Buying gifts for priests can feel daunting. Too often, we forget these people who care for the community are as human as anyone else.
When searching for the right gift for your priest, there are various options. They range from solemn to humorous. What’s right will vary on the individual you are buying for. Here are some ideas to help you find the right gift for your priest.
A tried but tested gift for your priest. There’s always time to recite a decade, whether you’re driving between parishioners’ homes or observing the Mass.
This rosary uses beautiful Jasper beads for its spacers and decades and a lovely antiquated cross and medallion combination at the base.
2. Wall Cross
This beautiful wall cross is another wonderful gift for priests, and it’s meaningful without being overly expensive.
The cross contains the words to The Lord’s Prayer, giving it an extra-special meaning, and the words make for a surprisingly beautiful design.
While there’s no doxology, that doesn’t mean you can’t give it to an Anglican priest, either. There are several instances where protestant priests might omit the doxology, and it’s a lovely piece of art for any rectory, manse, or vicarage.
Earlier, we mentioned beaded rosaries as one of several gifts for priests. But another popular rosary is olive wood. Typically, the wood for these rosaries comes from the Holy Land, making them extra special for the priest in your life.
They’re also highly tactile, and many priests find the thick wooden cross an excellent place to focus meditation.
All the best priests mix levity with their faith, and it’s why all those theological jokes about changing light bulbs endure.
If you want a gift for a priest with a sense of humor, this throw pillow is perfect. Billed as a list of ‘Emergency Bible Verses’, it offers a Bible verse for every occasion.
But it’s more than a playful aside. The verses on the design are appropriate for the occasions they match up with. So, they can turn on a whim from whimsical to a source of comfort or reassurance.
As affordable, eye-catching gifts for priests go, this one is hard to beat. It’s a cross-shaped keychain that’s simple and stylish. It’s also a way for priests to carry a meaningful sign of their beliefs wherever they go.
What better way to keep track of car, church, and side chapel keys?
Depending on the time of year, one of the best gifts for priests is a yearly planner. By nature, they have lots to juggle, and keeping track of whether the jumble sale is this week and the Lenten Bible Study next week would be impossible without a reliable planner.
The advantage of this particular planner is that it incorporates all those important church dates from Advent I – the Church’s New Year – to Easter, Ascension, and even the endless Trinity Sundays.
Most priests will tell you that God is their True North, and this gift is a lovely reminder of that sentiment.
This compass is inscribed with a meaningful verse from Joshua to remind the recipient that God is there during adversity. That’s true whether compassed roundabout by enemies, combating covid-19, or dealing with vestry politics.
It’s an elegant gift that acknowledges how powerful faith can be and also how important.
Ostheimer is known for their beautiful hand-carved figurines. They do a complete Nativity set, and that’s another excellent gift for priests.
But for less seasonal occasions, we like their guardian angels. They come in several colors and are more affordable than the Nativity set. The other thing we appreciate about these angels is that they aren’t specific to a time of year. We have three and leave them up all year round.
The carving is delicate, the quality high, and the paint lasts for years, even in sunlight. They’re a beautiful gift and would look at home in any manse.
9. Fountain Pen
Fountain pens may not sound like the most exciting of gifts for priests, but they’re good ones. They’re classically elegant and can be as expensive or affordable as you want.
They’re also practical. Priests routinely sign numerous documents, from wedding registers to baptismal certificates to the heritage trust application refurbishing the church roof. It’s one gift you won’t have to wonder if your priest uses.
The only catch? Double-check that your priest isn’t left-handed before purchase.
10. Anglican Rosary
Not all priests are Catholic, and neither are all rosaries. The Anglican rosary is a recent innovation. Its 33 beads are a mediation on the life of Christ. And they make excellent gifts for Anglican priests.
It’s less prescriptive than the traditional rosary in its prayers, and there are some beautiful handmade Anglican rosaries available.
It can be hard to find gifts for priests, especially if you don’t know them well. At first blush, The Book of Lists makes an unusual present because it’s less obviously religious than C.S. Lewis.
But it’s full of excellent trivia – exactly what every priest needs to keep his sermons interesting. And it makes a change from dense theological articles!
This book was recommended to us by a priest, so we have no qualms about recommending it as a gift for priests everywhere.
Richard Beard’s novel turns the Crucifixion into a murder mystery, with fascinating theological details and inside jokes for the Christian reader. It’s also an exquisite study of faith and what it means to believe in God.
It’s not an obvious gift, but it’s thought-provoking and compelling.
13. Gammarelli Socks
Gammarelli has been keeping the Pope in socks for years. If you want a less religious gift for your priest, these make an excellent gift. You can choose from any colors, some liturgical and others not.
They are useful when the church heater breaks down on Christmas Eve, and the Mass must go on anyway.
14. Excellent Women
Undeniably books make excellent gifts for priests, and this is one of our favorites. Barbara Pym’s world is rife with priests, churches, and church functions.
No one can rival her observational eye, whether she’s telling you how badly the choir botches ‘Hail Thee, Festival Day’ or commiserating with overworked priests during the holiday season.
Often described as ‘cozy,’ there’s much more to Pym than that suggests. She’s a must-read for any priest because she brings a healthy dose of humanity and accessibility to church life.
15. Coffee Mug
Among many clever observations in Pym’s novels is the idea that tea (and sometimes alcohol) are integral to church life.
That’s no less true in real life. Whether your local priest is a coffee or tea drinker, one of the best gifts for priests remains a coffee mug.
There are lots of novelty clergy-themed mugs to choose from, but we love the wry humor of this one because doesn’t every congregant dread appearing as the subject of next Sunday’s sermon? It’s guaranteed to get a laugh out of your priest, too.
16. Rosary Box
We talked earlier about rosaries as gifts for priests. But another excellent gift is rosary reliquaries.
Every priest needs somewhere to store a rosary, and these elegant boxes with their religious engravings make an excellent home. They aren’t exclusively for rosaries, either, and they’re an ideal place to keep track of prayer cards, holding crosses, and anything important and religious your priest doesn’t want to lose.
It’s true. Books are hard to beat when you want an eclectic but inexpensive gift for your priest. And every priest worth their salt must read Rose Macaulay’s moving treatise on faith, if only for its famous opening sentence.
It’s a book that’s part travelog, part religious exegesis, and part love story. Its protagonist is compelling, and the use of the white camel as a symbol of faith remains a subject of literary and religious scholarship. It’s the kind of gift that will almost certainly pay dividends in a sermon.
Anglican, Catholic, or Protestant churches are replete with beautiful, often handmade embroidery on their altar frontals and vestments. It’s a lost art, and we don’t often get a chance to recognize it or even look at it properly.
ColCards offers a selection of bookmarks that remedy that. They depict details from various altar frontals and make the perfect accompaniment to a bit of ecclesiastical reading.
Famously, Fr. Brown never left home without an umbrella in case it rained. But what do priests do about the sun? This gift for priests has the solution.
It’s a practical baseball cap available in several colors. It also features an equal-arms cross to go with the clerical collar. It’s understated while unequivocally churchy. Perfect for the priest in your life with a sense of style and a touch of humor.
These gifts for priests are the perfect compliment to that coffee mug we mentioned earlier.
Although these days most people associate the three enmeshed hares with the Celtic religion, they have a long and storied history as a symbol of the Trinity. You see them on the roofs of Bishop’s palaces in Wales and Medieval church windows.
These interwoven hares are where the more commercial Easter Bunny got its start.
All to say, they’re an ideal gift for a priest. Religious without being too on-the-nose, practical, and lovely to look at.
Another of the best gifts for priests is this olivewood guardian angel. The olivewood comes from the Holy Land, so is especially important, even to un-ordained religious people.
It makes a beautiful decoration for an occasional table or bookshelf. But it also doubles as a focal point for prayer and contemplation. Alternatively, it can decorate a side altar or chapel. It’s a wonderfully flexible gift full of meaning for the recipient.
Most of the gifts for priests covered so far have been lasting mementos. But another creative gift option is to find something edible.
Many local monasteries derive significant income from selling wine, chocolates, or similar produce. They’re perfect for priests with a sweet tooth, and they help support the community. Depending on the monastery, some of that money may even go to charity.
G. K. Chesterton is one of the Catholic church’s most accessible theologians. He’s best known for his umbrella-carrying detective, Fr. Brown, but he also wrote many essays on religion.
This charming beer cozy features a quote from Chesterton. Perfect for the well-read priest that wants to add some whimsy to the dinner table.
24. Water Bottle
We had a priest once who claimed the Holy Spirit was like an overflowing kitchen sink. Like water, the Spirit gets everywhere.
And that’s the accompanying card sorted for this gift for your priest. This water bottle is an affordable, practical gift for the busy priest in your life. The lid twists off, and the Benedictine medal adds enough religiosity to make a statement without being overwhelming.
It’s also a mundane reminder that faith and God, like water, reach into all corners of our lives.
Finally, if the priest you are shopping for has a taste for old-world elegance, you can never go wrong with Apostle teaspoons. They’re subtly religious but also practical. After all, they need something to stir their coffee with first thing in the morning.
Not only that, but a round of ‘Guess That Apostle’ makes an excellent icebreaker when you’re drinking tea before an evening Bible Study.
While some Apostle teaspoon sets can be expensive, this set of four is modestly priced and makes for a thoughtful gift, whatever the season.
Gifts for priests are as varied as the men and women behind the cassocks. Whether they’re serious or whimsical, what they have in common is that they offer insight into your priest’s reasons for subscribing to the beliefs they do.
And, of course, the gifts you choose don’t need to be overtly religious. Hopefully, this list gives you the inspiration to find a suitable gift for the priest in your life.
Cardi “likes to party” Clark has 15+ years of designing, planning, and executing successful parties and events. Highly skilled in event strategy, management, planning, and execution with a track record of exceeding expectations. I make it happen. I get it done and people have fun!