At the time of posting, there are officially three weeks left until Christmas. Advent has (finally) begun, you may have started decorating your Christmas tree, and your gift list is probably prepped, if not already completed. At this point, you're probably not looking to add more people to your Christmas gift list, but we have one important addition to your list this year (it's a good one, we promise!):
Out of everyone on your list, why not gift something to your parish? We often refer to our church community as our "parish family," and what better way to show your appreciation for your family's support, love, and prayers year round than a gift at Christmastime?
You may be thinking, "Well, that's a great idea, but what do you give a parish? They already have everything they need for the liturgy, and most of our memorials are already claimed." Be not afraid - if you're looking for something unique to give to your parish this year, check out some of these amazing products, created by incredible Catholic artisans and authors and hand-picked especially by Gloriam.
For your bulletin -
Did You Know? bulletin columns by Gloriam Marketing
We're a little partial to these ourselves. ;) Did You Know? is a weekly bulletin column that answers a question about the faith – parts of the Mass, meanings behind the Sacraments, a story in the Bible, explanation of Church teaching, and more. What better gift to give your parish family than weekly inspiration and knowledge of the faith? We present the topics in a fun, easy-to-understand fashion that makes parishioners of all ages excited to learn more. Parishes that have already implemented Did You Know? columns have seen tremendous engagement, including parishioners writing in with questions, church members saving the column each week, and people from other parishes looking at the bulletin online just to read the Did You Know? feature. Religious education teachers have even incorporated them into their classes and had students write in with questions. Consider ordering a subscription for your parish!
For your marriage ministry program -
My Hand in Yours, Our Hands in His marriage workbook by Kimberly Cook of The Lion of Design
This brand new workbook by author Kimberly Cook is the perfect present for your marriage ministry program. Available as an e-book or physical workbook, My Hand in Yours, Our Hands in His takes couples on a 7-week journey analyzing the importance of virtues in marriage and challenging couples to spend intentional time with one another each day. As Kimberly points out, praying with your spouse can sometimes be awkward or difficult at the beginning, but this workbook can help couples work in setting the foundation and investing in one's marriage. Several couples will be reading the workbook beginning in the New Year as their "marriage New Year's Resolution," so now is the perfect time to share this with your church's marriage ministry! Order the workbook here.
For your church building or adoration chapel -
Imagine walking into your church or adoration chapel and seeing an image on the wall that was donated by your family. Now you can make that dream a reality with iconography courtesy of Lifely Designs. Created by author and artist Julie Ann Cook, Lifely Designs offers wooden icons of over a dozen different images, including Theotokos (pictured here) as well as Sts. Anne and Joachim, St. Jude, St. Joseph the Worker, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and Our Lady of the Rosary. We love her work not only because of its beauty, but also its affordable cost, allowing you to leave a lasting and inspiring mark on your parish. You can view all of Julie Ann's work at lifelydesigns.com.
For your children's ministry -
We wave at them during Mass and love to watch them play, so why not give a gift to the small children of your parish to thank them for their childlike faith and entertainment throughout the year? This Felt Nativity Set by LilFlowerWorkshop is child-friendly and the perfect donation for your parish's Family Room or children's ministry. The set includes Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus, including a little pouch for Our Lord to rest in on the front of the Blessed Mother. LilFlowerWorkshop also offers other felt dolls including guardian angels, Padre Pio, and St. Therese. Explore the whole shop on Etsy.
For your priest/parish office -
Let's face it - we all know priests won't mind money, but if you're like me, handing your priest a check for Christmas can be awkward. And from personal experience, parish offices are inundated with baked goods around December. Thankfully, Lindsay from Just Love Prints has us covered with this beautiful print of a quote on the blessings of priesthood by Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, O.P. All you have to do is frame and wrap! Lindsay has a number of other quotes and prints available that can be perfect for gifting for just about anyone on your list, including your parish's rectory and office staff. (Who doesn't feel welcomed by some beautiful prints in a parish office?) View all of her prints and gifts in her Etsy shop.
For your parish school or religious education program -
Give Him 5 is a ministry designed to encourage families and parishes to get started with prayer by committing five minutes a day to the Lord. The prayer bag offers a five minute hourglass timer, pocket cross, carrying bag, and more. We love this product because it is so inexpensive and has both Spanish and English options. Best of all, Give Him 5 offers a 40% discount when bought for parish use. Give Him 5 also offers supplemental products to enhance the prayer bag's use in parishes, including downloadable audio files, prayer journals, temporary tattoos, and more! Check out their ministry here.
"Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire!” Those words are at the heart of Be Yourself! A Journal for Catholic Girls, which is designed to help girls explore their identity and purpose in life in light of the wisdom of the Catholic Church, including half a dozen female saints. Packed with gorgeous, full-color line art, quizzes, journaling questions, and inspirational quotes from the Catechism and Scripture, the Be Yourself!journal leads girls to discover that they are beautifully and wonderfully made…and that they have a unique, God-given mission and purpose in the world. Donating copies of the "Be Yourself: A Catholic Journal for Girls" to your parish school or religious education program would be a great Christmas gift! Girls in grades 5 through 9 LOVE this journal - and it really empowers them to grow into confident, devout Christian women! Ages 9 and up. Available on Amazon.
This downloadable coloring project is perfect for religious education and parish school classrooms! A do-it-yourself version of To Jesus, Sincerely's popular Mosaic Jesse Tree, students can color their own Jesse Tree ornaments as they learn about this beautiful Advent tradition. The pdf version includes an instructions packet with short prayers to say each day and the symbols on each ornament. You can buy a copy for your parish here.
Time, talent, and treasure -
Of course donating your time or money is a wonderful gift, and offering to join a new ministry or giving of your treasures to assist a particular church project is welcome any time of the year, but especially around Christmas!
Do you have any other ideas for gifts to give to your parish? We'd love to hear about them! Comment below with your favorites.