Mr. Shaun McAfee, O.P. is the author of Reform Yourself! and other books, is the founder and editor of EpicPew.com, and contributes to many online Catholic resources. He holds a Masters in Dogmatic Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. Shaun has made his temporary profession as a Lay Dominican and temporarily lives in Italy.
Buying Catholic gifts for my kids is never difficult. Even if they're attached to it for a month, the use was well worth the price. Thankfully, religious hand-me-downs are always a hit, too! So, sometimes, each of my kids have enjoyed the same book, or the same rosary, or the same toy (silent toy!) in the pew.
If you're a late-planner and a late-buyer, I've got some sure-to-please Catholic gifts for you kids, and a couple ideas for your husband or wife. Buon Pasqua!
We have had to buy three of these, and that was well before we had four kids! Each of them love this book: the softly padded cover and the thick paper-board pages, they also adore the cute art on each page. It has "22 pages" but that means its about 9 or 10 flips, which is great because it wont make a ton of noise at Mass, and more importantly, it focusses on the important imagery the child sees in Mass (in real life). It's a solid pick for a kid's Mass tote, ages 2-4. Get A Missal for Toddlers here.
This book is incredible. Ever see those black and white pictures where an important object in the image is all that's colored? That's what this book is all about: each page is in black and white, except for some imporant thing a child will notice in the Mass. The font, the priest's chasuble, the chalice—you get the point. This book is wonderful and I will certainly replace mine if it wears out. Perhaps best for children ages 3-5, maybe 6. Get I Went to Mass: What did I See? right here.
Make your egg hunt Christian again! Do it with these eggs that are shaped like the animals on the Ark. Then, teach your kids about Noah, God's plan for redemption, and baptism—each central parts of the salvation story of Easter. These?—probably ages 2-9, depending on your family traditions. Get the Noah's Ark Easter Egg Hunt Kit here.
I like these a lot. We got one for our oldest over 7 years ago and he still has it—I can't say the same for some of the other sacramentals he's been given. This is strong, sturdy, and sweet. Yes, we have several crucifixes around the house, but I enjoy this cross with the child praying because it's a visual reminder of our encouragement to him to also pray daily. Ages 0-5. Get the Praying Child Wall Cross here (they come in boy, and girl).
For the older kids: Kid's Mass Kit
My kids are pretty well behaved at Mass, but we also want them to understand the Mass. That comes, for most of us, through repetition. Over time they will ask questions: Mom, why does the priest wear white? Or, Dad, why do we bow and kneel so often? These are excellent questions—even adults ask them!—and the contribute greatly to their learning of the Faith. What better way to encourage that, and encourage vocations, than to have they say Mass right at home? We got them this cardboard set last Christmas, and they sometimes use it daily. Actually, I was not even upset when they came and said, "Daddy! We lost the paten." They know what a paten is! Point proved. Get this cardboard set to introduce them, then get a better kit later. Ages 3-7. Buy the Kid's Mass Kit here.
For babies: Chews Life Rosary
Every one of my kids has their own, even the 7-year-old, although he likes his shiny "grown up" rosaries (I might have had some influence on that). They slobber on them, tumble them in their hand, chew on them, drop them on the floor, and do it all over again. Nothing, to me, is better than the thought that the rosary will always be a familiar image in their minds and feeling in their hands. Choose from a full 5-decade rosary, or a single-decade. I recommend ages 0-5. Get the Chews Life Rosary here (and be sure to check out the one with soft-plastic miraculous medals).
Two bibles for your husband:
These are my two most treasured, and most used Bibles. Your husband will love them, too. Get him, either, The Didache Bible—with numerous commentaries and apologetic resources—or The Great Adventure Catholic Bible, with fascinating notes on biblical topics, histories, and organization that makes any sort of Bible study an absolute breeze.
For your wife
Your wife might totally go for something else, but chances are good she'll be blown away from this 14K Gold Monstrance Necklace pendant.