26 November 2016

What to get your priest for Christmas

Seeing a bit on increased traffic to his blog by people searching for suggestions for Christmas gifts for their priests, Father Jerabek - who blogs at his eponymous blog - posted five suggestions.

I've had traffic here over the years from those with the same query - and I am seeing a bit of increased traffic for it now - and have posted a few initial thoughts with a few suggestions for you. I'm happy to do so again, with a bit of updating:

N.B.I am not writing this post as an attempt to receive gifts but as a way of trying to assist people in choosing gifts for their local priest.

First, you have to keep the personality of the priest in mind; not every priest is the same and neither are their interests. For example, if you want to give your priest a gift card to a restaurant, first ask yourself if he goes out to eat (not every priest does). If he does, where does he go? Most priests, in my experience, have gift cards to restaurants they do not frequent (for whatever reason). You don't want to give him a certificate or card that he won't likely use.

The same might be said with vestments. There are vestments that some priests wear that I'll never touch and there are some vestments that I wear that they'll never touch.

Second, various artworks and knick-knacks are always nice, but keep in mind that the rectory only has so many shelves and blank spots on a wall. At the same time, the more things a priest collects over the years, the more things he has to move. Some things priests don't mind moving, other things they do.

Third, homemade holiday treats (cookies, pies, cakes, fruits, etc.) are delicious and always welcome, but check with the secretaries to see how much has already come in. At this time of the year the kitchen counter is most always overflowing with goodies that cannot be eaten because of the sheer quantity.

Fourth, if want to give your priest a book, check to see if he has wish list at Amazon and other such sites.

Fifth, check with your parish secretary to see if she has any ideas. Priests often comment to their secretaries on a variety of issues and you never know what he might have mentioned quite in passing the other day. Astute secretaries are aware of these things.

Now, on to the suggestions (in no particular order). Some of these are things that I wouldn't mind having myself and some have come from conversations with others priests (I won't tell you which is which):

  • Gas cards
  • Gift cards for oil changes or tire rotations
  • Gift cards to book stores (Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Ignatius Press, etc.)
  • An IOU for baked goods later in the year (just don't forget!)
  • Gift cards to religious goods stores (both local and on-line)
  • Gift cards to his favorite restaurant
  • Gift cards for the local gym
  • An invitation to join your family for a meal in your home
  • Car wash tokens
  • Make a donation in the priest's name to Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, Peter's Pence, Aid to the Church in Need, etc.
  • Offer a gift for a particular situation in the parish
  • Cash never hurts, either
The above list is certainly not exhaustive and is not meant to discourage you from giving your priest a physical gift. If the list is helpful, use it; if not, ignore it.

Brother priests: Is there something I've overlooked?

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