If you are still looking for good Christmas gifts for friends or family then here are some great ideas. My friend online, Catholic Book Lady and I came up with some gift recommendations. We tried picking books that had some good practicality to them, such as classics of the spiritual life, or that would be welcome to a friend, and then chose ones in all price ranges. You can find most of these at good Catholic bookstores, or the usual popular online ones. We are using links to the publisher so as to not favor one particular store. I know one popular online bookstore still has free shipping with $25+ orders until Monday and you’ll still get it before Christmas. These books are not in any particular order.
#1 Catholic Scripture Study Bible – This is a very nice leather bible with lots of aids to bible study, maps, ribbons, and a whole apologetics section with a cheat sheet to aid you in finding Church teachings fast.
#2 The Daily Roman Missal -The new translation of the Mass is here and this will be a great aid for you. Even if you are not able to attend daily Mass, you can still meditate on the day’s readings. If you have an old missal, it is still good for the readings of the day because they have not changed, but the rest of the Mass is different. This book covers every day, not just Sundays or weekdays, which I really like.
#3 Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture by Teresa Tomeo – This is a great book I highly recommend because it shows the lies and distortions the culture and the media tell about issues important today such as women’s body image, the feminist agenda and related issues. Teresa Tomeo then shows you how to overcome these distortions of our culture with a spiritual extreme makeover. I did a review of this book awhile back: You Need a Makeover.
#4 Motherhood Matters – Inspirational Stories, Letters, Quotes & Prayers for Catholic Moms by Dorothy Pilarski. I’m partial to Dorothy because she’s a friend of mine and has worked so hard on this book. It questions whether the modern cultural version of motherhood is good for any of us, and encourages us to look at motherhood as a vocation. It is loaded with practical advice. She has a great set of endorsements from heavy hitters such as Alice Von Hildebrand, Lisa Hendey, Sr. Ann Shields and Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle. You can only obtain this book at Dorothy’s blog Gutsy Catholic Mom.
Unfortunately, you will not get this before Christmas, BUT I suggest you print out a picture of the book and stick it in their stocking. It will be a Christmas gift they can enjoy later. It’s that good.
#5 The Fire Within: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and the Gospel on Prayer by Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M. – This is one of the BEST books on the spiritual life there is. Fr. Dubay was a master spiritual director who gave decades of retreats to religious and lay people alike. He goes into depth here on the spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. The best part is he gives detail of each level of the spiritual life. St. Teresa was firm that one should know where one is going in one’s prayer life to progress in prayer without confusion and fear. This is a book to keep for life and refer to repeatedly.
#6 National Catholic Register – This is not a book but an excellent newspaper. I happen to think it is the best one in the U.S., but that is just my personal opinion. It is now owned by EWTN and is very in depth. It is an excellent gift, and I encourage you to subscribe for yourself as well. You can get this in print, online or now on your Kindle. The Kindle version is $1.99/month, which is just phenomenal.
#7 The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible – New Testament – This is just a fantastic gift. Listen to it in the car. It features fantastic actors such as Stacy Keach, Michael York and Blair Underwood and it’s amazingly produced. It uses the Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) bible. I can’t say enough about it.
#8 The Navarre Bible New Testament – Expanded Edition – I have many volumes of the Navarre Bible, both for the New and Old Testaments. This is an expanded version with the whole New Testament and has more notes then previously published. I love the Navarre Bible because it is user friendly, very faithful, written for the laity, and is set up to really aid both Lectio Divina (prayerful reading) and serious Bible study. It uses the excellent RSV-CE translation of the Bible.
#9 Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina by Dr. Tim Gray – I really enjoyed this small book about learning to pray with the scriptures. You can read my review that I did a few months ago, Quick Book Review: Praying Scripture for a Change. It would be a great gift for anyone who wants to learn about Lectio Divina or prayer in general.
#10 Imitation of Christ by Thomas A’ Kempis – Thomas was a German monk who lived in the 1400’s. His book Imitation of Christ is the second best selling book in history, only surpassed by the Bible. It is a guide to the spiritual life and, even though it was written for religious, is extremely profitable for the laity. Every Christian should own a copy. This book is published by several publishers. I chose this particular volume, by Catholic Book Company, because it is inexpensive, but handsomely bound and is in hardcover. They also have a soft leather version with a zipper. It’s my opinion that if you own this book, it should be something that will last for life. There are paperbacks, but this is inexpensive enough at $8.75 that why would you want a paperback?
Bonus Gift Recommendation! A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms by Lisa Hendey who is the founder of CatholicMom.com. This is last but not the least. We were trying to stick to 10 books but could not leave this one out! It is a great book that brings moms 52 different saints for a year of meditations, prayers, practical advice and wisdom. This is a great resource that any Catholic mom would love to have.
More stuff! If you are interested in other good classics of the spiritual life then check out this article from the Catholic Spiritual Direction website: Tattered Titles – And the Winners Are…. It has more recommendations you may like to share with those you love. And if YOU have any great ideas please share them with us! Merry Christmas!!!!