home” are good guides for building a godly home.
Seeking financial wisdom
Generosity is often touted at Christmastime, and there are many charitable organizations that desperately need help this year. For example, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, which maintains a presence in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, has its own catalog of financial gifts that support the sisters’ endeavors in education, spirituality and ecology and would also honor a loved one.
In lieu of gifts, some children receive money; this could be a good opportunity to instill personal financial responsibility in young ones. Notre Dame Federal Credit Union has special savings plans for children from birth all though college age, to plan for their future.
Seeking the unknown
Every shopping list seems to have that hard-to-buy-for person. But everyone likes food, especially the no-prep, no-mess kind, so why not try out some new restaurants? There has never been a better time to support small businesses. Eateries such as Caruso’s in Angola, St. James in Avilla, The Italian Connection in Fort Wayne and The Galley in Decatur cater to different appetites and are all Catholic-owned businesses.
Some parishes also support local businesses while simultaneously raising money for themselves by participating in SCRIP or parish rewards programs. Before buying gift cards or services elsewhere, checking into these two options might have the added benefit of returning a portion of the money spent to one’s parish.
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