Though Advent is still a few weeks away, ’tis the season to start making a list and checking it twice. To make it easier on you, here’s a gift-guide to Houston businesses that are either owned by Catholics or sell Catholic items. The hope is that, as you spend your gift dollars, you use them to support those who use their talents and business savvy for God’s glory. To be clear, none of these links are affiliate links – this is just a compilation of my own creation to support local Catholic merchants. Also, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Please feel free to leave links of gifts you’d recommend in the comments section (no MLMs, please!)
For the friend who says “Mass is boring”:
St. Josemaria Escriva said: “You’re bored? That’s because you keep your senses awake and your soul asleep.” OUCH! Help your loved one’s soul rise and shine with the Every Sacred Sunday Mass journal, a beautifully designed 250+ page journal featuring watercolor illustrations, a linen cover, and thick pages perfect for journaling. Identical to the Lectionary read aloud at Mass, the journal also features the Sunday and Holy Day readings for the entire year. ($44.95 + shipping; bulk pricing available.)
For the family affected by Harvey:
It’s been a tough few months for those devastated by Harvey, and a photo session is probably not at the top of their priority list. Documenting those beautiful, resilient faces might help ease the ache as families face the holidays a little differently this year. Help give them something to hang on their new walls, and to remember that there is always sunshine after the rain. Give Lauren Holub Photography a call to book a session. Gift certificates available.
For your vintage-religious-art-loving cousin:
The retro-chic candle, print, and art designs from Providential Co. is your one-stop shop – like Anthropologie for Catholics. Their hand-sewn Rosary pouch with the first line of the Hail Mary in Latin printed in the design might be just the thing for your loved one. Keep the dust, lint, cracker crumbs, and open pens away from her blessed sacramental in this classy bag ($14.99 + shipping.)
For your coworker that pins DIY wood signs all day but will never actually make one:
KeepingMc will make you a hero (and hopefully help retire that pinboard.) The McDonald family of Tomball was flooded during Harvey and temporarily closed their etsy shop, but they’re ready to roll with beautifully designed, hand crafted signs and decor. Signs vary with different quotes or prayers, and with a 2-3 week turnaround and a small additional fee, they can even do custom orders (signs start at $15 + shipping.)
For the college roommate who loves letter writing:
Make her season merry and bright with whimsical paperie treasures like notecards, stationery, and more from Meyer Market Designs. Bernadette offers designs featuring college teams, saint quotes, regional flair, and more. This Yellow Rose of Texas notepad gets my vote! ($8.75 + shipping.) While there, be sure to check out the line of fun pillowcases.
For the teenager who never cracks open a Bible:
Make them WANT to dive into the Word of God with a customized, hand-painted Bible. GracePainted etsy shop owner Valerie Delgado says, “People are attracted to beautiful things, so our mission is to create a beautiful Bible that can lead even the darkest of hearts to crack it open and consider the words inside of it.” Hand painted Bibles and journals are available in a variety of styles for men (pictured, $60 + shipping) and women.
For your athlete friend who never misses a run:
Give the gift of relaxation! A gift card for a 60-minute sports massage ($95.00) from mobile massage by Nikki might be just the ticket to loosen tired, sore muscles for that friend training for the Chevron Marathon. Nikki also offers 1, 1.5 and 2 hr massages, along with a prenatal package and other massage therapy such as Swedish, Lymph Drainage, Critz, Core Stretching, Pregnancy, and Cellulite Reduction.
For your friends celebrating a New Home Christmas:
Matching insulated coffee cups with their monograms? A set of sassy personalized wine glasses? Or maybe this functional but decorative glass cutting board ($10, local pickup in Sugar Land) for their shiny new kitchen? Little Pink Lamb Vinyl & Gifts will work with you to create a custom gift that they won’t soon forget.
For your aunt, the daily Rosary pray-er:
An exquisite, magnetic clasp Rosary bracelet from MG Rosary is a solid choice. To the casual observer, this looks like a double-strand bracelet, but the clasp opens to reveal a full five-decade Rosary, making it easy to keep track of prayers as you go about the day. Available in a wide variety of stones and designs, these bracelets are also the perfect gift for someone who wants to begin praying the Rosary more regularly. Shop also features vintage Catholic jewelry and First Communion pieces. Genuine Turquoise (pictured) is $43 + shipping; pricing varies based on style.
For the newly engaged or newlywed couple:
More engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Years than any other time of year, so chances are good you’ve got a newly-engaged family member or friend on your list. Why not help them get a head start in learning Natural Family Planning (NFP) by gifting an Introductory Session for the Creighton method of fertility awareness? NFP can be used to achieve or avoid pregnancy, and it’s hormone-free and great for the environment, too! Kim Broussard of FertilityCare of Fort Bend offers gift certificates for intro sessions. Email her at kim.broussard at fcfortbend dot com to purchase.
For the friend always late to (or forgetting!) your lunch dates:
Help her get organized with a planner from The Milestone Design. The Master Planner comes in four different fabric or vinyl color options, with space for 6 different family members’ schedules (great for big families!) Planner also features a true monthly calendar with notes in a removable notebook at the back, as well as perforated pages and a lovely ribbon bookmark. ($24.95 + shipping.)
For your neighbor fighting breast cancer:
How about this antique design St. Zelie necklace ($18.00 + shipping) from the Falling Rosebud etsy shoppe? St. Zelie is the patron saint of breast cancer patients, as she herself succumbed to the the disease. This lovely piece is a daily reminder of her powerful intercession. Browse the shop for other favorite patrons like St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. John Paul II, and St. Rita.
For the spouse, college student, or parent who needs a spiritual shot in the arm:
There is nothing like the gift of a silent retreat at Featherock Conference Center in Weimar, TX, about an hour and a half outside of Houston. Silent retreats are available for women and men throughout the year, and feature loose schedules with talks, guided meditations, and Masses in the oratory chapel. The food is cooked by a professional chef, and is designed to nourish the body as the Lord nourishes your soul. (Rates vary based on dates/times.)
For the young couple, with young children, who just need a break:
Offer to babysit their brood and give them a gift certificate to one of these Catholic-owned eateries:
And of course, if you like to see, touch, and smell (books, amirite?) the items your purchase for others, you can’t go wrong with these local Catholic bookstores:
Libreria Cristo Rey – Pasadena, (713) 472-8803
Have a suggestion for a local Catholic merchant not listed? Please drop a link in the comments below. Please, no MLM or network marketing links – they will be deleted without warning. Thank you for understanding!