Catholic Gift Guide
Choosing a gift can be hard, especially for those big life moments, because we want to make sure the gift is filled with meaning and will be something the recipient will treasure for years to come. Whether it’s a gift to encourage a prayerful life for a child’s First Holy Communion, or a gift meant to remind a newly wedded couple of all the love that exists in their sacramental union, a gift can do more than just commemorate the occasion.
When it comes to Catholic gift-giving occasions in particular, it can be harder to find the right gift. After all, these big celebratory moments are more important than a card and some cash — no matter how thoughtful your handwritten message is. We’ve pulled together our Catholic gift guide to help you find meaningful options that match the occasion. Use the list below to find the occasion you’re gifting for, and then use our suggestions as a starting point to find the ideal Catholic gifts for your loved ones.
- Reconciliation and First Holy Communion
- Holy Orders
Each of the sacraments we celebrate is hugely important to our spiritual lives as Catholics, but baptism is arguably the most important. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the spirit… and the door which gives us access to the other sacraments” (CCC 1213). Without the blessings of baptism, we cannot participate in the other sacraments. More than that, baptism brings a spiritual resurrection through Christ by way of the Holy Spirit. It’s a truly beautiful gift of God’s grace and a washing away of Original Sin.
Basically, there are countless blessings that come through the gift of baptism. If you’re blessed to be a part of someone’s baptism — whether they are an infant, a child, a teen, or an adult — there is so much to celebrate on this joyous occasion. The best Catholic gifts to give are those that highlight the blessings of this occasion, or provide support in that individual’s ongoing spiritual journey.
A Wall Crucifix
It may not be the most shiny or exciting gift for a child to receive, but a wall crucifix is a great gift to celebrate a baptism because it’s an ever-present reminder of what baptism starts. Without Christ’s sacrifice, we wouldn’t have the hope of eternal salvation, but without baptism, we can’t fully come to know Christ. We also recommend a wall crucifix over, say, a desktop version because a crucifix placed up on a wall is less likely to be damaged by a curious toddler still learning things like motor control. Check out these beautiful designs from Rough2Rustic that are simple enough to grow with the child.
A Commemorative Frame
Special frames and photographs are a good reminder of the baptism — especially for those who are baptized as a baby and won’t remember the event. This is an especially great option for godparents to give their godchild so they have a reminder of your important connection.
Books on Baptism
You can’t expect an infant to remember their baptism, but there’s no denying that it’s an incredibly important part of their life. There are some great children’s books on baptism that help explain why they were baptized. Reading a baptism book together also gives you a great way to spend time with your child and connect with them about their growing faith. Kendra Tierney of Catholic All Year has some brilliant, fun prayer books made specifically for kids.
If you’re looking for a gift for an older child or an adult who has been baptized, odds are good that they’re going through some or all of the RCIA process, so look at our suggestions for Holy Communion and Confirmation gifts below. A wall crucifix or a commemorative frame can still be great options; in addition, consider something like a custom rosary, a crucifix necklace, or a book of reflection and prayers to encourage prayerful habits and help them grow in their faith.
Reconciliation and First Holy Communion
These two sacraments are the next big steps in a child’s growing faith journey. And, though they are often combined with baptism for adults converting to Catholicism, the participation in both reconciliation and communion is no small step. These two sacraments are the first moments that a child really starts to take charge of their faith on their own. Parents, family members, and godparents are still around to provide guidance, but the child has to go through reconciliation and communion all on their own. Those are some big steps to take!
With that in mind, the best gifts we can recommend to celebrate this step in a child’s faith formation are gifts that encourage them to continue growing in their faith, even after the ceremony is done. It can include things like:
A Children’s Bible
Few habits are as important as learning to immerse oneself in God’s Word. The high-English of a King James Bible might be a bit too dense for an 8 year old, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start reading the bible. A children’s bible is especially great because they usually come with footnotes that help to explain complicated concepts that younger kids might not understand — and you can learn from too as you share in the experience of reading the bible! We’re also fans of these books on confession and prayer from Catholic All Year, which are directed at helping kids understand and grow their faith.
Similarly, gifting a rosary is a wonderful option specifically when a child has their first communion because they’re learning to talk to God on their own. Learning to pray the Rosary can be tough for younger kids, especially with the idea of meditating on the Mysteries, so we recommend pairing this with a kid’s guide to the rosary that will help walk them through the process. If you want to make your gift of a rosary especially meaningful, check out our custom rosary builder. Choose the recipient’s favorite color, opt for a meaningful centerpiece, and so on. Or browse our custom rosary design guide and choose colors and options that hold religious significance that can help teach your giftee about their faith traditions.
Fun & Faith-Oriented Options
At 8 or 10 years old, it’s important to give children tools so they can start growing their faith on their own — but we know those aren’t the exciting gifts. There are also some fun ideas that can be used to encourage a more faith-filled mindset during everyday life, like:
- An instant camera — to remind the child to always see God’s beauty in the world.
- A terrarium — to help them see God’s love growing in their life.
- Legos — to remind them that God is the Master Builder.
- A children’s cookbook or baking supplies — so they can find joy in serving food in remembrance of how Jesus calls us to His table.
- A Swiss Army Knife — to remind them that God always offers a solution.
Many cultures have a coming-of-age celebration, and confirmation (or chrismation) is the final step toward full initiation into the Catholic Church. The sacrament of confirmation brings the recipient closer to God and, so importantly, this is a step they choose for themselves. Unlike baptism, which is often performed before a baby ever says their first words, confirmation is an informed and purposeful affirmation of one’s faith. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we celebrate confirmation as an outward sign of God’s gifts: “God our Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your heart” (CCC 1303). This is also the final step taken by adults going through RCIA as they join fully in communion with the Catholic Church.
With that in mind, gifts for confirmation should help celebrate that fullness of faith that your loved one is choosing to affirm. This is also an ideal time to give gifts that focus on helping them continue their spiritual journey on their own. We’re fans of gifts like:
A Prayer Journal
Sometimes it can be hard to calm overwhelming thoughts and focus on prayer. A prayer journal is a solid option because it gives a physical way to focus in on that prayer-based conversation with God. Prayer journals are also awesome because they provide a record that can be used to look over past prayer and see how those requests may have manifested in life — or simply track to see how one’s prayerful relationship with God has grown over time.
In conjunction with this, we cannot recommend enough the support found in Kendra Tierney’s Catholic All Year prayer books. She has one book for each month of the year as well as a year-long compendium to help encourage a more prayerful, spiritual life in ways that are easy to incorporate into everyday life!
A Home Altar
Our busy schedules don’t often lend themselves to a life of prayerful contemplation. A home altar offers the recipient a way to create a space for dedicated prayer at home — or, for kids who will be going off to college soon, a way to create a devotional space in their dorm room.
A Custom Rosary
With confirmation comes the affirmation that your loved one treasures a close, personal relationship with Christ. What better way to grow and nourish that relationship than by praying the Rosary? We suggest a custom rosary specifically because those purposeful choices can help provide encouragement to your giftee. Consider how a medal dedicated to St. Thomas Aquinas or to St. Augustine can provide a bit of additional guidance, or how certain colors can hold a special meaning that will guide their prayer life that much more.
Since many young adults (and full-grown adults) reaching confirmation already have a well-loved rosary, we understand you don’t want to give a gift that won’t be used. Instead, what about gifting a beautiful, handmade rosary case? Liz over at Salem Studio hand-makes snap- and pinch-style rosary cases to protect a rosary for prayer time anywhere.
A Pocket Rosary/Rosary Bracelet
A full rosary is generally pretty easy to carry anywhere, but some folks appreciate a smaller option. A pocket rosary or rosary bracelet is a loop of beads with a single decade of the rosary, which makes it pocket-sized and easier to carry throughout everyday life. These options generally make it feasible to thumb through the prayers one-handed, which makes it easier to pray the rosary anywhere — even walking from one point to another.
This one might sound a bit odd, but consider: Confirmation typically happens during mid-adolescence, when there are a lot of riotous changes happening in life. A compass is something small enough to carry everywhere, and it serves as a tangible reminder that God is our guide through all things.
Along those lines, it’s nice to have a tangible reminder of the strength we find in Christ. Christian over at In Via designed this impactful Sword of the Spirit crucifix that can serve as a reminder and guide for teens and adults alike.
Getting married brings about a lot of changes to a couple’s life, what with learning to live together and share in everyday tasks, possibly starting a family, and generally joining two lives into one beautiful family. A lot happens when a couple gets married! You may want to give a gift that celebrates the love they have found in each other, and the covenantal union they are entering into with God. There are plenty of gifts out there to help them set up a life and a home together. But if you want to go off-registry, we recommend gifts that focus on helping the couple set up a strong faith-filled foundation for their lives together. After all, the stronger their faith, the better the newlyweds will be able to handle the hurdles that come up during life.
So what does that look like? Things that encourage prayer, especially prayer together, are great ways to help the couple build that solid faith-based foundation for life. As Catholics, we believe that marriage is an unbreakable covenant with God, so you can also find some wonderful gifts that remind the newlyweds of this covenantal partnership they are now in with God.
Whether you give a wall-hanging crucifix or a standing option for a desk/shelf, every home should have this visible reminder of Jesus’ love and sacrifice placed where we can see it everyday. If you want to provide a more specific visual reminder, look for a Holy Matrimony Crucifix, which joins a symbolic set of rings with Christ Crucified. There are also an abundance of crosses that come with inspiring messages made for married couples.
A Home Altar Set
Truly there are few ways to set a strong foundation for a marriage than by creating habits of prayerful time together. The gift of a home altar gives the couple a way to create a dedicated devotional space in their home, which makes it easier to carve out time to sit down and pray, both together and separately.
Similarly, prayer journals are a great gift for helping the couple create habits around praying together. Give a pair of prayer journals with guided prayers, which the couple can use to pray separately, and then come together to discuss and pray over. Or, give them blank prayer journals and a couples’ devotional guide or a set of Bibles to read through and pray over together.
A Pair of Rosaries
Like the home altar or prayer journals, giving the gift of rosaries is a great way to give your newlyweds a tangible reminder of the importance of prayer. Praying the Rosary is something they can do together. Of course, praying the Rosary is often a solitary, meditative form of prayer. Consider our Holy Matrimony Handmade Rosary for that gentle reminder to always keep their marriage in mind, and to pray over it unceasingly. We also recommend Rough2Rustic’s handmade rosary hangers to give the couple a way to designate physical space for prayer in their home.
If you know the verses that will be read at the couple’s wedding, get one or all of them artistically designed and framed! If not, there is still plenty of beautifully rendered art out there with marriage- and family-related scripture to provide guidance for your newly-married couple. Michelle at Rough2Rustic makes Catholic wall art as well as the rosary hangers we mentioned just above.
When a loved one decides to dedicate themselves to God by taking Holy Orders, there is so much to rejoice about! Whether they’re being ordained into the priesthood or joining the permanent diaconate, that’s a major step toward growing closer to God and being in a position to help so many others do the same! Even choosing to take vows and become a brother or sister in Christ, while not considered Holy Orders, is something to celebrate!
But what do you give to a new priest or deacon? If they have made it this far in their faith journey and feel called to Holy Orders, odds are good they have a Bible or six, a well-loved rosary, and stacks of filled prayer journals. So our previous suggestions of gifts to help someone grow their faith might feel redundant in this particular gift-giving occasion. Then there’s the consideration that some priests (but not all) will take a vow of poverty, which raises the question of whether to give a gift at all. If you feel you need to give a gift to someone taking Holy Orders, consider:
Donations in Their Name
With many priests taking a vow of poverty, they will likely need to give away many of the gifts they receive. Instead of giving worldly goods that they may not be able to keep, why not do some good in their name? If there is a special cause or non-profit organization that would be especially meaningful for your loved one, take what you might spend on a gift, and make a donation instead. If you don’t know of a specific cause, consider donating to a seminary to support others who are entering the priesthood.
Travel Mass Kit, A Statue
As a priest, your loved one will be able to say Mass pretty much anywhere. A travel Mass kit or a home altar set would help him have Mass daily, no matter where they go. Considering how much of our faith is centered on celebrating Mass, the ability to do so anywhere is a blessing priests treasure.
Similarly, gifting an icon or statuette can be a lovely way to help them create a devotional space no matter where travels might take them. Consider a pocket-sized icon or a lightweight, travel-sized statue of the Blessed Mother or a saint they have a particular devotion to. Even parish priests travel fairly often, so try to avoid options that are too big or heavy.
Basic Home Necessities
Depending on when in life your loved one is taking their Holy Orders, they may not have much in the way of household goods. For someone on their way to becoming a parish priest, their housing and everyday living needs will mostly be cared for. But a few smaller items, like a set of good-quality kitchen knives, might not go amiss.
A Custom Rosary
Now, admittedly, someone taking Holy Orders will certainly have a rosary already. Heck, they might have a few! But if you’re looking for a deeply meaningful gift that they can use for years to come, take the time to customize a rosary specifically for them. Consider things like matching colors that go along with their religious order, or use our “design your own rosary” guide to choose colors and other options based on their religious significance.
If you know of a saint or holy medal that carries personal meaning for your giftee — or even if you have something in mind that you find personally meaningful — we highly recommend the work of Nicole at Caritas Dei. She makes necklaces, rings, men’s bracelets, and a range of other options with Our Lady, various saints, and other holy medals so you can choose the right fit for your giftee.
Prayer Book/Journal/Homily Notebook
Yes, your loved one taking Holy Orders will almost certainly have prayer journals already, but there’s a lot to pray about and writing can often help center and focus those thoughts for more dedicated devotional time. Consider a refillable notebook option, something like a leather-bound binder, to which they can keep adding new sheets over time.
Anointing of the Sick and Funerals
When a loved one is grievously ill, or has recently passed away, our faith becomes a deep comfort. After all, while you will understandably miss them, it’s a blessing to know they are going home to be with Our Father. In that same vein, being cognizant while battling illness can be extraordinarily tough, but there’s comfort to be had in God’s love. So, while this can be an incredibly emotional time, this is also the time to remember God’s power and lean on Him.
This isn’t necessarily a time for gifts, per se, but there are a few things that you and your loved ones can find solace in, like a prayer journal or a rosary. And, of course, if your loved one is too ill to go to Mass, a home altar kit can help create a devotional space wherever they are. For someone who is immunosuppressed, look into stainless steel or other materials that can be more easily sanitized.
If a loved one has recently passed, turning to scripture can be a great way to affirm your own faith and help shore up the grieving family and friends. Give a living plant or tree as a way to keep a piece of their memory alive. Also consider giving the gift of food and/or care. Many grieving families can’t find the time or energy to handle everyday tasks, so set up a meal train or cook a few freezable, healthy meals. Most importantly, though, the best thing to do is give the gift of comfort. Offer your time, to pray for the departed and their loved ones — with the grieving family, or on your own.
About Our Handmade Rosaries, Crucifixes, and More
Here at The Catholic Woodworker, we want to help you find gifts that the recipient will love. More importantly, we want to help you find gifts that will help them grow in faith and spread the love of Christ throughout the world. We strive to make sure all of our offerings — handmade rosaries, wall crucifixes, and home altar sets — of beautiful, durable materials so our products will last for years to come, even with daily use. We also do our best to use ethically sourced materials so we aren’t adding to the strain on our planetary resources or the regions from which we get our wood. You can expect a bit of a patina to form on our wooden rosaries over time, but that will mostly result in a slightly softened look. We use dyed wood to make the rosary beads, so the color won’t flake off. We also use a highly durable micro cord to make sure our rosaries stay together use after use.
Basically, our wooden rosaries and other items are made to be used, so please put them to good use! If you have questions on durability, materials, or anything else, don’t hesitate to drop a line to our team and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible!