Thoughtful presents that provide R&R, build friendship, and offer support are often the best
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Diocesan priests don’t take a vow of poverty like religious priests do, but figuring out what to buy a man who’s devoted himself to the work of God can still be a challenge. It’s important to remember that priests are people too, with needs, interests and hobbies, and they enjoy being treated to special things like anybody else. Many priests are also overworked and isolated these days, so sometimes the best gift is one that helps them feel supported and cared for.
Here are 12 ideas to consider this Christmas when you’re wondering how to show your priest that you deeply appreciate him and his service:
1) Season tickets to the symphony, theater, sports games or a lecture series
Does your priest have a favorite local sports team? Does he enjoy the symphony, plays, or interesting cultural talks? Season tickets to something he loves are a real treat. You may even get yourself an extra set and go with him!
2) Gift card for gas, car tune-up or auto detailing
Many dioceses have priest shortages and priests are often pastors of more than one parish. Some have mission parishes they must travel to as well. Priests often put thousands and thousands of miles on their cars every year, and they appreciate the ability to keep their vehicles safe and running well.
3) An invitation to spend a day at an amusement park or museum with your family
Priests need some fun and healthy recreation too! And it’s a great way to get to know a priest outside the parish setting.
4) An invitation to brunch or dinner at your home
It may come as a surprise, but many priests don’t get invited to families’ homes to sit around the table for a meal. Invite your priest over for brunch or dinner.
5) Gift certificate to a bookstore (or iTunes or Amazon)
Most priests read a lot and love books and magazines. There is nothing better for a bibliophile than time in a bookstore browsing the shelves for favorite titles.
6) Gym membership
Is there a gym close to your priest’s residence? A priest’s schedule can make it challenging to find time for exercise, but a membership to a local gym allows them to pop in when they have a little time between commitments.
7) An invitation to join you for a movie, an afternoon on the golf course, or fishing or lunch
Any one of these are opportunities to build friendship outside of the parish and give your priest a little break away from his usual routine.
8) Cooking lessons
Does your priest like to cook? Some priests have cooks in residence, and some don’t, but for clergy who want or need to cook for themselves, the same old recipes can get boring. A few lessons with a professional chef can provide new and fresh ideas.
9) Gift certificate to a favorite hobby store
Does your priest love to golf? Is he a runner? Does he like to write, or is he a musician? A gift certificate to a place he can splurge on a new accessory for a favorite hobby is always much appreciated.
10) Good coffee, tea, chocolate, or wine
These never get old. Go for the good stuff that he never buys for himself — the fair-trade aromatic tea, the roasted, locally grown coffee beans, homemade truffles, the beautiful bottle of port.
11) Cash money, baby
This never gets old either. While you can’t guarantee your priest will actually spend it on himself, there are always practical things he may need to buy for himself, or upcoming vacations he would like to save for.
We ask our priests to pray for us, but they need our prayers, too. Visit a nearby parish and obtain a Mass card for him or give him a card with the promise of a certain number of rosaries or chaplets or a novena for his needs and intentions. It warms a priest’s heart to know that the people he serves are praying for him.
Zoe Romanowskyis lifestyle editor and video content producer for Aleteia.