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Sacred Surprises: Fun, Faithful, and Frugal Gift Ideas for Catholic Families

woman holding christmas gifts

It started well before Thanksgiving. My dear mother-in-law started asking us for a list of Christmas gift ideas. My husband and I struggle with this a bit because we have really everything we need and are usually trying to figure out how to get rid of things and bring less in. 

But, as we remind each other every year, this is a way to honor her and help her not to struggle to shop for us. So, we looked for a few things to suggest and sent her links to make it easier. 

The focus on gift-giving at Christmas can be a challenge for anyone, and like most families, we are trying to do more with less. We want to be generous, but we also need to be responsible and a bit more frugal these days. So it got me thinking: what are some good gift ideas for Catholic families that are fun, faithful, and frugal? 

Fun, Faithful, and Frugal Gifts

Catholic Books

This may seem a little obvious, but Catholic books make great gifts! Find something that appeals to their special interests, or give a book that can help deepen their faith or prayer life. Daily devotionals are always a popular choice. And don’t forget the kids! Here are a few of our favorites, all under $40.

Prayer Cards and Devotional Items

Prayer cards, rosaries, or small statues can make meaningful gifts, and there are many to choose from–from traditional to modern and everything in between. Here are some we recommend checking out!

  • Tiny Saints charms – these are adorable, affordable (only $6 each), and giftable! Over 200 to choose from! (This brand also features board books for toddlers, lanyards, and rosaries.)
  • My Saint My Hero Wearable Blessings – “blessing bracelet” stacks are marvelous gifts for either men or women. They also offer a subscription box starting from $29.95.
  • House of Joppa prayer cards – we happen to love these beautiful, modern prayer cards (and we also love the prices!).

Family Board Games

Choose board games that are not only fun but also have a positive, family-friendly theme. Look for games that encourage teamwork and bonding.

Gifts to Support Catholic Monasteries and Abbeys

Supporting Catholic monasteries and abbeys by purchasing gifts from them is a wonderful way to contribute to their mission and sustain their way of life. You can find many in a quick search online, but here are a few to explore.

  • Mystic Monk Coffee – Your purchase of their coffee, tea, and accessories helps support and sustain the Wyoming Carmelite monks in their work.
  • Trappistine Quality Candy – Support the life and work of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, also known as the Trappistines, and satisfy someone’s sweet tooth at the same time!
  • Shop the Carmelite Hermit’s Kitchen for jams, jellies, baked goods, and a lot more. As a self-supporting community, they say, “The simplest of tasks becomes a concrete occasion for transcending oneself in humble service. When embraced with faith, work is rich soil for the spiritual life.

Just Plain Fun Catholic Gifts!

Of course, we want to inspire our friends and family in their faith, but there are a few things that are just too fun to pass up. Here are just a few.

  • Catholic socks! From our friends at Sock Religious, pick up a pair of adult or child-sized socks that feature their favorite saint or holy person! 
  • Catholic neckties for the guys! Each one of these custom ties features a pattern by artist Abigail Halpin. 
  • Totally Catholic Tees – might be just the thing for your Catholic teen or tween (or, dare we say, anyone who loves a cool graphic tee?). 

More Ideas to Explore

Here are just a few more suggestions you can explore. Putting together a gift package or giving a subscription takes a little effort, but it will definitely show your love.

Family Movie Night Package

Create a movie night package with a family-friendly Catholic movie, popcorn, and snacks. It’s a simple and enjoyable way for the family to spend quality time together.

Parishes: Use your ChMS tool to plan a movie night for the parish! Send invitations, gather RSVPs, reserve rooms, and notify maintenance for setup. The only thing left to do is pop the popcorn!

Faith-Focused Recipes

Put together a collection of frugal and delicious recipes that align with Catholic traditions. Include recipes for special feast days or meals that can be shared with others. Print out the recipes or handwrite recipes on cards and enclose them in a cute recipe box.

Parishes: ask your parishioners to submit a recipe via a form on your website and share them as a gift with the parish!

The Gift of Presence

This idea costs virtually nothing! Gather the family or a group of friends and go Christmas caroling at a local retirement home, the homes of parish shut-ins, or hospitals. This is a gift that you actually receive. 

Parishes: Use your ChMS to organize groups of teens or adults to give this gift in the name of the parish! Use forms to sign up, and send emails or texts to notify dates and times. And remember: Christmas is celebrated until the Epiphany, so there is time!

Family Retreat or Mini-Pilgrimage

Plan a day out or a weekend and visit a nearby Catholic shrine, basilica, retreat house, or other sacred space. Many of them offer affordable options for families to spend time together in prayer and reflection.

Parishes: Do you have a retreat, shrine, or basilica near you? Feature them on your website and encourage parishioners to make a pilgrimage–or better yet, plan a day or half-day trip for a group. 

Subscription to a Catholic Magazine or Newspaper

The gift of a Catholic newspaper or magazine is one that can be appreciated all year long. Consider a gift for the parish priest or deacon, too! Search online and find many options.

Parishes: Catholic newspapers and magazines offer significant discounts on bulk orders. Check their sites or call for pricing so you can offer them in quantities for parishioners. 

When in Doubt, Ask

There are times when it just may make the most sense to ask what someone needs or wants. My mother-in-law has a point, especially when she has several people to buy for. To stay organized and get things done on time, ask your friends or family members what they really want for Christmas. You can give them a budget or have them suggest several gifts so they’ll be surprised. 

Share this with your parishioners on your website or in an email. Then let us know: What are some great Catholic gift ideas you can share? Let us know in the comments below!

Gifts for the Parish

What does your parish need most now? Is there something that would help the entire parish that a parishioner or group of parishioners could support? Some ideas are licenses for technology such as Pocket Platform, Go Method, or Growth Method. Or gift the setup fee. Upgrades or add-ons to existing solutions could be great gifts also. Ask your parish staff for a wish list, then consider taking an extra collection for the parish gift. Be transparent about the cost as well as the benefits for staff and parishioners alike.

About Polly King

Polly King has over 30 years in the marketing and communications field, the last 12 in Catholic publishing. As a convert to the Catholic faith, she has a deep passion for helping parishes engage and evangelize their communities. This led her to join ACS Technologies as part of their mission to serve the Church with technology and solutions that support their ministries. Polly currently resides in Indiana with her husband Bob and their 14-year-old Australian Shepherd, Riley. Her commitment to her faith and dedication to her profession make her an inspiring figure for those looking to make a positive impact in their communities.

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