I am always a wee bit embarrassed to admit this in Catholic circles, but I get super excited when all the Christmas stuff gets busted out immediately after Halloween. I got all squeely and excited with the girls last week that we were only about 1 month away from putting up our tree (!!!!). I know it's absurd but I've always been a little bit Buddy-Elfish in terms of my love for all things Christmas and it always takes a looooot of effort to enter into the spirit of Advent, with all of its waiting.
We also cheat a little here because we do our gifting to each other on Saint Nicholas day, because we will always travel to be with our extended families for Christmas. So this is my big prep time for gifting, and while I am always very open to taking any and all recommendations in the liturgical area around this time of year, I figured I'd bang out a little list of some good, simple, liturgically appropriate Saint Nicholas gift ideas. This is NOT a sponsored post.
1: My Little Catechism. This would be a really great Saint Nicholas gift for a child and would be a wonderful aid in early catechetical formation. It works in a question-answer format, which I always love for kids, and the illustrations are so sweet. I'm super excited to use it for sacramental prep for Bernadette next year too.
2: A Missal for Toddlers. I LOVE this little book. I have never seen a missal for toddlers that actually brings in concrete parts of the Mass for teaching, without being overwhelming. Joseph legitimately loves it and asks to read it daily, and since it makes sure to highlight the importance of good behavior in Mass I am hoping it will start to go to his head very soon.At Mass this week he held it while he sang "holy, holy" and while it was not even close to the right part of Mass for him to be singing, it was pretty much the cutest.
3: The Christmas Star. I really like Maite Roche's illustrations, and this book is perfect for very little ones who can't sit for too long (I'm looking at you Joe) or if you've got a squirmy nursing baby who doesn't permit long stints of reading (ahem, Fred).
4: My First Prayers for Christmas. Joe got this book for his first Christmas and it's still a favorite around here. The little prayers are really beautiful and while I think that this one and A Christmas Star would probably be better Christmas gifts than Saint Nicholas, God will probably still love you of you gifted them early. Probably.
5: Lucia: Saint of Light. I first saw this book on Elizabeth's blog and since she is pretty much the read aloud queen, all I needed was her OK to go for it as one of little Lucy's 4th birthday gifts, and we really love it. It would also be so perfect for a Saint Nicholas day gift since the feast of Saint Lucy comes soon after that. It is a wonderful mix of a retelling of the life of Saint Lucy and the origins of all the traditions surrounding her feast.
6: Roses in the Snow. I happened upon this on Amazon and it's another beautifully written and illustrated saint story and since there's a lot of snow in it it feels pretty seasonally apt.
7: Advent at Ephesus. I love Christmas music with all my heart. As a kid, a middle schooler, a high schooler and a college student I was always listening primarily to Christmas music as soon as the first signs of fall were showing themselves until at least New Years. However, this is probably the thing that effects how I approach the season the most and so with the exception of Charlie Brown's Christmas soundtrack, I stick with Advent at Ephesus almost exclusively and it is THE best Advent must-have I've found. The advent hymns are sung by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles and they are absolutely beautiful and so peaceful.
8: A Gospel Advent Calendar. This is definitely the neatest little Advent calendar I've seen yet. Each day has a Gospel reading to go with it, and the little companion booklet has little meditations for the day as well. My favorite part is that it doesn't end with Christmas, but include the Epiphany, the feast of the Holy Family, and the Presentation. If you'd like to score one of these for free, enter the giveaway below, and happy Advent preparation time!
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