*This article originally appeared on Catholic Stand where I am a regular contributor.
Nothing beats the scent of the deep green pine boughs, the contrasting bright red of ribbons, bows, and blooming poinsettias, and the robust love and laughter of family and friends. I love Santa Claus and the anticipation of “magic” in the air, the nip of Jack Frost on a crisp, starlit night, and the glow of Rudolf’s nose which I am sure I saw once as a child.
Maybe you look forward to meeting that special someone under the mistletoe, pulling out an old family recipe and baking those melt-in-your-mouth cookies, or walking arm in arm with parishioners singing carols as snowflakes gently swirl down from the heavens above.
I haven’t forgotten the true meaning of Christmas, but I also admit to thoroughly enjoying the celebration and gift giving and bustle of the whole Christmas season. I don’t want to give that up. I like to give and receive gifts, but in today’s society where the Salvation Army has been kicked out of stores, where employees are forbidden wishing shoppers a Merry Christmas, and where Christmas Day itself has become a month long experience in stress and excitement based solely upon the giving and getting of material things, how can we participate while still honoring our faith?
This summer I attended the Catholic Writer’s Guild conference and trade show in New Jersey, and what I found there amazed me and made me want to shop for Christmas right then and there!
The Catholic Marketing Network trade show took up an entire warehouse with row upon row of table displaying Catholic materials of every kind! I expected to see a few people selling Rosaries and Crosses, maybe some pictures of Mary and the Saints, heck maybe there’d even be a few Catholics selling Bibles!
What I discovered was so much more and a reminder that there is so much more to our faith than what we usually first perceive. I walked in to a giant warehouse of tables lining walls and booths back to back, forming aisles in the center of the floor. Each booth had its own Catholic flavor to it, and I could have spent a week there where my heart felt like it finally belonged.
I briefly wondered why more people didn’t shop Catholic, but quickly realized that it was for the same reasons I didn’t shop Catholic. I didn’t even realize this stuff was out there. Why would I look for something I didn’t know existed? Why would anyone?
This Christmas season, instead of shopping at stores touting homosexual couples exchanging yet another pricy techno gadget in their holiday catalogues, I’d like to offer you some alternatives and ask you to prayerfully consider some of these Christmas (and anytime!) gifts.
Toys, Games, & More
Dolls From Heaven – This Saint Therese of Lisiuex doll is beautiful and even has her own accessories similar to those of American Girl dolls but holier. I also got to meet the Kiscek family at the conference and saw this first doll myself. You won’t be disappointed!
Holy Bears – These bears come with a saint’s name, special holy day remembrance such as First Holy Communion, and more, embroidered on their chests. This is the one thing my five year old absolutely had to have at the conference and it was instant love between him and his little stuffed bear!
Catholic Supply – This site has everything from socks that help you walk confidently to lego-typ building sets, tablets, and more for kids. It’s even got those outdoor light up Nativity scenes that are so hard to find nowadays.
Catholic Company – Here you can find everything from Crucifixes to jewelry to special occasion gifts including holiday, Sacramental, and even tasteful sympathy gifts.
Clothing and Apparel
Battle Saints – This company was started by a Mom who has seven family members serving in the Military. Here you can find saints to help you in battle, and battles are things we all face. What’s even better is that a portion of the proceeds go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. I’ll be choosing a saint to watch over each of my boys and then ordering them each a personalized bracelet. I may even be buying a scarf for myself!
Faith Factory T-Shirts – Looking for t-shirts, sweatshirts, and jewelry? This company has some really neat t-shirts, hoodies, gym bags and so on that help you be a walking, talking, living lamp in the dark.
Write for Her – I tied this scarf around my neck and let it rest close to my heart, it’s message just what I needed as a struggling single Mom, as an ex wife of a man I Loved but who has told me I am no longer good enough for him “I am amazing, strong, beautiful, kind, of great worth, honest, Loved. I am a daughter of God.”
Media, Plaques, and Such
Bosco Boys CD – I saw these two young men who are studying to be priests perform at an Array of Hope concert, and they were AMAZING! They give the term “priest” a whole new meaning of cool! The song, “You Can’t Be a Saint!” has been stuck in our heads since we first heard it and it’s one of the few (only!) Catholic rap CD’s I know of. It gives my kids the music they’re want and the message I want – and I can say, even as an “old lady” as my kids call me, even I sing along and think this CD is really quite good!
Shop Mercy Christmas Cards – Today our Christmas cards show the shift in Christmas from photos of the Holy Family, the Faithful Joseph, the Virgin Mary, and the precious Christ Child to photos of us and our children. By all means stick a photo inside the card, but try bringing Christ back to Christmas with the greetings you send. This is a branch of the Marian Helpers
Saint Ignatius Press – This media company will deliver books, music, movies, and more. It even includes recent releases like The War Room, one that is definitely on my Christmas wish list!
PureFlix – Like NetFlix, this Christian based movie company gives you unlimited access to internet streamed movies you choose. I have a subscription to this and love it! I did find one movie that contradicted Catholic teaching, but it was a heavier, not intended for young people Biblical movie. The majority are amazing films from straight faith-based to just good clean films. There are even Catholic based movies on the saints and more!
AFA Store – American Family Association’s movie store. This Christian media outlet only sells movies that meet a higher standard. Sure you can get most of the stuff on Amazon, but why not support and faith-based alternative instead?
CA Gift – These are some of the sweetest inspirational plaques, ornaments, and gifts out there.
Etsy Catholic – If you haven’t heard of Etsy yet, you will. Etsy is an online storefront for thousands of sellers specializing in handmade and vintage items. Check out the Catholic section.
Portraits of Saints on Easy – This is one particular Etsy store that donates 10% of its profits to Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter to help train new priests.
Charitable Giving – Please don’t forget to sacrifice a bit this season too. While we take for granted so much, there are many who have little to nothing to take for granted and will count on the Goodness in your heart to survive to next Christmas. Please consider giving to whichever organizations on this list touch your heart.
Catholic Resources Directory – Looking for something that’s not listed in this article? Chances are you’ll find it here.
This Christmas season, bring Christ into your shopping. There are so many more quality Catholic stores than I could include here. Last year, I thought I was doing Good by completing most of my shopping in stores that support Christmas simply by saying Merry Christmas. This season, I know better so I’ll do better. I’ll still shop at secular stores, but I’ll be adding Catholic and Christian gifts to those under the tree.
God Bless & Merry Christmas!
And, as always, thanks for commenting, liking, following, and sharing!
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