Caitrin Bennett suggests incorporating prayer to specific saints into gifts for your loved ones this Christmas.
My Little Flower
When I was in college, my roommate, Erin, gave me a flowering plant for my birthday. I don’t remember what kind of flower it was, and it didn’t even stay alive very long, but that simple plant has stuck with me as one of my favorite gifts I’ve ever received.
What made that little flower so special was the accompanying note connecting it with the Little Flower, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Erin explained that she had prayed a novena, a special set of prayers said each day for nine days, for me to Saint Thérèse. I was touched to know that my friend had prayed for me, and that the beautiful Saint Thérèse was praying for me, too. Each time I looked at my little pink flower, I was reminded of the prayers of my earthly and heavenly friends. What a gift!
A Gift for My Husband
A few years later, I found myself puzzling over what to get my husband, Chris, for Christmas. As a single income military family with two young kids, we were on a bit of a budget. Still, I wanted to get him something special. That year, he had started taking college classes on top of his full-time job to pave the way into our family’s future. I was so proud of him and grateful that he worked so hard for me and for our children.
I thought back to my special Little Flower, and decided to pick a saint I could pray to on Chris’s behalf. Chris’s school program was in cyber security, so I chose Saint Isidore of Seville, patron saint of computers and computer technicians. I found a novena prayer to Saint Isidore online (check out PrayMoreNovenas.com for many great options!), and planned to pray for the nine days leading up to Christmas.
As a physical gift to go with my novena, I ordered an inexpensive notebook from Etsy personalized with a quote from Saint Isidore: “The more the soil is tilled, the richer the harvest.” I figured Chris could take notes for his classes in the notebook, and hopefully be inspired to keep on tilling that mental soil.
Saint Isidore is often symbolized by a bee (there is a fascinating story to Google there, if you are curious), so I also looked into buying a nice foil bee sticker to add to the relatively plain notebook. I quickly changed my mind when I saw single stickers going for five bucks, though. A week or so later, I opened my package to find that the Etsy seller had thrown in a cute bookmark as a freebie. I pulled the bookmark out of the journal and laughed out loud. The image on the bookmark was a little honeybee.
Give the Gift of Prayer!
So, if you are feeling stumped about what to get someone on your list for Christmas this year, why not give the gift of prayer? Look up a saint that shares their name or birthday, or that is patron of one of their interests, their hobbies, or their career. Then, find a small physical gift that connects to that saint to put under the tree. Be sure to explain the novena aspect of your gift in a note or in person.
While the physical gift may be nice, the thing your loved one will truly remember is that you prayed for them for nine days straight … and that they have a friend in heaven praying for them, too!
Copyright 2022 Caitrin Bennett
About the Author
Caitrin Bennett is a military wife and homeschooling mama of three young children. Her blog at HolierMatrimony.com combines two of her passions: sharing the Church’s beautiful teachings on marriage, and creative writing. Caitrin hopes to one day publish her own book on married saints and Catholic marriage.