Christmas Gift Ideas — First Week of Advent

I’m shamelessly stealing something The Anchoress did last year. Throughout the season of Advent, she posted a number of Christmas gift ideas that not only make shopping less hectic but support good Catholic groups and noble causes.

So each week of Advent I’m going to highlight a few items that I believe Catholics — and any reader of IC — might enjoy getting or giving. Let’s get started…

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If you want a unique gift for somebody special, consider these gorgeous hand-crafted icon medal necklaces by artist and photographer Renata Grzan.

Grzan wrote all the icons she uses and carefully reproduces them in miniature. She then sends them to a jewelry designer where they are hand-set in sterling-silver casing with a waterproof and scratch-resistant coating. Grzan sends the medals out with a companion holy card of the icon and a polishing cloth.

You can choose between four different medals and two sizes of the silver chain. I’ve seen them up close and they’re beautiful. If you visit Grzan’s blog, you can take advantage of a discount she’s running this week. 

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A group of Carmelite Monks in northern Wyoming is thriving — so much so that they’re building another monastery called New Mount Carmel in the Wyoming mountains. Many know the community best, however, for the coffee they roast and sell — Mystic Monk Coffee. They carry many blends, sampler packs, mugs, and other items. Proceeds go to support their ever-growing monastic community. 

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Here’s a new book I haven’t read, but it’s right up my alley: Get Real: What Kind of World Are YOU Buying? by Mara Rockliff.

The author gears the book especially toward young people, highlighting many of the purchases they make — sneakers, technology, junk food, clothing. She follows the money so readers gain an understanding of what they’re really supporting with their everyday buying. Beware: This could turn a shopaholic teenager into a Peace Corps volunteer. 


Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Zo

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