By Patrick Mott, Editor, Orange County Catholic     11/12/2014

You mean you actually haven’t done all of your Christmas shopping yet?

Not to worry. We’re not trying to guilt you into a mid-December funk. In fact, we’d like to fire up your gift-giving imagination by offering a few modest suggestions for some faith-based gifts that will keep you well-read, well-groomed, well-fed and well-comforted this holiday season and beyond. And you can fit most of it into a stocking.


Scent of a Pontiff

Papal Cologne

Admit it, guys: in your heart of hearts you’ve always wanted to exude that almost undefinable aura of both benign authority and genuine humility, that elusive combination of grit, greatness and goodness. Now you can with one of three fragrances inspired by popes and available from Excelsis USA Fine Fragrances. Newest from San Rafael-based Excelsis is Francis, blended in honor of a certain pontiff of the same name. Excelsis describes the cologne as “an engaging, fresh fragrance with a citrusy top note of bergamot and a soft, woody drydown of sandalwood. Smooth and soothing. A grand aftershave.” Two other papal fragrances are available: Benedictus, named for the pope emeritus, and “The Pope’s Cologne,” a scent “made from the private formula of Pope Pius IX.” Francis and Benedictus are $27; The Pope’s Cologne is $26.95. Free shipping. Order online at excelsisusa.com.


The Poinsettia Rosary

Poinsettia Rosary

Who says you can’t get creative with the design of a rosary? This Christmas Poinsettia Rosary features a gold gilded corpus and a centerpiece with a gold gilded Madonna and Child medallion, both mounted on red and green poinsettia flowers symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem. The Our Father beads are emerald green and the Hail Mary beads are ruby red. $39.95 from The Catholic Company (catholiccompany.com). Can also be ordered with a personalized mango wood box, total $54.95.


Read All About It


From Saint Peter to Pope Francis, if you want it in book form, the Paulist Press Book Center in Costa Mesa likely has you covered. Whether you’re in the market for a simple paperbound copy of the Catechism, an heirloom-quality family Bible or a slim volume of inspirational quotations from the saints, it’s probably on the shelf at Paulist Press. Paulist Press Book Center, 1525 Mesa Verde Drive East, Ste. 120, Costa Mesa. (714) 545-8021, paulistpressbookcenter.com.


Snacking With the Sisters

If you’re looking for festive food for before or after the feast or the football, the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration can provide. The sisters, based in Tucson, Ariz., operate a business with the inspired name Prayerfully Popped. They make 15 different varieties of popcorn (from “tuxedo biscotti” to “puppy chow”) and 16 different varieties of fudge (from “cappuccino” to “orange Creamsicle swirl”). Call (800) 939-8323 or go to prayerfullypopped.com.


One From the Heart

Christmas is a family time, and also a time to remind ourselves that we’re all family. This Christmas particularly, when so much of the world is suffering from war and other conflict, licking its wounds from natural disasters and battling the spread of disease, a gift to Catholic Relief Services is a potent statement of solidarity and compassion. Go to the CRS website, Catholicrelief.org, and discover a wide variety of life-affirming gifts you can give on behalf of yourself or in the name of a friend or relative. Provide 10 fruit trees for a family for $150 or classroom desks for 30 children for $100 or health exams for 12 children for $25. It’s quick, easy and good for the soul.


The Gifts of the MagiThe Gifts of the Magi

We’re not talking about the presents in the O. Henry short story here. This is the real stuff, the three precious gifts the kings from the east brought to the infant Jesus: gold, frankincense and myrrh, all encased in a resinware music box. On the lid is a bas-relief of the Magi following the Star of Bethlehem. Inside are three pockets containing the three gifts. The music box plays classical guitar renditions of “We Three Kings” and “Joy To the World.” And batteries are included. From monasterygreetings.com, $69.95.