The old adage for thoughtful gift-giving, “something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read,” was an oft-recited reminder this time of year in my household growing up. The cadent wisdom still worms its way into my brain when my formerly small and practical Christmas shopping list grows longer in the throes of Black Friday sales and Wirecutter gift-buying suggestions. For those in similar positions, looking to double-down on meaningful gifts in the flurry of louder and flashier retailers, consider supporting one of the many talented local, Catholic makers.
The Living Heart Co.
Opera singer Jessica Louise Coe – started painting watercolors to generate extra income 8 years ago when she and her husband were going through the adoption process. Hundreds of sold paintings and two children later, she now sells dozens of breathtaking prints of Our Lady, Jesus and many Saints. Her precious painting of the infant Jesus, the Holy Family embracing, and St. Joseph cradling Jesus would be perfect gifts for the art lover in your life or for the family looking to create a home altar.
Salem Studio has something for everyone on your shopping list. Nieces and nephews? Check out the adorable wool-felt Saint hand puppets. Is there a baker in your family? Check out the wide selection of Catholic cookie cutters and stamps, custom-engraved cutting boards and spoons and linen tea towels. And when in doubt, who doesn’t love a candle!? The shop’s Chrism-scented beeswax candles are just the thing.
The Dough House
Mouth-watering cookies, cinnamon rolls, bread and bagels are the expertise of St. Clair Shores’ mother of two, Caitlin Gibson. Fans rave about her kitchen sink cookies with pretzels, potato chips, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham cracker crumbs, heath chips, “there’s truly everything but the kitchen sink,” laughs Caitlin. Not to miss are the cinnamon rolls, cinnamon swirl boule, brown butter chocolate chip cookies, and Christmas scones. The Dough House takes orders for Christmas and can ship everything but the cinnamon rolls to the sweet-loving loved ones.
Sacred Creations Inc.
Families with young children will love Christine Jiddou’s engraved balsa wood ornaments and crafts for kids. There is a color-your-own Nativity ornament and a build-and-color-your-own nativity kit that come in both English and Arabic. The Catholic Family Advent set is a perfect family Advent challenge with 24 ornaments with various challenges for families to complete throughout Advent—bake cookies together, watch a Nativity movie, and read Luke 2:1-7. Last but not least, her adorable nativity Christmas earrings emphasize the real reason for the season in style. After a reversion in her faith, Christine Jiddou of Holy Martyrs Catholic Chaldean grew more passionate about learning about her Catholic faith, “I started seeking out Catholic items from small businesses,” Christine explains. When her husband encouraged her to buy a laser-engraving machine to create her own items, she felt inspired, “I’ve decided to create items that help evangelize our faith. I’m unsure where this will lead, but I’m letting God take control.”
Holy Rosaries Co.
If you want to give a gift (and prayer practice) that will last a lifetime, look through the stunning hand-crafted rosaries made by Sarah Struppa Alman. From the gorgeous Little Flower rosary with rose-colored quartz and jasper beads for the loved one you know with a special devotion to St. Terese to the Oh Holy Night rosary, a perfect gift to commemorate the season with emerald and cranberry-colored agate gemstones, Sarah’s Holy Rosaries Co. shop has dozens of dazzling and unique rosaries for you to choose from. Have something more specific in mind? Sarah will work with you to create a custom creation perfect for the loved one in your life and their specific devotion.
Looking to make Christmas cards a bit breezier this year? Make Margaret Mary Designs your one-stop shop. She will take your photos and design your Christmas cards with one of her hand-lettered designs. She also does custom lettering gifts if you’re looking to get something really meaningful for your loved ones. Let her be your collaborative partner for the perfect gift.
Allie Bears Boutique
When she’s not working as a marketing specialist for Our Sunday Visitor or as a catechist at Christ the King Parish, Allison Barrick is busily creating more handmade earrings for her Etsy shop. From wire-wrapped rose rings and rosary bracelets to a variety of Saint medal earrings along with various dangling earrings, Barrick hopes you’ll find, “items to enjoy — whether it’s to make your home cozier, maker you feel more confident and beautiful, or make the world a better place by recycling and being resourceful.” Plus 10% of her purchases go to several charities listed in her etsy shop.
Elevator to Heaven
Local author Colleen Pressprich has added one more read to her collection of family-friendly Catholic books that is a must for Advent, The Jesse Tree for Families. The book presents an attainable way to celebrate the liturgical season for families with children by focusing on a specific person from Jesus’ family tree with a meditation and ornament to hang on your family’s Jesse tree. Conversation prompts and resources for parents are included. Colleen’s books are on her website, including the Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children and Women Doctors of the Church.
Little Ways Publishing Co.
The latest creation to come out of SS. Cyril and Methodius parishioner Jackie Allor is the owner and author behind the Little Ways Publishing Company is the “A Way to the Manger” kit complete with prayers, a song card, a plush baby Jesus, a basket and a white pouch with the prophecy of Isaiah about Jesus. It’s a perfect accompaniment for parents of young children, who want to help their kids invite Mary and Jesus into their home this Advent and Christmas. Another customer favorite is the Snuggle Time Prayer series, with two books that help parents introduce traditional prayers to their children with illustrations that make bedtime prayer a stress-free and beautiful family experience.
For the fashion-savvy, ethical and sustainable shopper, Gabriella Patti’s Mumtaz Boutique is the place. Mumtaz means “excellent” in Arabic and her shop strives to live up to the name by curating unique vintage pieces from 1900 to 1990. That clamshell raffia clutch purse your mom had growing up, the 1960s plaid, houndstooth pleated skirt rand so many more difficult-to-find pieces from the glory days of fashion are yours for the taking.
A discount code at Mumtaz Boutique is available to UTG readers through December 24. Use UTG20 when you shop for 20% off of your purchase.
Don’t forget to take a look at last year’s roundup of local Catholic makers for more ideas!