It’s that magical and exciting time of year: shopping carts are filled, festive cards are addressed and mailed out, and stockings are hung by the chimney with care. The hustle and bustle of the Chrismtas season is upon us, and while you’re hopefully adequately celebrating the wonderful Advent season, there’s no doubt that most people are hanging lights, decorating trees, and running around buying and wrapping presents for family and friends.
There’s something quite special about giving (and receiving) Christmas gifts. We’re celebrating the presence of Jesus Christ in the world with presents bestowed upon those we love. Christmas gifts are usually given with great thought and care: we think about the person’s likes and dislikes, things they would use or perhaps want, and we joyfully give a gift that says, “You matter and I care about you.”
Some of the most important people in our lives, who are with us in some of the most significant moments of life, are our priests. Men who have given their lives in service to the Church, who are with us in birth and death, in success and failure, in joy and sorrow. They guide us with wisdom, offer advice in confusion, have a steady hand during challenges, and give us the greatest gift of all: the Blessed Sacrament. This Christmas season, why not give a thoughtful, unique gift to the priest(s) in your life, showing them that in this time of immense joy and celebration of the coming of our Lord, you are thinking about (and are grateful for) them? Here are a few unique ideas:
1) Be Not Afraid temporary tattoo
A priest’s priest, Pope St. John Paul II’s most famous encouragement, “Be Not Afraid” is now available in a temporary tattoo written in his own handwriting. This is for the hipster parish priest who wants some cool ink, but perhaps is afraid to commit to permanent tattoos. You can purchase it through Catholic artisan Lindsay Trezza here!
2) Gift card for (his favorite hobby)
Maybe your priest loves to read? Or maybe he’s a real outdoorsy type? Perhaps your parish priest loves to paint? Find out what your parish priest does when he’s not at the parish office and give him a gift certificate to support that hobby.
3) A nice bottle of “spirits”
I don’t think many priests would turn down a nice bottle of wine or a good bottle of Scotch. Wrap the bottle(s) up with these festive ugly wine sweaters.
4) A copy of Drinking with the Saints
To go along with that nice bottle of spirits, gift your priest with a copy of “Drinking with the Saints” – a daily guide to original recipes and interesting Saint bios. Might as well add some Catholic flair to the enjoyment of that gift you’ve given, right? It’s available at your local Catholic bookstore and online here.
5) A night with your family
When priests were asked what they liked getting the most, and overwhelmingly, the answer was that they didn’t really need “stuff,” but they enjoyed their parishioners’ company. Invite your parish priest over to a homemade meal and board game night. They might surprise you with how competitive they are at Monopoly and how hungry they are for a home-cooked meal and the pleasure of a family’s time.
6) Letters to my Brother Priests by Pope John Paul II
Every priest needs encouragement, support, and further formation. This collection of letters from Pope St. John Paul II are designed to speak to the heart and soul of a priest who is entrenched in the daily grind of ministry. You can find it at your local Catholic bookstore and online here.
7) Tickets to a…
Maybe your priest loves to go to the movies? Or maybe he has a favorite comedian, band, or show? Rather than clutter up his house, give him a night out to enjoy something that will make him laugh and bring him joy.
8) A subscription to Evernote Premium with a Moleskine Notebook
A few of my dearest priest friends always tell me how busy they are, and how challenging it is to stay organized. I imagine this is a struggle for many priests who find themselves juggling all manner of responsibilities. Gift your busy priest with a subscription to Evernote, a digital notebook/organization system they can sync on their computer, tablet, and phone, and a hard copy notebook that will help keep them focused and organized. Available online here.
9) Fun socks
Our priests work hard. They give their lives in service to us, and they probably wouldn’t say no to some spending money they can use to buy any of the things on this list you didn’t get them. Put it in this fun card.