Tips for Catholic gift-giving this Christmas
by William J. Dagendesh
COLORADO SPRINGS. Christmas is the time of year when people exchange presents as a reminder of the gifts brought to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.
Since Jesus’ arrival more than 2,000 years ago, people have given gifts to re-confirm or establish their connection with others. Offering a gift to someone we care about allows us to communicate our feelings and appreciation for them.
So, what to give children this Christmas? Many Catholic residents and outlets are offering a wide range of ideas designed to bring a smile to children’s faces this Christmas. Books, for example, make terrific gifts, and many youngsters are discovering that books open up the mind’s eye to new adventures in faraway lands.
In her children’s book, “All You Holy Women Pray For Us,” Highlands Ranch resident Angela Smyth offers the gift of learning about famous female saints. In this sturdy board book, children will discover the wonders of St. Joan of Arc, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Kateri and others through fun rhymes and illustrations.
According to Smyth, “‘All You Holy Women Pray For Us’ is a wonderful introduction for little ones seeking to learn about some of the holiest saints in the Catholic Church. The saints provide us with marvelous examples to live by, so start your children off right by introducing them to these extraordinary and holy women who devoted their lives to Christ,” Smyth said.
Awaiting the birth of her first daughter and purchasing various baby books inspired the Smyths to write the book, she said.
“We noticed a gap in books for young girls with female role models. My husband and I decided to take matters into our own hands. We selected our favorite female saints and wrote ‘All You Holy Women’ — the perfect board book to toss into your diaper bag to keep little ones entertained during Mass,” said Smyth who co-wrote the book with her husband, Adam.
Smyth said she and her husband prefer to give and receive books because they are low-tech and can be read repeatedly. Toys, although briefly entertaining, add to a home’s clutter, she said.
“Not only do I appreciate the practicality of books, I also love the opportunities to teach the faith. A shelf full of Catholic books teaches children the importance of the faith at an early age,” Smyth said.
“All You Holy Women Pray For Us” can be purchased online at www.sophiainstitute.com or Amazon. Use the code “HolyWomen25” at Sophia’s website for a 25% discount.
Similarly, Windows of Heaven Catholic Books and Gift Store is a source of inspirational treasures for all occasions. This includes the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Wedding, First Vows and Ordination.
However, the store also offers a wide variety of children’s gifts, according to owner Yvette Trevino.
“The children’s department is by far the largest segment within our store. It includes blankets and clothing for newborns, books and toys for toddlers, stuffed toys for preschoolers and so much more. This section is also our most popular. It includes sacramentals for baptism, Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation,” Trevino said.
Additionally, the store offers books, Bibles, rosaries, pendants, journals, devotionals, activity books, puzzles, games, stickers and stuffed toys. “We have crucifixes to adorn children’s rooms or new homes. They make excellent wedding gifts. Pendants (religious medals) are very popular for Confirmation and Order of Christian Initiation of Adults students,” Trevino said.
“Bibles are great for any sacrament. Statuary, sacred wall art and icons, jewelry, scapulars, rosaries and candles remain consistent sellers throughout the year for any sentiment or occasion,” Trevino said.
Trevino is proud of Windows of Heaven’s relationship with the community, and described the store as a unique outlet designed to be experienced.
“We’ve been told that we are like old friends, and it is wonderful to catch up every time they (customers) come in. We see this as a service and our focus is truly on meeting the needs of our customers and above all serving God faithfully,” Trevino said.
Windows of Heaven Catholic Books and Gift Store is located at 3940 N. Nevada Ave. It is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and closed Sunday. The phone is 719-686-0797.
Meanwhile, the family-owned All Things Catholic store specializes in religious articles including books, music, artwork, jewelry and gifts. The outlet also offers gifts for First Holy Communion and Confirmation recipients. And, they have greeting cards for nearly every occasion.
All Things Catholic is located in Chapel Hills Mall, 1710 Briargate Blvd., No. 701. Hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Saturday, and noon-5 p.m., Sunday. The phone is 719-867-1967 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catholic Market in Greenwood Village offers a collection of books, coloring books, games, movies, shows and toys that will guide and develop their faith formation.
Parents can instill Catholic values with captivating and informative books like the Nick and Sam series and the Virtue Chronicles by Paul McCusker. Parent can introduce their little ones to the treasure of the sacraments with fun and engaging episodes by Brother Francis or foster their devotion to live a great Catholic life with movies about the lives of the saints.
With content ranging from kindergarten to middle school, there’s sure to be something for every child. The address is 6160 S. Syracuse Way, Greenwood Village, 80111. Hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone number is 855-777-0746.