Come Easter morning even the most religious of parents may think it enough to stuff an Easter basket full of plastic Easter grass and a candy Easter egg or two. Kids love devouring Easter candy, of course, but why not provide children with Easter basket gifts such as religious goods that will fill their spiritual needs as well?
Religious Goods to Encourage a Habit of Prayer
The post-Easter period can be a great time to dedicate a few moments each night to starting new habits of prayer with a child.
To a young child just beginning a nightly habit of prayer, parents can give board books with Bless Me or Thank You prayers, or basic versions of Catholic prayers. For example, Our Father by Sabrina Bus [Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2006] and Hail Mary by Sabrina Bus [Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2006] use simple language and relatable illustrations to make these prayers understandable to children.
For young children ready to pray more deeply, pair a wooden kiddie rosary with a small book or pamphlet on praying the rosary with your child. For older children, pair a regular rosary and/or a new rosary box with an inspirational rosary book that will help them begin to really ponder the mysteries. The Rosary with Fra Angelico and Giotto by Domenico Marcucci [Alba House, 2005] is one such resource, including general information about how and why to pray the rosary while matching paintings by two Italian masters with thoughtful text to help a Catholic meditate on each mystery.
Religious Articles to Decorate a Catholic Child’s Room
Another great Easter present to include in a children’s gift basket is a religious item meant to be hung or displayed in a Catholic child’s bedroom. Possibilities include:
- a wall cross or crucifix.
- a pewter rosary hanger.
- a patron saint statue.
Seeing the religious item each day will subtly reinforce the child’s faith and devotion to Catholicism.
Religious Jewelry for Children
If parents are tucking tokens inside Easter eggs already, why not hide an item of Christian jewelry instead of jellybeans? Both boys and girls will appreciate receiving Catholic jewelry gifts such as:
- a rosary ring.
- a Catholic sports medal.
- a Catholic saints medal.
- a new cross.
Just girls will enjoy a rosary bracelet or an Italian bracelet with charms. Another piece of Christian jewelry for girls is a Story Beaded Bracelet, where each bead on the bracelet tells the story of a line of the Apostles’ Creed, or part of Christ’s story, or some other meaningful religious story.
Children will also enjoy receiving Christian toys as Easter presents. Such Catholic toys might be small enough to slip into a Mass tote to take to church or larger for everyday play. Options include:
- a stuffed Jesus or saint doll.
- the Good News Magnet Set ($9.95), which consists of flat magnet figures of the risen Christ and other people from the Easter story which can be stuck to any magnetic surface, including The Good News Magnetic Playboard ($9.95).
- the “He Lives!” Make-a-Scene Stickers set ($3.29), with which kids can create an Easter scene including an angel and the risen Lord.
- Holy Traders saints trading cards.
- a Catholic Activity Book or religious coloring book.
Inspirational and Religious Candy
If an Easter gift basket is not complete without a sweet treat, consider purchasing religious or inspirational candy. Options include:
- cross-decorated plastic eggs.
- a chocolate candy cross.
- a stretchable candy cross necklace.
- inspirational printed jelly beans.
- cross-shaped suckers.
Parents who do not want the meaning of Easter to be buried under mounds of chocolate candies can include Catholic gifts of religious articles in their children’s gift baskets, and may also want to check out ideas for children’s religious books to give. Children will benefit spiritually from such gifts long after their last candy Easter egg has been eaten.