St. Nicholas Day (Dec 6th) is just around the corner, and with it comes the start of the Christmas holiday gift giving.

Our family always celebrates this day by putting our shoes in front of the fireplace the night before (Dec 5th).  Then, when we wake up St. Nicholas Day morning, we find small gifts and toys in them from St. Nick (or from mom and dad). Since this feast falls during Advent, when we are preparing for Christ’s birth, my family likes to keep the focus on Jesus by using faith-related gifts that are also little, not too expensive, and don’t overshadow the Big Day to come!

I’ve talked to my siblings, and we’ve put together a list of small toys and games for all ages that are small enough to fit into even the tiniest shoe.  (Trey has size 13 shoes already…so he could get a big book or something, but the rest of us need much smaller things!)

[NOTE: if you are reading this and it is too late for St Nicholas Day, perhaps these can be stocking stuffers for Christmas? Or little gifts for Epiphany, too?]

For your littlest children, we recommend our Shining Light Dolls. These small 3.5-inch dolls are the perfect fit for your child’s hand. I don’t know where the “Shining Light” name came from, but they are NOT “night lights” or anything of that sort.  They’re just cute little dolls!  They are also unbreakable and can even be played with in the bathtub! Lillian and Caroline love these dolls, and I overheard them yesterday when we were all working at the office asking Dad, “If we have any dolls leftover that we don’t sell, can we each get one for Christmas?”

(Don’t you worry: Dad already pulled out the ones they asked for!)

We have an assortment of these figurines including: Mother Teresa, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Joseph, and Our Lady of Guadalupe (she has a feast day coming up, too, on December 12).

You can pair these dolls with one of our Prayer Pillowcases. (Again, don’t worry: Dad also pulled out the new pillowcases the little girls have asked for!)

These charming pillowcases have original artwork of a featured saint or Person of the Trinity, paired with a corresponding prayer. Perfect for any scared-of-the-dark kids, these pillowcases can comfort children at bedtime, as well as help teach traditional Catholic prayers such as the Memorare and Guardian Angel Prayer for when they go to bed or wake-up in the morning.

Several years ago, we gave our youngest, Caroline, the Guardian Angel Pillowcase, and she has insisted on always having it on her bed since!  And, of course, Therese has a Saint Therese pillowcase and one other one (email us to ask which one it is).

Our Holy Heroes Matching Game and Works of Mercy Game are a perfect fit in a shoe for your more competitive children. Our Matching Game includes 30 pairs of cards depicting all the saints from our popular Glory Stories CDs…plus the Holy Rosary and a few more surprise matches which your kids will love! You can use only a few of the cards for smaller children or use them all when your big kids want a challenge! Our Works of Mercy Card Game includes four fun games including Old Maid and Go Fish (you can download rules to all four games on our website, and we enclose a printed copy of the rules when you order, too). The game contains both the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and is best paired with our short Works of Mercy Book (which can be curled up a bit to fit into a shoe—and give kids a lot of good ideas to practice the Works of Mercy during Advent).

Another fun book especially for the 10 & up age group is our (new) Family Fatima Handbook. Can also be used as a read aloud for younger kids (remember: Jacinta was quite young at the time of the apparitions!). This booklet tells the true story of Our Lady of Fatima and continues to tell what happened after the apparitions so you get the “rest of the story” of the three shepherd children. It’s a handbook, though, because it then continues into an “Action Plan” for how YOU will live the message of Fatima, responding to the requests from Our Lady and the angel.  We even included several pages for notes and ideas and reminders!

For your older, more advanced children,  we have 3 little booklets about Fatima which are crammed full of quotes and anecdotes to inspire meditation and insights into the holy lives of these children.  One booklet is about Saint Francisco, another about Saint Jacinta, and the third about how Saint Joseph was very much a part of the Fatima message.  Get the 3-pack that includes all of the booklets and put each one in a different shoe!

The Catholic Words Matching Game Set is one of our newest products, and it includes 2 decks each composed of 26 pairs of cards. The cards feature a picture of an object used during Mass and the name of the object. These cards are designed to help teach children the names of all the things used during Mass (I’m still learning them, too!). Trey, who has been an Altar Boy for years, recommends these for any beginner Altar Boys.

Our Holy Water Hip Flask is perfect for your older children. These stainless-steel flasks have a handy clip attached which can hook onto any purse, backpack, or belt loop. We also have our Holy Water Keychain for any kids who are on the go (or for anyone who has car keys…). They are both convenient ways for us to have Holy Water always available wherever we go.

Our Carabiner Sacrifice Beads are also a great gift. Handmade by me (!), these sacrifice beads come with a sturdy carabiner hook, so you attach them to your pants or bag to remind you to make sacrifices throughout the day. This is a great gift to give your children especially during Advent when the focus is on making little sacrifices for Jesus.

Any bakers or chefs in your family? They will love our Holy Heroes Chef Hats. These white hats (which come in child or adult sizes) are traditional chef hats and have our logo embroidered across the front. Our family had these out in full force this past weekend when we had many “helpers” with Thanksgiving dinner!  (Dad won’t let me use the picture we took of him carving the turkey in his Holy Heroes hat—sorry!)

Speaking of my dad: here is one last recommendation from him for everyone mid-teens & up. It is PERFECT for the beginning of Advent.  It is the How to Make a Good Confession Book. This book explains the theology behind the sacrament of confession and includes an in-depth, 17-page (!) Examination of Conscience which really reinforces how God makes His Will known to us—and how we might sin against that Holy Will (which only wants what is best for us), not just sin against His Laws which He has built into our nature and the world.

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The mainstay for many of our Adventure videos. Anna has appeared in Glory Stories volume 13, "Codename: Cocol -- Undercover for God."