Several visitors to the blog have arrived via Google search on “Christmas gift ideas for priests” or the like in the last week or so. I have posted on this in the past, but figured I should post an update with some additional thoughts – since several kind folks are apparently wanting them! In addition, if you search the web, you will find other sites that provide suggestions.
1. A Prayer Commitment – Priests are used to signing Mass cards for others, but rarely receive the gift of a Mass card for their intentions (if you request one, maybe go to another parish, so another priest fulfills the intention). Spiritual bouquets and other prayer commitments, also, are always appreciated. Priests need prayer in a particular way, since the devil is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8) and especially targets priests; also, it is always a consolation to know that people are praying for you in a special way.
2. Cash (for a diocesan priest – religious orders have different policies about whether their priests may accept cash, or indeed, any gift) – Most priests have certain things they would buy if they had the extra money: perhaps a special vestment, a plane ticket, a new cassock, or any number of other things. Cash (or check) is always appreciated.
3. Booze – Usually the priest’s secretary knows what kind of whisky/bourbon he likes, wine, etc. It’s well known that there are some priests with drinking problems (priests are people too…) – also, if you get the sense that your priest struggles with loneliness, this gift may not be a good idea in his case. But if he is well-adjusted and tends to stay busy, then this should be a safe and much-appreciated gift.
4. Gift Cards – Again, the parish secretary may know which restaurants Father likes or which store he buys his black socks at. Car wash gift cards are a great idea as well! Is there a full-service car wash in town where they will also do the vacuuming and waxing for you? Even better.
5. Books – This can get a little tricky, since many priests, on the one hand, do not have a whole lot of time to read nowadays (definitely not a good thing), and on the other hand, tend to have their own interests with regard to which authors/subjects/genres to read. But I will recommend two books that Father might be less likely to have and that would be edifying for him: A Man Approved (see my post about it here) and In Sinu Iesu (recently published – see here). (If you’re not sure, Amazon gift cards always work great.)
These are the items that immediately come to mind… if anyone recommends anything else, feel free to leave a comment and I may add it to the list. Thank you for your kindness and generosity to your priest(s)!