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Your Handy-Dandy Guide to Catholic Christmas Shopping!

I know, I know! Thanksgiving is still 2 weeks away, and Christmas isn’t even on your radar. But when it comes to Christmas shopping, the earlier, the better, especially if you’re relying on the USPS to get your stuff to you. One year, Martina made a commitment to get ALL her Christmas shopping done before Advent began, to prepare for a peaceful, less-stressed Advent. What a great idea – it is a little stressful to track your package online on December 23 and see that it is currently in Denver, 600 miles away from you, and that your city is expecting a huge snowstorm overnight, and you may have to show up at the relatives’ house with an “IOU – your present is on its way!” card. (raises hand.)

It is also stressful trying to figure out WHAT to buy for someone who seems to have everything. Maybe you want to buy a religious-themed gift, but don’t want to go with the ol’ standby of a Bible (which is a great present, by the way, but just in case they already have one, or two, or five…)

I present to you: Catholic Sistas’ Favorite Things, a compilation of our favorite religious gift items for young, old, and everyone in-between.

(Click on the title of each item, and you will be redirected to their site to purchase.)

 

Something to Wear

 

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1. Holy Hair Bows (email martina@catholicsistas.com to order)
2. Little Flower Heart Necklace
3. Blessed Virgin Dress-Up Outfit
4. Lego Pope Shirt
5. Veils by Lily
6. Keep Calm And Pray Your Rosary Shirt
7. St. Gerard Rosary Bracelet
8. Miraculous Medal

 

 

Something to Listen To

 

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1. Brother Francis CD: Let’s Sing!
2. Stories and Songs of Jesus
3. Hug Me Jesus
4. Blessed John Paul II Glory Stories (also see St. Kateri & St. Cecilia, Blessed Imelda & St. Juan Diego, and more)
5. St. Catherine of Siena Audio CD – Mary Fabyan Windeatt
6. Advent at Ephesus – Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles
7. Mater Eucharistae – Dominican Sisters of Mary
8. Pursuing Holiness: Lessons from St. Francis de Sales

 

 

Something to Watch

 

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1. Holy Baby! The Rosary in 7 Languages
2. Nicholas, the Boy Who Became Santa – CCC Saints Movies (Also see Juan Diego, Messenger of Guadalupe, Patrick, Brave Shepherd of the Emerald Isle, Francis, the Knight of Assisi, Bernadette, Princess of Lourdes, and other titles)
3. Brother Francis Movies
4. Retreat With Fulton Sheen

 

 

Something to Play With

 

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1. Forever Treasured Wooden Saints – St. Miriam & Friends
2. Brother Hubert Rag Doll + Story Book
3. Sister Mary Clara Doll
4. Fr. Juan Pablo Doll
5. Shining Light Dolls
6. Tiny Saints Charms
7. No Room At the Inn Puzzle
8. Saints Pillowcases
9. Make-A-Rosary Hanger Kit
10. Catholic Coloring Poster
11. Little People Nativity (a classic!)
12. Playmobil Nativity

Something to Pray With

 

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1. Children’s Miniature Mass Kit
2. St. Edmund Campion Missal (for Traditional Latin Mass)
3. Rosary Steering Wheel Cover
4. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Art Print
5. St. Paul Daily Missal
6. Magnificat Subscription
7. Laudamus Te (like Magnificat, but with the 1962 Missal readings/propers)
8. Children’s Colorful Rosary
9. Wooden Sick Call Crucifix
10. Sterling Silver Military 4-Way Medal
11. Shamrock Rosary
12. Madonna and Child with Lamb Statue

 

 

Something to Eat

 

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1. Mystic Monk Coffee – Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel
2. Trappistine Creamy Caramels – Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey
3. Trappist Beer
4. Hazelnut Fudge – Brigittine Monks
5. Clover Honey – Cistercian Nuns @ Redwoods Monastery
6. Monks’ Bread
7. Prayerfully Popped Corn from the Cloister
8. From A Monastery Kitchen: The Classic Natural Foods Cookbook

 

 

Something to Read

 

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1. The Friendly Beasts – Tomie dePaola (also, see The Night of Las Posadas, The Legend of the Poinsettia, and other titles)
2. Who is Coming to Our House?
3. E is for Eucharist – A Catholic Alphabet
4. An Alphabet of Catholic Saints
5. Smart Martha’s Catholic Guide for Busy Moms
6. Small Steps for Catholic Moms
7. Catholic Daily Planner by Michele Quigley (if my husband is reading this, hint hint!)
8. Real Men Pray the Rosary: A Practical Guide to a Powerful Prayer

(see our Pinterest board for over 100 other book ideas!)

 

Honorable Mention

Looking for a unique, non-religious gift, but still want to support Catholic shop owners? Check out these:

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1. Handmade Toy Soldier – Steadfast Tin Soldiers
2. Nest Egg Charms – BlueJayBabies
3. Handmade Soaps – Corner Shop Soaps
4. Lady Mary Hat & Fingerless Gloves Crochet Pattern – Nat’s Niche
5. Handmade Tote – Sew Sweet by Shannon
6. Artisanal Soaps & Lotions – The Little Flower Farm
7. Yellow Dotty Vase – Donnabelle

 

 

Be sure to check out our Pinterest gift boards, Christmas Gift Guide and Gift Ideas, as well! In case none of these 67 gift ideas struck your fancy. 😉

Got any favorite Catholic gift ideas or shops you support? Planning on purchasing any of these items for a loved one? Please share in the comments below!

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7 Quick Takes Getting to Know the Ink Slingers Ink Slingers Kerri Rachel M

7 Quick Takes Friday, no. 13

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes, Sistas style! Today, I’d like you to meet Rachel, one of our writers here and a busy mom of five. I hope you enjoy getting to know her through these 7 questions. Feel free to leave a comment to ask her about anything else you want to know about her. And don’t forget to go check out more Quick Takes at Jen’s blog Conversion Diary.

–1–

What is your favorite secret indulgence?  Do you have to have a hiding spot in your house for it?

Oh my … I have a lot of indulgences I’m afraid to say. I really, really love Diet Coke, more than any person should love a material item. But my most favorite way to enjoy my beverage of choice, is a freezing cold can of Diet Coke in a steamy hot shower. Yep. Oh, and with a locked door on the bathroom so I can enjoy my luxury in peace. I think a close second would be Funyuns dipped in Tostitos queso dip, but that indulgence isn’t quite as figure flattering as Diet Coke, so it rarely happens these days.

–2–

How did you meet your husband?

My husband Eric and I met in our Catholic high school, in 1999. We ran in the same nerdy band kid crowd. We each were best friends with siblings from the same family, so we often saw one another at their house, at play practice, swing choir practice, and so on. Eric’s senior year, and my junior year, we were both in the musical “Little Shop of Horrors”, and we both were eaten by the plant. I guess there’s something about being shoved in a 2 square foot space with a puppeteer that really sets the mood.

After becoming friends during that musical, I got up the courage to ask Eric out on a date. I had free tickets to see ZZ Top and Lynard Skynard, and he said yes. Eric likes to pretend our song is “She’s Got Legs”, but clearly if you are going to pick a song from that concert it has to be “Free Bird”.

We were official the next day, and we’ve been together ever since. I sometimes miss those days, when he’d pick me up in his 1987 Dodge Aires with a bench seat in the front, and we’d discuss endless plans for our future. But I have to say, it’s even more fun to live all of those plans we made at age 16.

–3–

What is your favorite hymn?

I love church music, I find it so heartwarming and I am often brought to tears during Mass because of the music. As an adult convert, I became familiar with Catholic Mass music when I took my first teaching job at a Catholic elementary school. A lot of Mass music holds some nostalgia for me because of that job; one song can bring back so many memories. Specifically, “Were You There” never fails to move me. I remember the first time I heard it was during a daily Mass as a teacher. Hearing 500 children sing that song, how could any mother leave with dry eyes, really?

–4–

Where is your dream vacation spot?

Well, my husband recently asked me this same question and my reply will be the same here, my dream vacation at the moment is to stay home and send the other six people who live here somewhere! I know that sounds ridiculous, but right now, in the thick of toddlerville, I would just love a quiet day alone in my house. I know I’m supposed to say Rome, or Disney World or something, but I just want to sleep in, clean my house, and read a book on my couch cover to cover, all with no interruptions. Of course I’d be crazy after about four hours of silence, but still, that’s a kind of crazy I think I could handle.

 –5–

Where do you write and why?

I do not consider myself to be a good writer by any means. In fact, though I was an A student in college, I failed a paper miserably for not understanding symbolism. I’m a pretty black and white kind of person. But, I do enjoy writing. I usually grab my laptop after a quick pick up of the house during nap time, plop down on the couch, and write a post in one go. I find that the Holy Spirit usually gives me an idea while I’m folding laundry, and then I pour out my heart in one quick spurt. Sometimes that works to my benefit, and sometimes I read what I wrote and realize it makes absolutely no sense. My husband is my best critic, and always proofreads everything I write.

–6–

Tell us about some unusual things that make you happy?

Here’s my top ten, David Letterman style….

10. Baby feet running on the wood floor
9. A freshly made bed
8. Bean Dip
7. Margaritas and homemade pico de gallo
6. Pictures of me drawn by my children
5. Babywearing
4. Grocery shopping alone with my husband
3. A completely cleared off kitchen counter
2. Anything covered in chocolate
1. Watching my babies sleep on the video monitor

–7–

Do you put beans in your chili or not?

Why yes, yes I do, except when I serve it to my southern friends, I call it “The Soup of Northern Aggression” because they have this strange notion that “chili ain’t got no beans.” Not only do I put beans in my chili, but I like to experiment with all different kinds of beans. My favorite chili is Black Bean Lentil Chili with no meat! I also am a lover of white chilis.

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7 Quick Takes Emily Getting to Know the Ink Slingers Ink Slingers Kerri

7 Quick Takes Friday, no. 6

Welcome once again to 7 Quick Takes at Catholic Sistas. If you’re a new visitor, WELCOME! We hope you enjoy what you see here and come back to check out our other amazing posts. We have a large list of contributors and today we are highlighting ink slinger Emily. Read on to find out some fun facts about Emily, including her favorite prayer, why she loves doing laundry, and what kind of wine she enjoys. Thanks for visiting, Catholic Sistas!

~1~
What is your favorite religious icon, statue, or other image?

I have a beautiful statue in my bedroom of the Blessed Virgin which belonged to my Grandmother.  I remember seeing it in her house when I was a child, so it’s very meaningful to me.  I also have a small statue of the Sacred Heart that I won in a school raffle when I was a child.  I always thought it was such a quirk that I won such a beautiful little statue and it’s always sat on my dresser, right next to Mary.

~2~
What is your favorite prayer?

The Hail Mary rolls easiest out of my mouth.  I definitely turn to that prayer during moments of fear or panic, and it just brings me so much peace.  I also enjoy the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  I often pray using Rosary Apps on my smart phone… on my drive home from work.

~3~
How many kids do you have?

We have 4 kids… two older boys in elementary school and two younger girls (preschooler and toddler)… at least so far.  They are the light of our lives and it’s an amazing joy to be so blessed with them.  I love learning their little personalities as they grow – their interests, likes, dislikes, quirks, and amazing senses of humor!

~4~
What volunteer activities are you involved in?

I’m very involved at our parish school, childcare center, and on our parish counsel.  I enjoy being around the kids at the school and planning fundraisers and events.  This past year I volunteered at Vacation Bible School – which was fun, but absolutely exhausting!

~5~
What is your favorite secret indulgence?  Do you have to have a hiding spot in your house for it?

I have a problem with chocolate… those little Dove Promises to be exact.  It’s those little messages inside the wrapper that draw me in – I have to keep eating them until I find one I haven’t read before!

Which, at this point, is becoming more and more difficult.

Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, caramel filled, almonds… and seriously, have you tried the sea-salt-caramel-dark-chocolate????  OMG!

They’re hidden in the pantry – which happens to also be our laundry room, so clearly…

~5.5~
What is your favorite household chore?

… LAUNDRY!  Yeah… totally laundry. 😉

~6~
What is your favorite alcoholic drink and when was the last time you enjoyed it?

I’m a fan of red wine – mostly Malbec or Pinot Noir.  We often have a glass in the evenings while relaxing on the couch in front of the TV.
I learned a lot about wine in college when I took an extracurricular wine tasting class.  I’m pretty sure it was my favorite class in college.

~7~
What do you like to do in your “down time”?

Well, between raising 4 kids, attempting to maintain a household, and working full time as an electrical engineer… I certainly don’t get much down time.  But we are blessed to have built-in-babysitters (Grandparents!) who live nearby, so I do enjoy spending Friday nights with my husband – whether it be going out to dinner or simply sitting on the couch enjoying a movie rental.  We also have lots of other friends (mostly other parents at the parish school) that we like to socialize with.  We often have a whole bunch of families over to our neighborhood spring to go swimming on a Saturday night.  We have great fun laughing, joking, and enjoying a beer with our friends.

For more Quick Takes, check out Jen Fulwiler’s blog Conversion Diary.