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Busted Halo
feature: entertainment & lifestyle
December 19th, 2010

Gift-Wrap-Up

Suggestions we've made in recent weeks, if you still need a little help

 
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Still struggling to find a Christmas gift for someone? Consider these suggestions we’ve made recently.

If you have someone on your list who would appreciate a book, we’ve highlighted two gorgeous options recently that are easy choices.

The Saint John’s Bible is an amazing new illuminated bible we featured last month (Meeting Scripture Through the Illuminated Word) and it has been reproduced in seven gorgeous coffee table volumes, following the classic sections of the Bible. The first six are available and each can be purchased separately. Whether as a treasured home bible, a collection of sacred art, a tool for lectio divina, or all three, it’s hard to imagine a better gift for the right person.

Author Judith Dupré contributed an article to Busted Halo recently that was based on her new book, Full of Grace: Encountering Mary in Faith, Art and Life — which is filled with thought-provoking essays and a trove of Marian art. This beautiful volume mixes classic and modern art renderings of the Virgin Mary with 59 essays by Dupré ranging in topic from Mary’s Jewish roots to the roles of women, from Our Lady of Guadalupe to Mary’s relevance in 21st-century life.

Full of Grace is widely available in bookstores. You will find The Saint John’s Bible volumes in some specialty bookstores, but the big chains generally don’t keep them in stock. All these books, however, are readily available through Amazon with arrival by Christmas. Sunday is the last day to order with free shipping, and Monday with regular shipping, but there are high-priced rush shipping options through the 23rd.

Alternative approaches

We’ve also talked in recent weeks about options other than regular gift buying.

Both Brittany Janis, in 5 Ways to Celebrate Christmas Without Spending a Dollar, and our blogger Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft, in a recent post Gift Conspiracy, zero in on annoyance at thoughtless gifts, and they offer a way to get rid of the consumerism but not the gift-giving: by giving something of yourself — either making the gift or turning a service you provide or a joint activity (like tickets together for a show) into a gift. Think about it; which would you rather receive from a loved one, a junky item destined for regifting, the garbage can or long-term storage, or something that came from their heart? Why wouldn’t others feel the same about gifts from you? (I’m assuming your answer wasn’t “junky item.”)

You don’t have to avoid buying all gifts, though. In addition to the idea of joint tickets, Vanessa also celebrates the thoughtful gift: when you give someone something they actually want, not because they asked for it outright, but because you noticed the need or remembered hearing them mention it long ago (not as a hint dropped for Christmas but as a genuinely unconnected remark.) It can be very moving to receive a thoughtful gift like this and realize the person has been paying attention to you.

In a new installment of our podcast Facts of Faith, Frs. Larry Rice and Dave Dwyer discuss other alternatives to regular gift giving. Fr. Larry talks about making a donation to charity, giving the person a card explaining the gift. Or if you are in a situation where you need or want to give relatively generic gifts, he suggests fair trade products — handcrafts and food items made in sustainable ways and with the maximum possible income going directly to the farmer or craftsperson who made the gift. Catholic Relief Services and many other organizations help facilitate fair trade marketing.

Both Vanessa and Fr. Larry talk about the campaign Advent Conspiracy, which encourages a little bit of each of the things mentioned in the posts above. It has the involvement of 1500 churches and faith-based organizations around the principles: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All — keeping the focus on the meaning of Christmas, spending less on disposable or unwanted gifts, giving more of your time and resources through homemade and thoughtful gifts, and showing love of strangers by giving more to charity.

We hope these suggestions help with any gift planning you may still have to do. And all of us at Busted Halo wish you a blessed Advent and a very Merry Christmas!

 
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The Author : Phil Fox Rose
Phil Fox Rose is content manager of Busted Halo. He's a writer, editor and content lead based in New York and writes the On the Way blog at patheos.com. He is coordinator for the New York City chapter of Contemplative Outreach, helping promote centering prayer, which has been his contemplative practice for nearly 20 years. Phil has also been a political party leader, videographer, tech journalist, punk roadie, software designer, sheepherder, stockbroker and downtempo radio DJ. A common thread is the process of learning about stuff, figuring it out and then sharing that understanding with others. Follow Phil on Facebook here. Or on Twitter here. philfoxrose.com.
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