Book Recommendations for Christmas! UPDATED

Last week when I ranted about Black Friday and the absurd over-commercialization of Christmas, I wrote:

“The littlest kids are getting gifts (small ones; hello chess sets!) — and everyone else is getting homemade cookies or Monastic soaps, cremes and candies — high-quality “things” that are quickly used and gone, and whose purchase helps sustain houses of prayer — or books that can actually change people’s lives by helping them to find a measure of true comfort and joy, those two genuine gifts of Christmas.”

I’m making good on that, today, and as George Weigel has put forward a really excellent list of great gift titles (including this one, which I’d not seen and of course desperately want) I thought I’d add a few titles. Unsurprisingly, Weigel is as hot for giving people copies of Catholicism as I am, and I’ve already told you why this book is also a great gift, but here are a few more:

for a busy mom!

for a Catholic who needs to vent!

for a Yout

for someone who still thinks it’s a “symbol”

for a guy who is a guy and needs a guy’s way of being faithful

for someone who misses fiction about nuns (come on, we all do!)

for someone who needs a hero

for a woman you love

for the best friend

for a deep-water diving companion

for someone who would like a gentle encounter with Truth, everyday

for a kid who likes comic books

for someone with great intentions and a short attention span

for exhausted girl who needs brain candy at night

And in DVD:
Pope John Paul II; the Man, the Pope and his Message

Okay, I’m exhausted — how about ya’ll pitch in? What books, DVD’s and kids things are you buying?

UPDATE: I just realized, I didn’t actually include a Christmas title in any of this. Here are two: the first is a Kindle single, Dakota Christmas by Joseph Bottum.

“Her hair was the same thin shade of gray as the weather-beaten pickets of the fence around her frozen garden. She had a way with horses, and she was alone on Christmas Eve. There is little in my life I regret as much as that I would not stay for just one cookie, just one cup of tea.”

And two more:

This because this is gloriously beautiful

And this — because the book is even better than the film!

UPDATE II: Webster Bull has A list of his favorite books

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Frances

    I donated to a national prolife group for their strong, new ad campaign in honor of my aunt. That will be my aunt’s gift. Non-material but helping culture and hopefully, saving lives.

  • Nancy Berube

    Trappistine nuns at Wrentham, MA also make miraculous candies & the monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, MA make heavenly jams & preserves. Both have websites that I’m too computer illiterate to link but easily found on the web–or if people are in New England, visiting the monastery shops is a treat in itself.
    I’ve asked my family to make donations to my favorite charities (Feminists for Life, Daughters of the Holy Spirit, Visitation House, & Pernet Family Health Services) for me as I’m drowning in “stuff”.

  • Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

    Thanks – this is great!

  • Lawrence Cunningham

    Get the Short book on Newman – it is the best book I have read this Fall!

  • Mary H

    For a junior in high scholl looking for a college to attend – a subscription to First Things.

  • Lisa Hendey

    Oh Elizabeth, I’m so psyched to be included on your list!! Find some of my recent suggestions at which includes my link to Katrina, who also has a great list going. Thanks for some awesome suggestions for my loved ones!!

  • Ellen

    I am watching (and savoring) Father Barron’s Catholicism. Best thing I have seen in YEARS!!!

  • Bren Rogers

    I would include “A Father’s Tale” by Michael O’Brien for those who are looking for a good novel. Taylor Marshall’s “The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity” is excellent. I am reading “Walking with God: A Journey Through the Bible” by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins presently and it’s a great overview on Sacred Scripture. Oh, and did you mention Heather King’s “Shirt of Flame”? She allows one to journey with her as she embarks on a years journey with St. Therese of Lisieux. Exquisite! I agree that Fr. Barron’s “Catholicism” is a must have.

  • Adam DeVille

    For those Eastern Catholics or Orthodox on your list, or those interested in Eastern Christianity, I put together a long list of recommended titles here:

  • Mary H

    Catholic Charities of Fort Worth has started selling scarves knitted by refugee women. You can read the article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram at or go to to shop. This is a great way to support immigrant families in this country.

  • alcogito

    I looked up “A Christmas Story” on Turner Classic Movies’ website after following your link to the article. It will play Tues Dec 6 at 9 pm. I assume that is EST, so probably 6 pm on the left coast. Sounds like great nostalgia for those of us who remember the 50s.