Every occasion is an opportunity for evangelization. So, if you are buying someone a gift, this is your chance to give them something that will bring them closer to the Lord. Many people even have the habit of making sure their first gift to someone is always a Bible, unless they know the person already has one and reads it.
There are many other options to make sure all your gifts are Christ centered. A Christmas album could make for a great and affordable Christmas present. Likewise, a book that sheds the light of Christ into a situation your loved one is facing could also be a memorable gift. Children will enjoy almost everything that has to do with the Saints: Story books, portrayals of their patron Saint, dolls and action figures of Biblical persons or Saints. There are also apparels of all sorts with Christian messages, and much more.
Let your gifts be a bridge to Christ and opportunity of grace to your loved us, as they are reminded of God’s presence in their lives when they receive your present. The following list of suggestions can be helpful to give you ideas:
Christmas Classics CD
“ Tidings of Joy”, a production of the Legionary College of Humanities, Cheshire, CT. The CD features 14 tracks of Latin hymns, from the melodic flow of ancient Gregorian chant to more recent polyphonic works.
The voices on the CD belong to 16 professed Legionary religious from 7 countries: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, France, and Germany. All of the choir members on the CD have been studying Humanities during the past academic year at the Legionary College of Humanities in Cheshire.
The emphasis on Gregorian and polyphonic Latin hymns also fits well with Pope Benedict’s emphasis on recovering the dignity of liturgical music. After a concert given in his honor, Pope Benedict XVI said in an address, “An authentic renewal of sacred music can only happen in the wake of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. Sacred polyphony is a legacy to preserve with care, to keep alive and to make known as a priceless spiritual, musical and cultural heritage.”
Originally from Aachen, Germany, Fr Andreas Kramarz experienced firsthand how this “legacy” of sacred music can enrich the soul and open a path toward God. As a singer in the Aachen Cathedral Choir for 8 years, and as a pianist and organist, he was prepared for his vocation partly through his involvement in sacred music. “Experiencing the Latin Mass with Gregorian chant and polyphony every Sunday in the Aachen cathedral choir introduced me to the liturgy and to worship through beauty. In particular, some of the major choir performances (especially Bach’s Passion music and the Mass in B minor) were deep spiritual experiences. Music has helped me to discover God’s love and beauty,” he said.
Jesus may be busy on Christmas Eve - answering prayers, watching over creation, and doing all the other things the Son of God does for all eternity - but he can surely spare five minutes for a ten-year-old boy named Michael. After all, to God one minute may be as an hour...or a lifetime. And it's all the better when Jesus comes to Michael as he, the Lord, was at ten years old - and teams up with his wonder-struck friend to spread faith, hope, and love to the sick, hungry, and needy. Young readers will feel the true, formative spirit of Christmas charity flying off these pages and into their hearts. This captivating story by Father Alvaro Correa, LC, will certainly help your little one to fall in love with his new BFF, Jesus. Father Correa is a former humanities professor, and currently a formator of diocesan seminarians at Maria Mater Ecclesiae Pontifical International College in Rome.
Price: U$ 14.95 Where to buy: www.CirclePress.org
Grown up Books
So you have friends going through a tough time in their marriage, or struggling with addiction, or parenting. No matter what the problem is there is always a good Catholic book out there that can shed the light on Christ into the issue. Your friend will appreciate your thoughtful present and honest effort to help in some way. A book is always a great gift, even if the person is not going through a particular trial, you can always help guard your friend against secular cultural trends by giving them a book that speaks of the world through the lenses of the Christian faith. So, for instance, are you kind of tired of hearing all the culture of death nonsense that goes on these days? Or have you discussed one of these topics with a friend and did not got to the root of the problem? Then, you need to read and share with your friend “Common Nonsense”. Father Cliff Ermatinger, LC, shows you how to refute 25 fallacies about life - with depth and humor!
Price: U$ 16.95 Where to buy: www.CirclePress.org
Catholic Themed Apparel
Everything Catholic: Shirts, caps, mugs, teddy bears, bags, greeting cards, and the list goes on. These items can be a fun way of evangelizing. You can find witty mottos and cute apparel for everyone. All at very affordable prices. This kind of gift is a double blessing because some apostolates sell these to support their own operations.
Where to buy: www.CafePress.com/Catholic_net
Paintings and sculptures could be a great gift as well. This Christmas a friend gave me a yard statue of the Blessed Mother. Very tasteful! It will look beautiful in my back yard. I have just moved to a new house, so it was very fitting. If you have friends who are moving, remodeling their homes, or getting married these are great. These are usually a little more pricy, but a gift that lasts a lifetime. It can even go on for generations within a family. So it is worth it. But be careful to match the style your friends have chosen to their home.
Where to buy: www.EwtnReligiousCatalogue.com
Faith Formation on CDs or DVDs
If there is someone who is always asking faith questions, attending RCIA, or Confirmation classes, apologetic materials are just the right gift for this person. If you can give them on electronic format it will be even more helpful to your friend during the learning process, because he can listen to it everywhere. There are many good ones out there: Father Mitch Pacwa, Father Corapi, Patrick Madrid, John Martignoni, and others. These are usually very affordable too.
Where to buy:
Subscription to Catholic Periodicals
Your Catholic friend will appreciate a year subscription to a Catholic periodical. Your present will be remembered all year-round! Make sure you subscribe to publications that are faithful to the Magisterium. My recommendations are the weekly newspaper The National Catholic Register, and the parenting magazine Faith and Family. You can always give a subscription to your diocese paper too:
A Catholic.net Donation in Name of Your Friend
If this seems bias, well the Catholic.net part is, but the point is that you could make a donation to a Catholic apostolate in your friend’s name. This is a very elegant and generous present. It tells your friend that you both share the same belief and you assume him to be as generous as you are. Another upside is that your gift is tax-deductible, but only if the apostolate you choose is a 501 (c) 3. Then, elect a Catholic apostolate that is of most service to you or your friend, or that reflects one of your friend's passions like care for the elderly, or children, or surfing the web, please also consider donations to parishes and dioceses.
Where to buy:
Does your gift list reflect your Christian faith? Leave a comment or discuss it on our forums.
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