When it comes to Christmas gift-giving, the problem is not that there are not enough selections, there are too many! It’s my hope that my 15-plus years of gift-guide writing experience will simplify your Christmas shopping, so you have more time for family and Advent preparation. For Christmas 2017, I chose 18 gift ideas for the whole family, and I didn’t forget grandparents and hostesses.
GIFTS FOR LADIES
Every Catholic woman needs a planner that lays out the liturgical year alongside the months of the year. Blessed is She Liturgical Calendar Planner (January 2018 – December 2018) helps busy women plan their days without forgetting important saint and holy days. Handcrafted and designed by Erica of Be a Heart, the planner has hourly, monthly, and weekly layout features. There’s also a space for meal planning, groceries, goals, reminders when to start special novenas, several prayers, and much more. $60 (8×10 spiral bound).
The Unfading Flower Icon is a lovely decoupage on a wood image of our Blessed Mother made in the Ukraine. $26-$70 depending on size. Allow 10-14 days for shipping, which is included in the price.
Set in Los Angeles, La La Land is a throwback old Hollywood-type musical transplanted to modern times. Two struggling performers, Mia and Sebastian, meet and after a rocky start, they fall in love. More than the plot, it’s Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dancing and singing, in the midst of painting-like cinematography, that makes the show. $19.99 (DVD, PG-13).
Our Lady of Guadalupe Doll Clothes from The Little Habit made by Summer Dubay who’s a Catholic mom of eight children. Dubay makes habits and a variety of saint-inspired doll clothes. Especially lovely is her Our Lady of Guadalupe copper brocade dress with a ‘starred’ turquoise mantle and black ribbon sash ensemble. Fits American Girl Dolls and other 18″ dolls. $45.
Our Lady’s Message to Three Shepherd Children and the World (Sophia Institute Press, 2017) by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle and illustrated by Ann Kissane Engelhart is the perfect stocking-stuffer. The book tells the Fatima story in a captivating and child-friendly way. O’Boyle also offers practical spiritual advice, which makes her writing especially appealing. The book even inspired my 9-year-old to say the rosary on his own. $14.95 hardback.
Kid’s Headphones by LilGadgets, with Bluetooth connectivity, are designed for comfort plus they have volume limits of 93 db to prevent hearing loss. What’s nice about these headphones is that there’s “SharePort” for connecting multiple headphones to one device. The headphones fold down for portability. $27.
Sacred Heart Journal from the Catholic Door features a lovely vintage image of a French lace holy card crafted by Maison Bouasse Lebel. $11.99
Immaculate Heart, Portrait of Mary Art Print has a modern look that will appeal to young art lovers. Printed on 80 lb. linen card stock, the artwork is designed by Catholic artist Elise Faurote from Rochester, Michigan, who is the owner of The Society of Saints Esty shop. Her shop also includes numerous original designs for prayer cards and jewelry designed by Faurote. I’ve featured The Society of Saints three times over the years in my gift guides because of the quality of the work and excellent customer service. $16 for a 8×10.
FrostGuard Windshield and Mirror Covers, made out of water-resistant PVC backing, provides a simple way to keep frost, ice, and snow off of the windshield and mirrors. Perfect for college students who don’t have a garage for their vehicle. An added plus, there’s a security panel that drops in between the door jam and the window to protect from theft. $29.95 for the set.
If you’re looking to give a priceless gift under $100, then 23 and Me genetic test is the one. Discovering one’s ancestry is as simple as spitting in a vial, shipping it off, and waiting for the surprising results. It was edifying to find out that I actually had the Eastern European ancestry that I identified with but surprising to discover my Irish and Scandinavian roots, which were unknown previously. $99.
It’s a sure bet that grandparents have a treasure of photos and negatives stashed away that need to be digitally preserved. Selected as “The Best” Digital Photo Converter by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute, this scanner captures high-quality digital images from photos, slides, and negatives. Years ago, I dabbled in darkroom photography, so it was fascinating to see my negatives turned into digital images. Photos that I overlooked and chose not to print are now in my digital portfolio. Plus, all of those neglected printed photos in boxes on my shelves are now preserved digitally. Looking through photos and scanning them is a great way for families to bond, so the Photo Converter is my favorite gift recommendation. $199.95.
NewerTech NuGuard Keyboard Cover is especially for that person — most of us — who eats and drinks while working on their MacBook. The rubber cover fits snuggly over the keyboard protecting it from food, little splashes of water, and dust. The feel of the keyboard is different with the cover, but the protection it provides outweighs any adjustment. Available in 12 colors for all MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Retina laptops from 2011 to current. $8.75.
GIFTS FOR MEN
Rugged Rosaries are made to last, and they have a masculine look, so the men in your life will appreciate not having to pray on a dainty rosary. I have to admit, I have many beautiful rosaries —one even made from my wedding flowers—but I prefer to pray on my son’s Rugged Rosary. I like the feel of the large beads in my hand, and the cord allows for some give so I can move the bead a little as I pray. $39.99 (RRDIGEST10 for 10 percent off).
Praying the Rosary for Spiritual Warfare (Our Sunday Visitor, 2016) by Fr. Dwight Longenecker offers a spiritual way for men to be the protectors. Fr. Longenecker, one of Catholic Digest‘s senior writers, has written a captivating and valuable book about the power of the rosary. Not only that, he provides meditations for each of the 20 mysteries, which address modern spiritual battles such as marriage issues, child abuse, the culture of death, fallen away Catholics, and more. $16.95 hardback.
The NewerTech Snuglet for all Apple laptops with a MagSafe 2 Power Connector is a dream come true. Apple designed these laptops so that the power cord would come off easily. The company reasoned that an easy disconnect would protect the laptop if the power cord was tugged on — preventing your computer from possibly flying across the room. However, this turned out to be too much of a good thing, so the Snuglet was invented to keep the power cord attached through increased magnetism. $14.99.
Say the name “Mystic Monk,” and most Catholic ears will perk up. You can only hope that if you give these Mystic Monk Hot Chocolate Mixes to your hostess that she’ll serve you some. The Carmelite Monks of Wyoming offer three festive flavors: Candy Cane Hot Chocolate, Cherry Hot Chocolate, and Jingle Bell Java Hot Chocolate. The proceeds help to fund the monks’ new monastery. $13.95 (12-oz.) or buy three for $12.95 each.
Christmas Bowl Covers from Great Useful Stuff is perfect for the hostess who is eco-conscious and who appreciates unusual gifts. These machine-washable cotton covers each have cute sayings including “Merry Munchies,” “Leftovers to Love,” “Yesterday’s Yums,” “Holiday Helpings”, and “Tasty Trimmings.” The larger covers in the set make great covers for homebrew kombucha. $20.00 for five.
Natures Nate’s Honey Gift Tins are festive tins containing a 16-ounce bottle of raw, unfiltered honey. Not only would these make a good hostess gift, but they’d also make an excellent teacher’s gift. $12 per tin.