Okay to give our Priest a Christmas present?


Hi - I was just wondering if it is “appropriate” to give our Priest a present. I’m new to the Catholic church & didn’t know if this would be okay.


In some countries the Christmas offering goes to the priest(s) of your parish. Also, it is customary to give the priest money and/or a gift for marrying you, so I can’t imagine that it would be wrong to do so at Christmas. Some people even give their priests Father’s Day cards and gifts :slight_smile: They ARE our fathers and we are their spiritual children!


[quote=CatholicSam] Some people even give their priests Father’s Day cards and gifts :slight_smile: They ARE our fathers and we are their spiritual children!

That is so cool! I actually saw some cards that were for Fathers, but I thought maybe he’d think I was strange.


From a priest-friend: “No more black socks!” ROTFL- he’s an old friend, and that’s what I theaten to get him sometime…


Me and my girlfriend are wondering that same thing right now. But not only the “can you,” but also the “what?” I mean, what do you get a priest? Starbucks gift certificates? A sweater? Golf balls? Pre-paid legal service?

Okay, okay, that last one was probably in poor taste.

We love our priests at St. Mary’s, but we have no idea what to get them.


I actually ended up getting him a Devine Mercy statue. It’s really nice - I ended up buying myself a small picture of it.


You can’t go wrong with a check :wink: But we also have given them books that we thought they would find interesting (maybe you could even get an autographed copy). I love the story about the abundant black socks :smiley: Momof3boys, the Divine Mercy statue sounds like a wonderful gift!


Although, I have not given a Christmas present to a priest, I did give a book of free car washes on another occasion. His license plate is really cool. It says GO2MASS.


A check or gift card is a good bet - they can get what they want or need (unless your Priest is a close, personal friend and you know him well…).


I’m thinking about giving our pastor a gift card to the local mall. A generic card he can use at any store. That or a grocery store gift card. —KCT


I guess I never thought about giving him money. I really wanted to find a personal gift from our family. I will keep the money idea in mind, too, though.
Like I said, I am new & didn’t really know what would be “appropriate”.
I did look at some books, but I had no idea what he has already read or would be interested in. :slight_smile:


Well, depending on how much you want to spend…

My parents routinely gave the parish priests a $200 gift certificate to a nice men’s shoe store, so they could buy “nice” black shoes to wear at mass or on the job daily to go with their clerics. Although one young priest really wanted Doc Martens one year so he got a certificate to a regular shoe store. :wink:

Plus, really good leather shoes, if properly cared for, can be very reusable since soles can be re-done.

Another idea is a travel voucher from an airline. Some priests I know love love love to travel and save all their money for that purpose (which is still quite a feat since they make next to nothing). Sometimes family members are far away and they rarely get to see them even with time off, too, because it’s too expensive for them to travel.

Does your priest have any special interests? Tickets to events are fun for some, gift certificates to a restaurant they otherwise would not be able to afford, etc.

Do you know his ethnic background? I have a good friend who is from Ireland and a priest here in the States. I ordered him a wool sweater that was made from wool specifically from his County of origin in Ireland.

Some priests like religious keepsakes, whether it’s a crystal angel or handcarved wooded crucifix, etc.

Hope these ideas help. Even if you just baked cookies, I’m sure he’d feel appreciated and remembered.


I bought bookstore gift certificates for both of them. Our pastor especially is a big reader, and this way they can each pick out what they want. I figured that they would probably get enough sweets and food goodies from other parishoners and family, so this would hopefully be a nice change.


The only thing that I’ve heard from priests of my acquaintance is “No vestments!” Though, as a deacon, I don’t object to receiving stoles. The “No black socks.” though, is a classic! It reminds me of a priest who, since his socks were the only thing that he could find that he could express a “fashion sense” with, always enjoyed novelty socks.

I’d say that, unless you do know them well, gift cards are always a good bet. If you do know that he likes to read, and you would like to give him a book, but don’t know what genre he likes, a bookstore card is very good.

Two of my (priest) friends like to cook, so spices from places that I’ve traveled to, or interesting cookbooks are good.

I know that most parish offices get more than their share of food/cookies, but I don’t know of anyone that turns them down!

You also might consider having a Mass said for them, or making a charitable donation in their name, if they have a favorite charity or cause.


from personal experience, I know our priest likes gift certificates to book stores. He loves to read, but I hate to get him something he already has. And if you notice he does like coffee, gift cards to Starbucks are nice or wherever else you might think.

Our priest is an avid golfer, so sometimes we just get him something related to that.

But honestly, I am pretty sure they will be grateful for anything… except fruitcake:)


[quote=armywife]I am pretty sure they will be grateful for anything… except fruitcake:)



[quote=armywife]But honestly, I am pretty sure they will be grateful for anything… except fruitcake:)

Except the fruitcake our local monks make :slight_smile: Unless he prefers the fudge!


Unless you know the priest’s desires, personal spirituality, and personal tastes VERY well, don’t give religious articles, books, clothing or vestments. Several clergy I know have shelves of gift Bibles and devotional books that are inscribed so they can’t even re-gift them to persons they know could use them. For their own use they prefer their old, well thumbed, Bibles and worn, familiar rosaries, etc. Clergy shirts may look generic, but every priest has his own favorite brand and style. Ditto for cassocks, etc. Books can scream the giver’s personal agenda rather than the priest’s own spirituality, if the donor doesn’t know the priest well.

A gift certificate to the the mail order vestment or religious suppy company he regularly uses would be nice (the parish secretary can help you there.) A gift in his name to a pet project of his (again, the parish secretary can help you there, or listen closely to him to find out where his heart is in terms of charitable contributions). A gift certificate at a truly favorite restaurant is nice. A gift certificate to a good bookstore is nice. A gift certificate to a local mall or food store is great – gives him his choice!. Unless you are able to do something to a specialized men’s store in an amount that will cover at least a basic pair of pants, he won’t have the $$$ on his own to make up the difference to purchase anything but black socks.

A bottle of his favorite liquor or wine is nice. But find out what his real favorite is – A priest walks into a dinner at a parishioner’s home and is offered a drink – he notes that the supply of, say, scotch, seems abundant to his hosts, and says, scotch. Word gets out, “Father loves scotch” when, in reality, he’s only requested it because it’s the least objectional thing the hosts seem have in abundance, and he doesn’t want to put them out. So, EVERYWHERE he goes, he’s offered Scotch whiskey, and takes it out of politeness. Bottom line, observe what he orders for himself at an open bar event, or at a restaurant, and give him a bottle of that, rather than the stuff the rumor mill says he likes.

Save the homemade candies and cookies for another time of year – an unexpected batch of cookies or a pie or even a fruit cake is more appreciated in spring, summer or fall than the fifth batch of cookies received in the fourth week of December. Remember, especially if he is older, he may have dietetic restricions like diabetes. One priest I know loves it when he gets a special treat baked with Splenda instead of sugar.

Give with sincerity and love, and especially let your priest know that you appreciate him and are praying for him and supporting him. Kind words and especially a kind note are always appreciated.



[quote=armywife]Our priest is an avid golfer, so sometimes we just get him something related to that.


[quote=armywife]But honestly, I am pretty sure they will be grateful for anything… except fruitcake:)


I can’t help but remember a lovely old lady who brought fruitcakes for everybody in the rectory, one year.


Our old pastor (by far the nicest priest i’ve ever met) would, at easter, during the blessing of the food baskets, look at the keilbasa we had and say “mmmm, that looks good” and then we’d give him a 4 or 5 pound chunk as a present. every year for 20 years we did this!

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