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Five Tips for Selecting a Kids Cross Necklace

One of the nicest Christian gifts you can give a child is a kids cross necklace. The gift of a cross necklace is both personal and meaningful, making it ideal for any occasion, and as there are so many different cross styles available, it is fairly easy to find a kids cross necklace to suit nearly anyone. Here are five great tips for choosing a necklace to suit the recipient perfectly.

Choose the Right Size

When choosing a kids cross necklace, be sure to select one that will fit the child you will be giving it to. Some crosses are made just for children, while others may look as if they are, but may have chains that are too long. To get a perfect fit, prevent tangles, and make sure the cross looks right when worn, either select a cross necklace with an adjustable cord, or purchase a cord or chain separately. Finally, keep in mind that jewelers have the ability to cut chains for a customized fit.

Look For an Appealing Style

Like adults, kids definitely have their own senses of style. Keep in mind that while a certain kids cross necklace style might appeal to your sense of taste, it’s most important to choose a religious cross necklace that will appeal to the child’s individual sense of style.

Select an Appropriate Material

While it might be tempting to purchase a cross made with silver, gold, or even platinum, remember that kids can be tough on their possessions, and that they often lose small items. While you don’t want to present a child with a cross that will turn his or her neck green, the temptation to purchase a cross made from cheap metal can be strong. Instead, why not look into an olivewood cross necklace for boys, or a cross made with mother of pearl for girls?

Watch Out for Overpriced Items

Unless you decide to purchase a kids cross necklace made with precious metal or gemstones, you shouldn’t have to pay more than about twenty dollars for it. You can even find fantastic crosses for kids for less than ten dollars.

Keep Personality and Occasion in Mind

Finally, be sure you keep the recipient’s personality in mind, and give some thought to the occasion you are presenting the cross necklace for, as well. Making a careful selection will help to ensure that the child who receives the cross likes it.

You’ll find a wonderful selection of crosses, cross necklaces, and other outstanding Christian gifts at Not only do we carry an excellent array of items handcrafted by artisans in the Holy Land, our prices are reasonable, as are shipping charges. Spend just a few minutes browsing, and you’ll almost certainly find just what you are looking for.

Gift Ideas for Pastors and Priests

It can be difficult to buy presents for pastors and priests. What do they need? What do they want? What do they not already have ten thousand versions of? What would they appreciate? What would make them feel appreciated? The questions just keep coming …

Yet we do want to show our love and gratitude to our spiritual leaders. We do want to show them that we care. But, how do we do that? What do we give our pastor or priest for a gift?

One idea is to get them something that isn’t really for them. One family bought a sheep for a family in India in honor of their pastor. And he loved it. Another family donated a rocking chair to the church in his honor. The new mothers in the church loved it!

Another idea is to commit your prayer to your pastor. What better gift is there than the gift of prayer? Your pastor or priest will be encouraged and comforted by the idea that you have committed to pray for him. You might want to accompany this promise with a physical gift that symbolizes your commitment, such as this Jesus praying hands sculpture.

Sometimes we do want to deliver an actual wrapped gift into our leader’s hardworking hands. You might consider this comfort cross made of olive wood. It is a popular, affordable, and meaningful gift option. For a more traditional version of this gift, check out this olive wood cross.

If a physical gift isn’t important to you, you might want to consider gifting your pastor or priest with financial support. Sometimes a loving gift of money or gift cards can make a world of difference in a pastor’s life. You could also ask others members of your congregation to contribute.

You could also read your priest’s mind. What does he like to do? What would he spend money on? A hunting license? A golf outing? A concert? Movie tickets? A Netflix subscription? An overnight at a bed and breakfast? You know your pastor. What would be a special treat that you could help him afford?

If you are the crafty type, consider creating a gratitude scrapbook. You might ask members of your parish to contribute photos or other keepsakes. Then assemble them into a scrapbook with a “thank you for your service” theme. Your priest will love it.

Gift-Giving as a Love Language

If you’ve not already read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, do it! What started out as a book has turned into an empire. There is now a “men’s edition” and an edition for parenting. There’s a couple’s study Bible and a series of children’s books.

Here it is in a nutshell: each of us expresses and receives love in one of five ways. (We may be multilingual, but we each have one dominant love language.) These love languages are: words, acts of service, touch, quality time, and gift-giving.

I must admit—when I first read this book, the gift-giving love language completely stumped me. Sure, giving and receiving gifts is fun and important, but can it really be placed in the same category as touch and words?

But then I had an experience. You see, I have a loved one who loves to give me gifts. For years, this has made me feel bad. She spends lots of money on me and then I feel guilty. She buys me expensive gifts that I don’t need. And she buys me many gifts.

Especially at Christmas. This wonderful woman buys (and individually wraps) at least a dozen ornaments for me. I mean, how many Christmas ornaments does one family need? (Although I do really love my holy family at manger Christmas ornament.) But still, on every occasion, she would get me gifts. And on every occasion, I would not understand.

On occasion, I even refused her gifts. On occasion, I even acted ungrateful. And I did an absolutely terrible job of giving her gifts in return. What a dummy, right?

One day, it hit me. Oh no! That’s her love language! She thinks I don’t love her! And just like that, I realized that I wasn’t letting her love me either.

And in that moment, I vowed to take my gift-giving and receiving a little more seriously. Now, I receive her gifts with gratitude and appreciation. Now, I spend way more time thinking about what to get her for gifts. (Right now I’m debating between the mother of pearl camel pin and the mother of pearl bracelet with cross. Shh…don’t tell!)

Today, I realize that gift-giving is a gift in and of itself. And even though it is not my love language, it is the love language of many, and from here on out, I will make an effort to honor that.

Gifts for Catholic Confirmation: Five Fantastic Ideas

Gifts for Catholic Confirmation should celebrate the Confirmand’s deepening faith. Here are five gifts that are suitable for giving Catholic Confirmation recipients.

Gifts for Catholic Confirmation don’t have to be expensive, but they should be memorable. As the sacrament of Confirmation is part of an important life transition for Catholics, many families celebrate by hosting parties, and many churches bring their congregations together to celebrate. If you have friends, relatives, or acquaintances who are receiving the Sacrament, you’ll find the following suggestions concerning gifts for Catholic Confirmation to be useful.

Confirmation Blessing Keepsake

You can easily create a Confirmation blessing keepsake using your favorite medium; whether you woodburn the following inscription into a plaque or cross-stitch it onto a piece of fabric to frame, it will certainly be appreciated:

May Truth Be Your Guiding Star, and May the Word of God Always be your Most Trusted Counsel and Your Heart’s Greatest Treasure.

Add the confirmand’s name and the date of his or her confirmation, and you’ll be all set.

A Rosary

The Roman Catholic Rosary is a wonderful tool for daily prayer, or for simple meditation. While most Catholics know about the rosary, many wish they would remember to use their rosaries more often. Mother of pearl rosaries and wooden rosaries from Bethlehem are beautiful and will last a lifetime. If you are sponsoring a confirmand, the gift of the rosary takes on even greater significance.

A Survival Kit from God

You can put this little kit together with a few simple items, and enclose it in a wooden keepsake box:

  • A Lollipop to Lick Your Problems
  • Life Savers to Help Keep You from Drowning in Everyday Concerns
  • A String to Help Tie Up Your Loose Ends
  • An Olivewood cross to Keep Things In Perspective

While these gifts for Catholic Confirmation are simple, they’re certainly meaningful! If you are giving several confirmation gifts, you’ll appreciate the fact that this idea is an extremely cost-effective one.

A Cross

A simple cross, be it one that can be worn around the neck, or a larger one designed to be displayed on a wall, is one of the most popular gifts for Catholic Confirmation. Another type of cross that makes an outstanding Confirmation gift is the Comfort Cross, which is just the right size for carrying in a purse or pocket. Much like a worry stone, this smooth, contoured cross improves as time passes.

Sacred Artwork

Sacred artwork isn’t just for churches! Just like crosses and crucifixes, these unique pieces of artwork are wonderful for display in the home. Whether you go for a classic painting or a replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta, a simple set of praying hands, or a lovely sculpture depicting the Holy Family, it is certain to be well received.

You’ll find plenty of gifts for Catholic Confirmation at Whether you’re assembling a gift basket, putting together a survival kit from God, or simply giving a traditional Confirmation gift like a rosary, you will appreciate both the affordable prices and the exceptional craftsmanship the site offers.

Gifts for Catholic Confirmation: Handcrafted Rosaries

While there are many fantastic Catholic confirmation gifts available, handcrafted rosaries are at the top of the list – and for a very good reason. Many young Catholics are not exposed to the rosary, as today’s families are often too busy to pray together regularly; and many adults who are new to the Catholic faith have lots on their plates, including many things to learn about being Catholic. It’s important to stress here that the rosary is not just for Catholics; however, we’re going to focus today on what makes handcrafted rosaries such a great traditional Catholic gift.

A Brief Introduction to the Rosary

The rosary, which is a combined form of meditation and prayer, has been in existence for a little over 1200 years. Its origin is alternately traced to hermits keeping track of prayers sometime before 300 CE, and to Irish monks living in the 9th century, who needed a better way to keep track of the psalms they recited daily.

The rosary truly became the “People’s Prayer” when people who came to hear the monks chanting psalms were advised to say 150 Pater Nosters in place of the psalms, which were difficult to memorize. As this form of prayer became more popular, people began devising methods for keeping track of the prayers they were saying. Some kept pebbles in pouches, but eventually, the idea of counting with a strand of thin rope with 50 knots on it became popular, then people began replacing the knots with pieces of wood – maybe because they lasted longer, and perhaps because of wood’s appealing look.

These first handcrafted rosaries were very simple, and did not contain the same decorative elements you see on today’s rosaries. However, as the prayers of the rosary developed and changed, the rosary itself went through a transformation. Saint Louis de Montfort is credited with developing the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries or meditations used throughout the decades of the rosary, and Pope John Paul II developed the Luminous mysteries, which focus on Jesus’ ministry and works.

Just having a rosary in one’s pocket can help every day go better, and can keep Catholics and other Christians better grounded by providing a physical reminder of the fact that faith in God is what is truly important. Praying the rosary or using it to meditate has many physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits; no wonder this prayer form has endured for nearly two millennia. A rosary from the Holy Land is a real treasure since it comes from the place where Jesus lived; thus, one of these rosaries is a gift the recipient is certain to enjoy for a lifetime, and it’s the reason they make such great gift for Catholic Confirmation

Where to Find Handcrafted Rosaries from the Holy Land

You might think handcrafted rosaries from the Holy Land would be difficult to find or prohibitively expensive; in fact, they’re easy to locate and at, they are surprisingly inexpensive. If you’re looking for a Confirmation gift or a significant religious gift of any type, spending just a few moments here will yield outstanding results.

Gifts for Christians: The Handcrafted Rosary

A handcrafted rosary makes a wonderful Christian gift for any occasion. While Catholic rosary beads hold a certain sense of mystery for other Christians, they are actually a fantastic tool anyone can use to improve the practice of prayer, and to increase focus while meditating. Here, we’ll share some valuable information about the rosary itself, plus some handcrafted rosary sources.

The Rosary’s History

The rosary itself, as it is known today has remained the same since the fifteenth century. Even the prayers traditionally associated with the rosary have remained the same; and with the exception of the Luminous mysteries, which were added by Pope John Paul II in 2002, the traditional meditation mysteries have remained the same.

The rosary’s history can be traced back to about 290 AD, when hermits used to use sticks and stones to count their prayers. Later, Irish Monks developed a system for tracking the 150 Psalms they would read, sing, and meditate on each day; this system was later developed into the rosary Catholics have been praying for centuries. It’s not surprising that a handcrafted rosary was considered to be a great gift back in those early days, just as it is now.

Using the Rosary to Meditate

While Catholics and some other Christians may prefer to use traditional prayers long associated with Roman Catholic rosaries, it is also possible to use the rosary as a tool for meditation without saying structured prayers.

At heart, the rosary is a devotional tool that can bring one closer to Christ. One can use this contemplative tool simply as a device to provide a tactile sensation in the hands while meditating. This works very well for people who tend to focus better when holding items in their hands or rubbing a worry stone; bring your thoughts, prayers, dreams, and worries to God while holding the rosary, and you’ll find your mind is less likely to wander.

If you maintain a long list of people you pray for, or if you have a tendency to forget your prayers, you can use the rosary as a way to remember each person on your list. Use each bead to symbolize a person, and bring concerns about each to God as you hold a particular bead in your hand. If you’re often busy and forget to pray or if you find yourself stressed out and distracted by everyday concerns, keeping a rosary in your pocket can help you remember what’s truly important.

Where to Get a Handcrafted Rosary

There are a few different places where you can find a handcrafted rosary to keep with you or to give a fellow Christian. Some Catholic bible study groups make rosaries while discussing scripture as a way to keep their minds focused and to keep their hands busy; some Catholic nuns also make rosaries for distribution.

If you like, you can purchase rosaries online; some wonderfully meaningful ones are crafted in the Holy Land by Christians who make religious gifts for a living. Whether you choose one of olive wood or mother of pearl, you’ll find using the rosary regularly can help deepen your connection with the divine.

Choosing Christian Gifts for Children

When it comes to Christian gifts for children, you may be at a complete loss for ideas. Children will appreciate these interesting Christian gifts suggestions.

When looking for Christian gifts for children, you might feel as though you are fighting an uphill battle. After all, many gifts for kids involve lots of plastic, odd cartoon characters, or noisy sound effects that will have parents wishing you would have just forgotten about the occasion at hand. Whether you’re looking for a meaningful children’s Christmas gift, a First Communion gift, or other Christian gifts for children, you’ll find that there are plenty of great choices available – especially if you search online.

Make it Meaningful

When selecting a gift for a child, spend some time thinking about what will be most meaningful to that child, and what you might be able to do to make a gift seem a bit more personal. Let’s face it – most kids spend more time thinking about candy and toys than they spend thinking about life’s deeper issues, and that’s normal. It’s part of being a child. So, don’t just grab the first thing you find and expect the child to enjoy it. Some ways to make Christian gifts for children seem more meaningful include:

  • Telling a story when giving the gift.
  • Enclosing a book that tells a story about the type of gift you’re giving.
  • Giving the child a gift he or she can wear.

Make it Sustainable

Last time you shopped, did you consider the amount of plastic and packaging that went into the items you shopped for? Religious leaders and political leaders are finally asking people to make sustainable choices in all areas of their lives, and that ought to extend to the gifts we give others, particularly children. Plastic is not at all special, and though kids love brightly colored items, these things soon lose their charm, particularly if they are obviously childish; young people do grow up, after all!

Some of the nicest sustainable gifts you can give children include items made from wood, glass, ceramic, or even mother of pearl shell. Wood and mother of pearl have glass items at a disadvantage, since they are more durable. If you give a child the gift of a wooden cross, for example, that same cross can stay with that child for a lifetime.

Try packaging your gifts in a way that’s sustainable, too. For example, use simple paper and raffia instead of plastic bows, or pack your gifts in a basket that can be re-used.

Make it Special

The best Christian gifts for children are those that are special and unique. Kids often rapidly lose interest in toys, but they treasure little things that remind them of special occasions and of people who give these things to them. No matter what the occasion, a gift that’s different from the items everyone else has is sure to hold special appeal.

At HolyLand-Gifts, you’ll find many wonderful Christian gifts that children will love. Crosses, rosaries, and even little keepsake boxes to hold special items are sure to be appreciated. Best of all, all these items are sustainable, and all come with a story to tell.


A Brief History of Christmas Ornaments

What would Christmas be without the Christmas tree? And what would the Christmas tree be without the Christmas tree ornaments? Arguably, that blessed tree decorating time is the best part of the Christmas celebration.

In the beginning … we all know the story, right? In the beginning, there was Adam and Eve. Well, this is also how the Christmas ornament’s story begins. In Western Germany, folks used to set up what they called “paradise trees” in their homes on December 24th, the feast day of Adam and Eve. Having no idea of the tradition they were building, they used to hang apples and wafers on their paradise trees. In later years, people hung shaped cookies instead of wafers. Many people added candles to their paradise trees.

These German folks also used to set up Christmas “pyramids” in their homes, triangular wooden shapes that displayed Christmas decorations. They decorated these with evergreens, candles, and you guessed it—a star on top. (It may have looked a bit like our Christmas tree grotto olive wood nativity set.)

Eventually, these two traditions merged into one—the Christmas tree. And those first Christmas trees were decorated with Christmas ornaments.

The Christmas tree tradition traveled to America via German immigrants in the 1700s. Yet people didn’t start buying Christmas ornaments in stores until the 1870s. So, for more than 150 years, Christmas ornaments were found or made at home.

So, what did these creative folks use for Christmas ornaments? A simpler question might be, what didn’t they use?

True to the earlier tradition, people continued to hang apples. Some people hung whole apples. Others strung together dried slices. Others hollowed out oranges and filled them with candy. Some hung peaches, cranberries, or crabapples. Some fashioned wire into the shape of a monkey and threaded raisins onto the wire. Those who could afford the more luxurious fruits hung cherries, plums, peaches, and strawberries.

Of course, there’s more to Christmas ornaments than fruit. Some people used potatoes. Others used dried red peppers. Many used nuts: peanuts, walnuts, chestnuts, or hickory nuts. Some artistic types painted gourds gold or wrapped them in foil. Some decorated egg shells. Some hung pretzels and doughnuts. Others painted oyster shells. (Speaking of which, have you seen our gorgeous mother of pearl jewelry?)

The Christmas tree made its debut at the White House in 1856. Popcorn came onto the scene in the 1860s. Some adventurous folks died their popcorn red and green.

Christmas ornaments first appeared on American store shelves in the 1870s. These were made of mica, cardboard, blown glass, molded wax, and stuffed satin.

The English trees across the pond were also becoming more popular at this time. These were decorated with toys, gifts, candles, candies, and cakes.

Missionaries brought the Christmas ornament tradition to China and Japan, where the trees were decorated with intricate paper designs.

Fake icicles followed in the 1880s. The early fake icicles were made via the same process that put glitter on military uniforms. By the 1890s, one could buy colored candy beads sold by the yard. Also by 1890, F.W. Woolworth was selling $25 million worth of Christmas ornaments per year. It was also around this time that strings of electric lights came on the scene.

Good Friday: Commemorating the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Christians all over the world celebrate Good Friday, commemorating the day Jesus was put to death on a cross. While those who were raised in Christian homes tend to have a good understanding of what this day is about, new Christians and those considering Christianity often have questions. Here, we’ll take a quick look at the history of Good Friday, plus we’ll talk about how Christians celebrate this feast today.

What is Good Friday?

Good Friday is a day used for the commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, beginning with his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, and culminating with his death on the cross. Good Friday is the culmination of Holy Week, and always takes place on the Friday before Easter.

Based on details from the Canonical Gospels, Jesus was likely to have been crucified on a Friday, in the year AD 33 or AD 34. When you read accounts of the crucifixion in the bible, you’ll find reference to the sky darkening, or a “moon of blood.” Using an astronomical approach, historians point to an eclipse that took place on Friday, April 3, AD 33 as the most likely historic date for Jesus’ crucifixion to have taken place.
The bible relates various accounts of events leading up to Good Friday, and of events that took place on that day itself. The passion begins with Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss on the cheek in the Garden of Gethsemane, and with Peter fulfilling the prophecy Jesus made at the Last Supper the prior evening: “This very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”

Jesus was brought before the high priest and the Sanhedrin to be interrogated as to whether he was the Son of God, and in the morning, Pontius Pilate, the governor of Rome, said Jesus ought to be whipped and released for any wrongdoing, though he and King Herod could not find fault. The crowd assembled ultimately demand that Jesus should be crucified. Though Pilate washed his hands of the matter and continued to state he could find no fault with Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

After being crowned with thorns and scourged viciously, then carrying his own cross through the streets, enduring jeers along the way, Jesus was crucified at Golgotha, or the “Place of the Skull.” At the end of the day, a Roman soldier pierced his side to ensure he was dead before allowing his followers to remove his body from the cross and take him away for burial before the Sabbath, which for people of the Jewish faith, starts on Friday evening.
Christians all over the world celebrate Good Friday by fasting, praying, and commemorating Jesus’ death in a variety of ways. In some places, people participate in cross walks, and in others, congregation members venerate a cross inside their churches. Gospels are read, and in some instances, passion plays are carried out or the Stations of the Cross are prayed.

Whether you celebrate simply by remembering Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, or if you make a pilgrimage to Rome where people follow the traditional path taken by Jesus on his way to Golgotha, this is one day you’ll find you have something in common with Christians everywhere.

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Lent: A Season for Repentance and Reflection

Catholics and many other Christians prepare for the celebration of Easter by spending the preceding six weeks (forty days) fasting, praying, and observing a variety of religious traditions. While Lenten practices vary widely from one place to the next and from one Christian denomination to the next, most believers agree that this is a very important season – a time for repentance and reflection.

What is Lent?

If you’re new to Christianity, you may wonder what Lent is all about. This season commemorates the forty days which Jesus spent fasting and praying in the desert before he began his public ministry. The gospel readings heard and the liturgical rituals experienced during this season are based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
The Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday and ends either on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, or Easter Sunday depending on denomination. During this time, faithful people commit to various forms of penitence; often, they simply give up some luxury, like eating a favorite food or even limiting the amount of time they spend on social media like Facebook. Often, people spend extra time devoted to prayer, or they renew their commitment to reading and studying the Bible.

In most Catholic churches and some Protestant churches, decorations are removed from altars and violet fabric is used to cover religious pictures, statues, and icons. In some countries where ancient religious customs are alive and well, people observe a number of different customs related to the passion and death of Christ. In western nations, including the United States, passion plays, living stations of the cross, and other Lenten gatherings are gaining popularity. If you live in an area with a large Hispanic population, you may be able to witness some of the old-fashioned celebrations, and no matter where you live, you might be able to take part in a cross walk or other procession.

Fasting and Abstinence During Lent

People from different faiths observe different customs related to fasting and abstinence. Some people fast from food for days at a time, while others observe the custom of taking in just one main meal per day and two smaller meals that when taken together would not make up another whole meal. Some fast only on Fridays. Many Catholics and some other faithful abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, while others observe this form of abstinence only on Good Friday.

Whatever it is you decide to fast or abstain from during Lent, try to make it meaningful; but don’t make it so challenging that you won’t be able to keep your commitment. Besides physically fasting or abstaining from things that typically give you pleasure, you can do extra actions to make the season more meaningful. Some ideas include:

• Alms-giving. Give more than usual to a charity of your choice.
• Volunteering. Volunteer to help in your community, or just focus on helping others more than you typically do.
• Praying. Pray more than you usually do. Try setting aside a little extra time to pray each day, or to read the bible. Many people give up some TV time and use it to work on their spiritual lives instead.

Remember that fasting, praying, and observing Lent in other ways is not something we do for show. Instead, we use these methods to improve ourselves spiritually, and to enrich our lives and the lives of others. However you choose to celebrate Lent, do it wholeheartedly – you’ll be surprised by the changes that can take place in your life in just a few short weeks.

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