After writing gift guides for some 20 years, I still feel pleasantly surprised by the quality and creativity of Catholic artists, authors and entrepreneurs. For Our Sunday Visitor’s 2022 Advent and Christmas gift guide, check out the leather and olive wood bag made in the West Bank, religious-themed phone covers, personalized saint pillows and many more exciting gifts.
The Catholic Family Crate
The Catholic Family Crate offers families with youngsters an engaging way to experience the Advent season leading up to Christmas. The Advent Crate includes neatly boxed cardboard “O Antiphons” ornaments, Jesse Tree cards, an Our Lady of Guadalupe tote bag and pin, a children’s daily examen notepad, cards explaining the parts of the Mass, beautifully illustrated liturgical artwork and reflections with corresponding calendar stickers to plan for and celebrate the feast days of the Advent season. With The Catholic Family Crate’s seasonal membership, families will receive five boxes beginning with Advent, then Christmas, Lent and Triduum, Easter, and Ordinary Time.
Price: $79.95 for seasonal subscription; $39.99 for a monthly subscription
“Waiting for Christ”
While anticipating the Nativity, spend some time with St. John Henry Newman. “Waiting for Christ,” edited by Christopher Blum, offers a selection of sermons by the English saint, which invites meditation on topics such as preparing for the Lord’s coming, our dependence upon the Lord’s goodness, Mary’s role in salvation history, and much more.
Price: $14.95 (softcover)
“Holy is His Name: A Journey Through Mary’s Magnificat”
Prepare for Jesus’ birth by having a retreat with the Blessed Mother using John Michael Talbot’s new book, “Holy is His Name: A Journey Through Mary’s Magnificat.” Line-by-line, the musician takes the reader through a meditation on Mary’s Magnificat — possibly the first Marian hymn. Talbot also reveals his inspiration for his well-known hymn: “Holy Is His Name.”
Price: $20 (softcover)
Rasha leather and olive-wood bag
Handmade by Bedouin artisans from Hebron, a Palestinian city in the southern West Bank, the Rasha leather and olive-wood bag makes a memorable and long-lasting gift. The unusual design of the bag features leather with olive-wood panels stitched on both sides of the purse (8.07 by 7.48 inches), which comes in black, brown or camel.
These lovely Marian notecards from Santa Clara Design feature art depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe, Stella Maris, Luke 2:19, the Hail Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary and the Floral Marian initial “M.” The notecards are blank on the inside and come with an envelope.
Price: $15.95 (six cards), $30.95 (12 cards)
Monastery candy’s “6 Gift Plan”
With the Monastery Candy’s “6 Gift Plan,” a loved one can receive yummy sweets throughout the year. Beginning with Christmas, they will receive a Christmas assortment of caramels (24 ounces); for Valentine’s, a truffle assortment (6.5 ounces); and for Easter, two Easter bags containing vanilla and chocolate caramels to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. In June, arrives a gift jar of chocolate fudge sauce (16 ounces); in August, a box of vanilla caramels (24 ounces); and for Halloween, a decadent box of hazelnut meltaways (13 ounces).
2023 Catholic planner
From Elizabeth Clare comes her spiral-bound 2023 Catholic Planner: Fully Catholic Edition with a floral cover. The planner follows Catholic life in the novus ordo and Traditional Latin Mass calendars, with all of the feast days listed for both. The planner allows ample room for notetaking, including nice additions such as timeslots from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m., goals, lists and things to ponder. It also has a novena tracker to keep on task with prayers.
“A Garden Catechism: 100 Plants in Christian Tradition and How to Grow Them”
Did you know that Mary would have laid her laundry over a rosemary bush to dry? The oil from the plant scented the clothes. Discover fascinating details about plants in “A Garden Catechism: 100 Plants in Christian Tradition and How to Grow Them” by Benedictine oblate Margaret Rose Realy. Published by OSV, the book, beautifully illustrated by Mary Sprague, includes Christian references to each plant, symbolism, growing information, garden basics, creating a prayer garden and more.
Handmade wooden home altar set
The handmade wooden home altar from The Catholic Woodworker is destined to become a family heirloom. The kit features a wood prayer stand, crucifix and prayer cards of St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary, illustrated by Baritus Catholic. The crucifix, an original design by The Catholic Woodworker, takes inspiration from the pardon crucifix. The home altar set stands approximately 10.75 inches tall.
Coupon code: “OSV10” for 10% off
“Frank La Rocca: Mass of the Americas” CD
From Cappella Records, “Frank La Rocca’s Mass of the Americas” is performed by Benedict XVI Choir and Orchestra and directed by renowned international conductor Richard Sparks. “Mass of the Americas” offers tribute to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe. In the setting of the Traditional Latin Mass, listeners will hear Gregorian chants, folk melodies from 18th-century regions of Mexico, and a gorgeous “Ave Maria” hymn sung in Nahuatl, which is the Aztec mother tongue of St. Juan Diego in 1531.
Baritus Catholic phone cases
Catholic illustrator Chris Lewis from Baritus Catholic has created striking religious designs for phone cases, including Christ as a priest. Each original artwork offers a reminder of the holy.
Coupon code: “OSV10” for 10% off of any three items
Gray Stone Pocket Rosary
Exclusive to OSV, this artisan-crafted Gray Stone Pocket Rosary features a tiny single-decade rosary with unpolished map stone — a type of jasper. Attached to the beads is a starburst crucifix made of oxidized silver imported from Italy. The pocket rosary measures 3.25 inches.
Home Blessing of St. Benedict
Looking for a unique gift that Dad would love to put in his office or den? The Home Blessing of St. Benedict features a decorative way to display the St. Benedict medals and St. Benedict Cross on any door. The medals and crucifix come with colorful knotted nylon cords and wooden beads. Through the intercession of St. Benedict, the medals, once blessed, offer protection and blessings upon homes and families.
Coupon Code: “OSV15” for 15% discount
Tweens and teens
Our Lady of Guadalupe tote bag
The Our Lady of Guadalupe tote bag features a high-quality reproduction of the miraculous image of the Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 1531, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego and left her visage on his tilma as a sign to build a church in her honor. The bag’s background is sand and gold colored and comes in small, medium and large.
The Catholic Cottage hoodies
Soft and cozy hoodies are the perfect teen gift. We especially like the “Adoremus” — Latin for “Let us adore” — and Sacred Heart hoodies. Both are unisex hoodies that come in several sizes and colors.
Holy Family ceramic mug
Your college-age kids will enjoy having their morning coffee in this Holy Family mug designed by Hannah Weaver from Violet Heart Studios. The mug comes in two sizes, 11 or 15 ounces.
Shroud of Turin lithophane night light
Great for a bedroom or dorm room is the Shroud of Turin night light. The comforting visage of Christ illuminates through lithophane, which has been 3D printed directly from the 3D properties of the Holy Shroud of Turin.
Catholic washi tape
The Stump of Jesse has cool Catholic-themed washi tape featuring saints, including Padre Pio, St. Thérèse, Mother Teresa and more. Use washi tape for journaling, artwork, cards and in place of masking tape.
Price: $12.50 (bundle of three)
“Thirsty, sad, and some of us stolen,” are the thoughts of Talitha, a teenager from the African Bush in Sarah Robsdottir’s new book about human trafficking called “Brave Water.” Talitha is responsible for fetching water from a distant spring during a drought. While gathering water with her cousin, Desta, traffickers fall upon them and kidnap Desta. Courageous Talitha risks her life to find her cousin. A multilayered narrative, “Brave Water” is infused with Catholicism without compromising the plot. For ages 13 and up.
Attach Pocket Saints to a backpack, keychain or zipper as a reminder of a favorite saint. Each Pocket Saint features two hand-painted wooden beads strung on olive color paracord.
Personalized saint prayer pillow
Littles will love these cozy 12-by-18-inch velvet pillows decorated with their name and favorite saint. Choose from 32 different saints, along with an Our Father, Hail Mary or St. Michael prayer featured on the back of the pillow.
“Seven Clues: A Catholic Treasure Hunt”
Just in time for the National Eucharistic Revival (2022-25) declared by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Scott Hahn and Maura Roan McKeegan have released a delightful new book about the Mass called “Seven Clues: A Catholic Treasure Hunt.” When a mysterious box containing an invitation and a scroll with a list of clues shows up on Peter and Julia’s doorstep, the siblings turn to their big brother, James. The trio tries to discover the meaning of the clues: “an eternal banquet” on “the day of the sun” in the place “where heaven touches Earth.”
Price: $19.99 (hardcover)
“Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server”
“Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server” by Theresa Kiser and illustrated by Mike Schwalm is an adorable story about a bumbling little boy who desires to serve as an altar server but assumes that he’s too awkward to achieve his dream.
Price: $16.95 (hardcover)
Sanctus adoration baby gown set
The Eucharistic adoration baby gown and bonnet set will make any baby look so sweet. Handmade with modern jersey knit and designed by Petronille Press, the set is deep teal blue with golden-yellow embellishments. The gown comes in three sizes: newborn, 0-3 months or 3-6 months.
Coupon code: “OURSV’ for 10% off
Hugs From Heaven dolls
Hugs From Heaven’s cushiony, squeezable Jesus and Mary dolls, free of choking hazards, such as buttons and beads, are the perfect present for babies and little ones.
“Kid Saints” memory game
“Kid Saints” memory game offers a fun way to learn the names of famous saints. The game consists of 22 laminated cards featuring 11 saints, including Joan of Arc, St. Francis and St. Gianna. The charming designs on the cards are original artwork created by Lindsay Trezza from Just Love Prints.
Coupon code: “HELLO10” for 10% off sitewide
“The Wise Men Who Found Christmas”
Children will love the lush artwork that creates a sense of mystery in “The Wise Men Who Found Christmas.” Written by Raymond Arroyo and illustrated by Diane Le Feyer, the book uses historical research to tell the real story of how the Wise Men came to meet the Baby Jesus.
Price: $17.95 (hardcover)
Our Sunday Visitor editor’s gift picks
“The Finest Gifts: A Christmas Story”
“The Finest Gifts: A Christmas Story,” written by Sandra L. Cole and illustrated by Erika Bentsen Norris, offers a new take on the traditional Christmas story. Told in verse, the tale unfolds from the perspective of travelers journeying to see Baby Jesus. On the way, an old woman receives ridicule for not bringing a gift, but in the end, she gives the most generous gift.
Price: $15 (softcover)
Oplatki Christmas wafers
Serve Polish oplatki Christmas wafers at the Christmas Eve meal. Traditionally, the eldest family member breaks off pieces of the embossed wafer and passes them around with a blessing evoking the first Eucharistic meal. Each four-pack includes three white wafers and one pink.
Price: $1.95 (four wafers)
Lori Hadacek Chaplin writes from Idaho.