2023 Shower of Roses Christmas Gift Guide + Giveaway

Welcome to our Annual Christmas Gift Guide and Giveaway! Get ready for a curated selection of fantastic gift ideas and a chance to win amazing prizes. Once again I’ve gathered suggestions from every member of our family to ensure there’s something for everyone. We’ve got a variety of recommendations to make your holiday shopping a breeze.

First I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the generous sponsors who help make this possible, enabling us to spread awesome prize packages to lots of families once again this year! So grab your favorite beverage, take a moment to unwind, and enjoy browsing our carefully curated annual Christmas Gift Guide, filled with shopping inspiration and exclusive coupon codes.

You can also find my lists from the last eight years here (2022)here (2021)here (2020)here (2019)here (2018)here (2017)here (2016) and here (2015)  as well as even more Catholic gift ideas listed in my past Easter posts as well: 100+ Easter Basket Stuffers & Catholic Gift Ideas and Easter Symbols: Catholic Gift Ideas.

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Additional affiliate links included.

New Finds for Advent

New Finds for Christmas

St. Nicholas – December 6th

Scroll through all of our past St. Nicholas posts here.

Our Lady of Guadalupe – December 12th

You can also check out the Our Lady of Guadalupe Pillow Case from Prayer Pillowcases! We also love the Our Lady of Guadalupe Puzzle, if you can find it, and we usually celebrate with an Our Lady of Guadalupe Brunch or Dinner after Mass! Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexican Mocha Coffee is a perfect addition!

Scroll through all our past Our Lady of Guadalupe posts here.

Santa Lucia Day – December 13th

Scroll through all of our past St. Lucy posts here.

Favorite Nativity Sets

We have Fisher PricePlaymobil and Shining Light Doll Nativities too, and the Nativity Fabric Advent Calendar, but I especially love our wooden versions! I also love our Schleich Nativity but it’s hard to find, same with A Child Is Born from Naturally CatholicFontanini Holy Family (a wedding gift – also available from The Catholic Co.) was the beginning of our Fontanini Collection. Our 11 year old gets a new addition every year from his godparents. ❤️

Our children have once again taken an active role in this year’s gift guide! I asked each of them to list nine gift ideas for me to share. Most of their suggestions are things they already own, with a few desired items included. Here are their answers:

Please note: Our children usually unwrap three gifts from my husband and I on Christmas morning- something they need, something they want, and one other gift which is usually faith based. We draw names on the first Sunday of Advent for Christkindl and end with a family Christkindl gift exchange. It’s always the first thing they want to do after our morning prayers (or morning Mass if we didn’t make it to the Midnight Mass) on Christmas Day! They also receive books on Epiphany (which often include many books that have been given to me to review, or school books for the next semester). The gift suggestions listed below have been received over a number of different years/occasions, handed down from older siblings, or on their wish list.

Captain’s Picks – Age 23

“Been saving a video just for when you asked this question🤪🎄

A lot of these are similar to last year’s list but like I said before, the older you get the less you want stuff and the more you want time with people you love. ❤️”

  • 1 – A fun, easy to carry game that a lot of people can play. (Bang fits that category perfectly and is easily one of my top favorites!)
  • 2- A nice pair of sunglasses. I know I had them on my list last year but like come on. Who wouldn’t like getting a new pair of shades 😎
  • 3- Cowboy hat or boots (definitely spices up your wardrobe, and is a MUST if you live in the south 🤠)
  • 4- Running/gym shoes (if you use enough you’ll quickly wear them down so it’s nice to get a new pair every couple years)
  • 5- A Rosary. (I’m not always very good at praying the rosary everyday but it’s a great way to grow closer to our Lady and our Lord.
  • 6 – A fun/unique Desk Calendar. (I love seeing a new picture of the National State Parks every morning. Makes me want to do some traveling 😄🏕️)
  • 7- A Charlie Brown or Blues Clues shirt/sweater (something that expresses your inner child🤪)
  • 8- A gift card to go towards a hobby or a favorite pass time (like an Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card, Scuba Shop, or Music Store Gift Card)
  • 9- An Apple Watch/ something to track your health stats. (I’ve also been doing a lot of physical activity so it would be nice to monitor my heart rate and other stats. Definitely on the more expensive side but I can see why people my age get them.

Ranger’s Picks – Age 21

He has been pretty busy but I finally got his list! His list is more of a “wish list” than it is specific to things he has. My comments are in italics. 🙂

Twinkle Toe’s Picks – Age 20

Age 20 Gift Ideas
  • North Face ThermoBall Traction Shoes – These shoes feel literally like slippers and are so great especially after a long day of skiing.
  • Unsolved Case Files – If you don’t know me, I absolutely love solving mysteries. My family used to always joke that I would become a private detective. This is so fun and it almost feels like I’m solving a real murder.
  • Jewelry Tree Stand – This is a beautiful stand to keep my necklaces, bracelets, and earrings (I’ve been given quite a collection of earrings from friends, I’ll get my ears pierced soon haha). It’s big enough to hold a good amount of jewelry but small enough to not take up too much space on the counter.
  • Heatless Hair Skinny Curling Ribbon Set – I can’t recommend this curler enough! It is a game-changer! Because I have such thick hair, curling with an iron usually takes 30 mins-1hr but with this, it takes 5 mins. 🙂 Definitely a must have for those who are too busy to do their hair before Mass/events and those who don’t want to compromise their hair health.
  • Bulova Mother of Pearl Watch – I was gifted this elegant timepiece on my birthday this year and I love it so much! It’s such a classy accessory that adds so much to any outfit.
  • Sunflower Mason Jar Coffee Cup – This beautiful sunflower glass coffee jar was a birthday gift from I friend and I couldn’t love it more. It gives me a perfect excuse to use my parent’s Espresso Machine!
  • Bagallini Women’s Backpack – This is an absolutely fantastic backpack that’s incredibly durable, comfortable to wear, chic, and has plenty of pockets to keep me organized. It’s laptop compartment is well-padded and fits my laptop amazingly. Overall, it’s a very stylish yet practical backpack.
  • Poloroid Go Camera – Polaroid cameras are so incredible because they are able to connect a moment with a photo that you can hold, share, and display instantly.
  • Manicure Set – Such a great set that has all the tools to keep your nails healthy!

Chiquita’s Picks – Age 18

  • Ukulele – Ukuleles are fun, easy to learn and is my number one way to de-stress when the homework load starts getting insane. Also, it looks super cute hanging on my wall in my dorm room! 🙂
  • Vera Bradley Campus Sunflower Backpack – This backpack has been a life saver! When I need to lug around all my huge books, everything always fits and fits well. I love it!
  • AirPods – During Work Study, I’m able to listen to music, pray with Hallow, or speed read my homework assignments! I would have definitely missed quite a few deadlines without them. 😛
  • Fitbit – Just as a watch and built in alarm clock (buzzes, doesn’t chime 👌), my Fitbit keeps me on track throughout the day, but it also keeps me moving and shows how much (more accurately, how little) sleep I’ve been getting so that I know to make sure to get to bed early!
  • Miraculous Medal Slider Necklace from Telos Art Shop – Yep, it’s back! This necklace was on my list of favorites last year and it’s still going strong. I’m wearing it right now, actually. Even though it’s not as shiny as before and though my baby sis broke the chain twice, I’ve always fixed it and made it wearable. It’s just so pretty! (**Use code ROSES for 10% off!)
  • Clothes (any clothes!) – I never realized how hard it is to see people every single day and look cute all the time. Clothes, any clothes, are always welcome! Dress code skirts, dresses, and tops are definitely one of my top gift suggestions. On behalf of all eighteen year olds, we all just love clothes 🙂 (Last Christmas we got her these darling Camo Ankle Boots!) Her Columbia ski coat is also super cute!
  • Benedictus and Hallow Subscriptions – The Benedictus Subscription was on my list last year and I ABSOLUTELY love them! My favorite part about them (besides the fact that I don’t have to flip around in a huge missal) is the Morning and Afternoon Psalms. I also love my Hallow subscription! If I’m struggling to cope with stress, social anxiety, or just want to give a some of my day to God, I always find what I need on Hallow. The professional advice is always helpful!
  • Books!! – I LOVE books and honestly, don’t really know what specific books to list… one of my tops favs is “The Shadow of His Wings” (another repeat), or Dickens, or Austen, or whatever! (Note: Shadow of His Wings is also available directly from Ignatius Press!)
  • Art Supplies – Water Colors, Acrylic Paint, Paint by Numbers, Coloring Pencils, Gel Pens, I just love them all! Perfect therapeutic pastime after a long day of classes and homework ☺️

Scout’s Picks – Age 16

  • Academic Planner – Going into highschool, I wish I had used the academic planner my mom gave me last year more. This year I am using it daily! These planners help keep track of due dates on assignments and papers for classes and check off daily tasks. For a school planner, it’s surprisingly fun to use, and mine has many cool decorations and iconic Star Wars quotes. 😄 Highly recommend.
  • Airpods – I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want AirPods, especially Apple AirPods. I mostly use them for music when doing school or chores around the house or watching recorded class videos on the computer. They’re very portable 😎 Very nice.
  • LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle – The LEGO Ideas sets are all fantastic builds made by brilliant LEGO fans. The ship in the bottle was fun to build and is a neat addition to the many LEGO decorations in our room.
  • Cover Your Assets – Haha, I love this game 😂
  • Bronze Tone St. Benedict Leather Bracelet – I wear this bracelet all the time, whether I’m going to Church or going to Hockey practice. It’s classy and Catholic at the same time. 😎
  • Hockey Skates – “Don’t rent skates, man. Buy some. It’s worth it.” – Michael Gordon 😎
  • The North Face Thermoball Traction Shoes – These shoes are so comfy. It’s like wearing small blankets on your feet 😄 They work as slippers and outdoor shoes at the same time. Highly recommend.
  • Hydro Flask Water Bottle – This water bottle was a gift from a friend… who’s a girl… who can only be my friend… for now… 😉
  • St. Michael Socks – “These socks are aMaZiNg!” – SuperCarlinBrothers
  • Travel Hammock – Hammocks are awesome!… if you have sturdy trees on your property… which we don’t… *sniff* 😞
  • Wish list: Sturdy Trees

Rose’s Picks – Age 13

  • Heart Necklace – Dad gave me a heart necklace on my 13th birthday. It’s a family tradition for girls on our 13 birthday. It is SO beautiful and it makes me feel loved! (Had to drop hints to get it though.)
  • Headphones – I don’t have any, but noise-cancelling headphones are great for online classes and peace and quiet around the house!
  • LEGO Cozy House – I have found my lego person’s dream house!!!
  • Iceberg – I’ve read a lot of books this year, like a lot! and these (Iceberg, Anne of Green Gables and Half Upon a Time) are my ultimate favorite ones!!  (Wish list: Words on Fire, Resistance, Rescue, A Night Divided, Lines of Courage)
  • Anne of Green Gables Book Set with Journal – I also really love my Anne of Green Gables Coloring Book and my Scratch and Sketch Books. This is my first time reading these books (only on the 3rd book so far) The characters are absolutely amazing and Anne is so funny! Can’t wait to see what happens next!
  • Half Upon a Time Trilogy including Half Upon a Time, Twice Upon a Time, and Once Upon the End – Didn’t think I would like these books at first till I read the first couple of chapters! And I think there are some follow up books to it too… (Update: We don’t recommend the follow up books, particularly the final book in the series published in 2023. The author snuck in an inappropriate agenda at the very end (read the 1 star reviews for details), unlike the original three books from 2014. Had I known I would have never purchased the first three.)
  • Pink Sweater Pusheen – IT’S SO CUTE!!!
  • Dashing Diva Gloss Nail Strips – These are really fun to do with friends. They are beautiful, plus they last pretty long!
  • #SaintGoals Sweatshirt from Annunciation Designs – (Note: This has been out of stock. Elayne opened up pre-orders for a couple weeks so if you’d like one now is the time to snag it!)

Bud’s Picks – Age 11

Grace’s Picks – Age 6

Joy’s Picks – Age 4

Favorite Wooden Toys

This list doesn’t change much from year to year but links are updated where necessary:

  • Fagus Wooden Trucks and Vehicles  – German crafted and made of solid Beechwood. We have been collecting for awhile and have the Limited Edition Red Fire Engine, Jeep, Snow Plow add on, Container Tipper Truck, Front End Loader, Conveyor Belt, and the Excavator, Tractors and Trailers. My little girls love them even more than their older brother did when they were younger! Look for them in the US at The Wooden Wagon, Nova Natural and Bella Luna Toys.
  • Grimms Spiel und Holz Wooden Toys – Grimm’s Counting Rainbow (similar to this) with Grimm’s Natural Semicircles Building Set.
  • Ostheimer Toys – Collectible hand carved figures made in Germany and finished with non-toxic stains and finished with natural oils. Collections include: Family Figures, Fairy Tale Characters, Farm Animals, Woodland Animals, Zoo Animals, and landscape pieces, such as Trees, Fences, Ponds, Grass and much more!  We have been collecting these for years now. They have gotten hard to come by the past couple years (frequently out of stock everywhere in the US) and have really increased in price, but we still love them.  You can find them in the US at the same stores as the Fagus Vehicles above. (Here are lookalikes from an Etsy shop in the US)
  • Interlocking Blocks – I keep a basket of these (2 or 3 sets of 92) in a basket in our living room and they are played with daily! I’ve blogged more about these here.
  • Saint Blocks from Almond Rod Toys 
  • Thomas the Train Wooden Train Track, Buildings and Trains
  • Melissa & Doug Medieval Folding Castle – We bought this over ten years ago and it’s still a favorite. We have (and LOVE the Princess Castle too- it was the first one I purchased of the two) but unfortunately it’s not currently available. Also, wood toys have at least doubled in price… Back then I paid around $50 for each! They have been played with by all of our children and are still getting played with frequently! We also have the Fold and Go Wooden Dollhouse.
  • Wooden Peg Dolls – Perfect for painting dolls as gifts for younger siblings! 😉
  • Grapat Sorting Toys – I bought a couple of these for Easter Baskets and planning to add more in this year’s stockings and next year’s Easter Baskets. Our little girls love them!  They are also great for using along with their Fagus Dump Truck, Trailers and Conveyor Belt.

Gift Ideas for Catholic Women

Here’s a peek at what I’m currently reading 💕

Gifts Ideas for Catholic Men

  • Chalices – “Having suitable glasses for special occasions will not be a problem with these glass chalices from the monks of Norcia.  Use these to offer a special toast with guests or treat yourself on special occasions.”
  • Don’t forget the beer.
  • Consecration to St. Joseph (Commemorative Edition) – “Every dad needs a copy.  The earlier the better.  Certainly single men discerning engagement should be serious about their future as Catholic men with St. Joseph as their advocate.
  • Also from Fr Calloway, this book is available for pre-order and looks excellent.
  • Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
  • Catholic Coffee All Saints Variety Pack (Save 15% till 11/23/23 with coupon EARLYBIRD)
  • St. Michael Bronze Finish Statue
  • The Imitation of Christ (Deluxe Leatherette Edition with Zipper) – “Want to see your father or husband spiritually improve each day? Get him to read one chapter a day out of The Imitation of Christ. Lauded by St. Therese of Lisieux as the only other book she needed besides the Sacred Scriptures, the short 1-2 page chapters in this masterpiece will surely bring a conversion of heart and a spiritual renewal so much needed in today’s world. The illustrations alone within the book are worthy of their own meditations.” (Also available from TAN Books)
  • I recently asked one of my brother-in-law ‘s to give me some ideas on gifts for priests and he suggested “Gift Cards to Sporting Goods Stores”. That’s definitely a thoughtful and flexible option that caters to diverse hobbies and interests. Whether it’s athletic gear, outdoor equipment, or fitness accessories, gift cards to sporting goods stores offer a choice for priests to enjoy their preferred activities.

Board Games – Family Favorites

Top three this year than have been played a lot: Bang!, Cover Your Assets and Raccoon Tycoon. If you have any favorites I’d love to hear about them! We are always looking for great new games.

Catholic Family Games

Christmas Puzzles

Our family loves putting together puzzles during Advent and Christmas.  Here are some puzzles that are currently available to purchase: 

Advent & Christmas Music

*We also love the Christmas music from Celtic Thunder, Michael Buble, Bing Crosby and so many others! I’d love to hear your favorites!

2024 Catholic Calendars and Planners

Here are the links to all of our book lists, our 2023 Advent Book Basket and the list of books our children will receive this year on the feast of St. Nicholas.

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Shower of Roses Christmas Giveaway

This year I’m giving away 30 PRIZES with a combined value of $3,200!

(There will be 30 winners – one for each prize.  You have more than one way to earn entries so you could possibly win more than one prize! Thank you so much to all these generous businesses for sponsoring the annual Shower of Roses Christmas Gift Guide Giveaway! Please consider supporting their businesses with your Christmas Shopping this year.) 

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Catholic Art by Caitlin McCarthy

Prize #01 – A beautiful 8×10 oil painting of the Blessed Mother with 24 kt gold leaf mounted in an ornate frame by Caitlin McCarthy. Caitlin is 15 this year and a freshman. She can be found sketching or painting in her free time and her favorite subjects are the Blessed Mother, other saints, religious themes, and children having adventures. Sponsored by Live, Love & Sacred Art  ($467 Value)

Congratulations, Kristy F!

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Come Holy Spirit Rosaries & Gifts

Prize #02 – Catholic Chaplet of the Month, 3 month subscription sponsored by Come Holy Spirit Rosaries & Gifts ($256.00 Value)

Catholic Chaplet of the Month is an exclusive opportunity to explore our rich and diverse Catholic faith. Each month you will receive a handmade, solid bronze chaplet with a curated prayer card and storage pouch, plus special access to directions on praying with your chaplet, history of the devotion, reflections, and many other resources to assist you in your spiritual enrichment.

Come Holy Spirit Rosaries

Congratulations, Jodi S!

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Saint Cards

Prize #03 – Special SaintCards Bundle! Includes: SaintCards: Base GameDeluxe Blue Game Mat, SaintCards: Duel Expansion, and the Mendicant Orders Expansion w/Purple Game Mat! Total of: 212 SaintCards, 2 Deluxe Game Mats, 2 Jesus Cards, and 100 Treasures! Sponsored by SaintCards ($175.00 Value)

Enter Promo Code SHOWEROFROSES at beginning of checkout to SAVE 10%

Congratulations, Cathy H!

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Shining Light Dolls

Prize #04 – Includes: Double-sided Advent to Christmas Wooden Wreath Set, Our Lady of Guadalupe Wooden Prayer Candle, Our Lady of Guadalupe Rag Doll, Nativity Cookie Cutters & Stamps Set, Christmas Nativity Wooden Cube Puzzle, and Nativity Holy Family Rag Doll Set sponsored by Shining Light Dolls ($159.90 Value)

Save 10% with code SHOWEROFROSESBLOG

Congratulations, JoAnn!

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Pelican Printery House

Prize #05 – Calligraphy and Illustration of St. Therese of Lisieux, unframed. 7″ x 9″ Watercolor and Japanese Sumi inks on Bristol Board. Calligraphed quote of St. Therese: “We must sweeten our minds by charitable thoughts.” Something nice to hang in the homeschool room, children’s bedroom, home altar, kitchen, etc. 🙂 sponsored by Pelican Printery House ($150 Value)

Congratulations, Kristen!

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Telos Art Shop

Prize #06 – Free subscription to our 2024 Quarterly Subscription Box! Each quarter a new item will arrive in the mail with a unique piece of jewelry and a special note behind the inspiration of each piece. Centered around the liturgical seasons, boxes will be sent within each quarter (April-May, July-September, October-December) with a theme related to a special feast day or celebration. By the end of 2024 recipients will receive four handmade gifts. Sponsored by Telos Art Shop ($150.00 Value)

Save 10% with Coupon Code ROSES

Congratulations, Amber R!

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Elizabeth Clare Shop

Prize #07 – 2024 Wall Calendar, 2024 Catholic Planner, Stations of the Cross Flip Book, Rosary Flipbook, Planner sticker sampler sponsored by Elizabeth Clare Shop ($140.00 Value)

Coupon Code:  “ROSES20” for 20% Etsy store through December 15, 2023

Congratulations, Tess L!

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My Little Patron

Prize #08 – My Little Patron has created a special Immaculate Heart of Mary Rosary with pearl pink 10mm Ave beads and large blue resin heart Pater beads paired with a large 5×7 holy card, Our Lady of the Rosary wooden rosary hanger, saint stickers, printed saint bunting, a bundle of all the new printables made this year: Marian Bunting & Holy Cards, Jesus Bunting & Holy Cards, Set 4 Saint Holy Cards, School Holy Cards & Prayer Posters, Saints Bunting, and the Traditional Rosary Guide printable. Sponsored by My Little Patron ($121.00 Value)

Enjoy the code ROSES30 for 30% off printables from Etsy

Congratulations, MaryLiz K!

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Prayer Pillowcases

Prize #09 – Shower your loved ones with prayerful gifts this Christmas! Joseph and Leane Ambrosio of Prayer Pillowcases are giving away this Family Advent + Gift Bundle specially chosen to nurture the faith in your family! Prayer Pillowcases are lovingly designed to bring Catholic art and prayer to families in practical way – who doesn’t use a pillowcase? 😊 Their designs for all ages can be personalized too. 

The Family Advent + Gift Bundle of 7 pillowcases includes two Holy Family designs, including a Child’s Prayer for Advent, for joyful additions to your Christmas traditions. Looking for lasting stocking stuffers? Just roll and tie with a ribbon! You receive the essential prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, Our Lady of Good Counsel with the Hail Holy Queen, Mother Teresa’s Peace Quote, and the Circle of Friends Saints, one for boys and one for girls. Sponsored by PrayerPillowcases.com ($104.00 Value)

When you buy 3 you’ll get one free with code: LoveRoses

Congratulations, Christina!

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Rycraft Cookie Stamps

Prize #10 – Set of 8 Cookie Stamps with Recipe Booklet (Includes: #416 – Snow Star, #463 – Christmas Ornament, #020 – Frosty, #355 – Trumpeting Angel, #023 – Holly Sprig (1), #030 – Christmas Tree, # 368 – Nativity and #271 – Jolly Santa) sponsored by Rycraft Cookie Stamps ($103.92 Value)

Rycraft Cookie Stamps

Congratulations, Alena F!

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Saintly Heart

Prize #11 – Church Playset, the new Jonah and the Whale Bath Set, and the new Paint and Pray Canvas Paint Kit sponsored by Saintly Heart ($100.00 Value)

Use Coupon Code Roses15 for 15% off Regular Price Items

Congratulations, Lianne B!

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Almond Rod Toys

Prize #12 – New! Solemnity BIG Block Set (7 Blocks) – These blocks are about 50% larger than AlmondRod’s well-known and loved Saint Blocks. The newly designed and versatile set can be played with at a little prayer altar, or displayed above a fireplace. Check out the combinations these blocks can be used for during Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, the Annunciation, and the Feast of St Joseph. This is the first of four Solemnity BIG Block Sets that AlmondRod will be introducing in the coming liturgical year to help you celebrate every single Solemnity!  sponsored by Almond Rod Toys ($98.00 Value)

Use code ADOREMUS for 15% off www.AlmondRodToys.com through December 14th

Congratulations, Elizabeth Bo!

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Haley Stewart

Prize #13 – Four books by Catholic author Haley Stewart including The Sister Seraphina Mysteries: The Pursuit of the Pilfered Cheese, The Curious Christmas Trail and The Strange Sound by the Sea, as well as a copy of Jane Austen’s Genius Guide to Life: On Love, Friendship, and Becoming the Person God Created You to Be. ($91.80 Value)

Haley Stewart

Congratulations, Jenny!

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The Rose Picker

Prize #14 – Miraculous Medal Jasper Rosary, wire wrapped, from The Rose Picker ($85.97 Value)

The Rose Picker

Save 10% off everything using code CHRISTMAS10 until 12/31/23

Congratulations, Tiffany R!

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Sophia Institute Press

Prize #15 – Include Fiat Traditional Catholic Planner, The Illustrated Liturgical Year Calendar (Christmas Cycle) , The Illustrated Liturgical Year Coloring Book Volume I : (Christmas Cycle 2023-2024) sponsored by Sophia Institute Press ($80.89 Value)

Congratulations, Rachel S!

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Faith Beads

Prize #16 – St. Hubert Rosary sponsored by Faith Beads ($80 Value)

St. Hubert Rosary

Coupon Code SHOWEROFROSES23 for 15% off thru Dec 15th

Congratulations, Suzanne H!

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Annunciation Designs

Prize #17 – 12-month subscription to The Wanderlust Catholic!  The winner will receive a full year of adventures and pilgrimages through snail-mail letters featuring fictional pilgrim Bona Therese.  Explore the treasures of our faith in this beautiful, engaging journey. Sponsored by Annunciation Designs ($72.00 Value)

The Wanderlust Catholic Subscription

Congratulations, Leslie!

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Ignatius Press

Prize #18 – Includes the first three books in the In the Shadows of Rome series along with the first three books in The Loupio Series. Sponsored by Ignatius Press ($65.94 Value)

 Currently offering Buy one get one 50% off on certain series and these series are both included! Discount will be reflected in cart.

Congratulations, Cindy G!

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The Purgative Way

Prize #19 – The Purgative Way Board Game sponsored by The Purgative Way ($64.99 Value)

Congratulations Meredith D!

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Catholic Family Crate

Prize #20 – Pray by Sticker, Mass Ring, Alleluia Card Games, Rosary Ring and Marian Edition: Catholic Playing Cards sponsored by Catholic Family Crate ($64.00 Value)

Catholic Family Crate makes Catholic educational resources, games, art, stickers, subscription boxes, and more to make growing in the Catholic faith easy and fun. They are on a mission to revolutionize Catholic resources and make them affordable, accessible, high-quality, and engaging.

Catholic Family Crate

Bonus: Check out the following links for a FREE 12 Days of Christmas Planner & Activity Pack and a FREE Jesse Tree Activity Pack

Discount code: SHOWEROFROSES23 for 20% off for CFC items valid until December 31, 2023, and for 1x use per customer

Congratulations, Corina G!

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St. Augustine Academy Press

Prize #21 – Our Friends in Heaven Trilogy which includes: The Blessed Virgin: Mary Our Mother, Saint Nicholas: Patron Saint of Children, and Saint Francis: The Little Poor Man, as well as a copy of The First Christmas for Our Dear Little Ones sponsored by St. Augustine Academy Press ($63.70 Value)

Save 20% with coupon code GRATIAS2023  – Good from Wednesday, November 22nd through midnight on Monday, November 27th, 2023

Congratulations, Lizette!

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TAN Books

Prize #22 – Agnes Dei Calendar & 12-Month Planner for 2024 and JMJ 12-Month Daily Planner sponsored by TAN Books ($61.90 Value)

Congratulations. E L!

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Catholic Author Leslea Wahl

Prize #23 – Catholic author, Leslea Wahl, is giving away signed copies of two of her teen mysteries. Also included in the prize pack is a copy of a short story, one of the CatholicTeenBooks.com anthologies, a wooden puzzle, and a gift bag with ribbon bookmark, Bible verse magnet, and decorative soap. ($60.00 Value)

Catholic Author Leslea Wahl

Congratulations, Faith!

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Holy Heroes

Prize #24 –  FeastDay! Board Game plus an expansion pack sponsored by Holy Heroes ($58.90 Value)

SAVE 15% off your order with coupon code SHOWER15 through 12/5/23

Congratulations, Elizabeth Be!

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St. Mary’s Messenger

Prize #25 – Includes ONE YEAR Subscription for St. Mary’s Messenger Magazine (valued at $19.95), SANCTUS, SANCTUS, SANCTUS An Introductory Latin Missal for Children, TAN Books (valued at $22.95), PRAY by STICKER Catholic KIDS from CATHOLIC FAMILY CRATE (valued at $9.95), 7-DAY Preparation for Family Consecration To Jesus, through Mary, in Union with St. Joseph (valued at $4.99) Apostolate for Family Consecration sponsored by St. Mary’s Messenger ($57.94 Value)

Congratulations. Elizabeth S!

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Catholic Author Patrick O’Hearn

Prize #26 – Autographed hardcover editions of Courtship of the Saints: How the Saints Met Their Spouses and Parents of the Saints: The Hidden Heroes Behind Our Favorite Saints. Available to purchase from TAN Books or Amazon.Sponsored by Catholic author Patrick O’Hearn. Visit the author’s website here! ($55.90 Value)

Congratulations, Laura B!

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Hohme Candle Co.

Prize #27 –  Sacré Cœur Beeswax Candle, Sacred Heart Matches and a Brass Wick Trimmer sponsored by Hohme Candle Co. ($54.25 Value)

Congratulations, Megan C!

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Celestine Publications

Prize #28 – Hardcover edition of The Whisper of Wings and paperback edition of Morning Star. “Our hope is to bring to life the traditions of the Church by immersing young readers in the truths of the Faith, encouraging them to strive to become saints.” Visit the website here and watch the book trailers over at YouTube! Sponsored by Celestine Publications. ($51.96 Value with shipping)

Congratulations, Emily W!

+ + +

“Be the Light” Saint Candles – Forestville Candle Company

Prize #29 – Includes: Trimming the Tree with Nicholas and Receiving a Mother’s Love from Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Trimming the Tree is a Pine, Citrus and Spice scent.  Receiving a Mother’s Love is a Rose and Incense scent. Sponsored by Forestville Candle Company ($50.00 Value with shipping)

Congratulations, Philomena!

+ + +

Heartwood Coffee Roasters

Prize # 30 – Three bags of Coffee (not necessarily those pictured) sponsored by Catholic owned Heartwood Coffee Roasters in Ohio! ($50+ Value)

Congratulations, Emma R!

+ + +

Join the Giveaway: Enter via the Rafflecopter Box Below

Earn numerous bonus entries by exploring the sponsors’ websites and social media! Giveaway concludes at 11:59 PM PST on December 5, 2023. Winners will be revealed on December 6, 2023 – the Feast of St. Nicholas!

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Having issues with Rafflecopter? Feel free to reach out via email or message with your name and email address, and I’ll manually add you.

Explore our book lists, our 2023 Advent Book Basket (coming soon – past book baskets), and the selection of books our children will receive this year on the feast of St. Nicholas. Find Advent planning tips in our Archive and The Advent Season in Our Catholic Home.

For additional inspiration, check out our Gift Guides from 2015 to 2022.

New Christmas Books for the Feast of St. Nicholas + Our Annual St. Nicholas Giveaway

New Christmas Books

– New Christmas Books for the Feast of St. Nicholas –

As the holiday season approaches, and we bid farewell to All Saints Day and Martinmas, it’s time to shift our focus to the upcoming feast of St. Nicholas. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving preparations, I find myself eagerly anticipating our family’s annual Advent traditions including celebrating St. Nicholas Day which lies just around the corner!

On the morning of December 6th, our children wake up to discover their heartfelt letters to the Holy Child and St. Nicholas have disappeared, replaced with treats in their slippers. New Christmas Books, sometimes new slipper or shoes (when needed) oranges, chocolate gold coins, candy canes, and a note from St. Nicholas himself.

Over the years, our children, who are now mostly teenagers and young adults, have continued to receive a new Christmas book as an integral part of this beloved tradition of ours. This has resulted in a remarkable collection that spans over two decades. I look forward to passing down these treasured Christmas books to them when they start their own families one day.

Below you will find the list of books I picked out for this year.

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Additional affiliate links included to TAN Books, Ignatius Press and Holy Heroes as well.

Captain – 23

Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border

You’re never too old for picture books! As C.S. Lewis says, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

This Christmas might be the first he spends away from family, and our first without all of our children home… We’ve been exploring ways to bring him home for the weekend, but the logistics of getting him to an airport after classes on Friday and then having to fly back on Christmas day to make it back to his classes the next morning are making it increasingly unlikely. Despite the distance, we’re determined to send him a few care packages filled with love and homemade goodies to make his Christmas away a bit brighter. In the meantime, I’m eagerly counting the days until his graduation from the academy in February. Secretly, I can’t help but hold on to a small hope for a government shutdown over Christmas, which could possibly bring him home, even if just briefly.

Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border is a heartwarming picture book that tells the story of a family separated by the U.S.-Mexico border. Through letters and pictures, the book conveys the love, hope, and resilience of the family as they find ways to stay connected and celebrate special moments despite the physical distance that separates them. It’s a touching story of family bonds that transcend borders. It also portrays the Border Patrol positively, showing them as individuals who help facilitate connections between families separated by the border. The book highlights the humanity and compassion that can exist even in challenging situations.

Ranger – 21

Drinking with Saint Nick

For our 21-year-old, we’ve chosen to give him his own copy of Drinking with Saint Nick: Christmas Cocktails for Sinners and Saints. This delightful book is not only a festive guide to crafting Christmas cocktails but also weaves in fun anecdotes and stories related to the holiday season, making it an enjoyable read for anyone looking to add a spirited twist to Christmas celebrations. And don’t worry, we’re not suggesting he needs the cocktails to cope with his older brother’s absence (this is the first year those two have been separated) – it’s all in good fun! 😉

Also available directly from Ignatius Press.

Twinkle Toes – 20

A Year with the Saints

For our daughter, who is now a licensed insurance agent and has taken on the world with her own business, I’ve chosen a gift that reflects her commitment to growth and self-reflection. A Year with the Saints: Daily Meditations with the Holy Ones of God is such a beautiful Deluxe Leatherette book, offering daily meditations and insights that can provide her with inspiration and guidance in both her personal and professional life.

Plus, it’s a fantastic deal right now – you can grab it for just $10 this month at TAN Books, which is nearly 78% off the regular price. A gift that’s both meaningful and budget-friendly! (I actually might order three more copies so we can give one to each of our other young adult children in their stack of books for Christmas for them to read in the upcoming new year.)

Update: It looks like the sale over at TAN on A Year with the Saints has ended. You can find the current deals here!

Chiquita – 18

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

For our college girl, who loves murder mysteries and will finally have a well-deserved break over Christmas, I’ve chosen the intriguing book Hercule Poirot’s Christmas: A Hercule Poirot Mystery. In this official edition featuring exclusive content from the Queen of Mystery, the holidays take an unexpected turn when a family reunion is marred by murder, and the brilliant Belgian investigator, Hercule Poirot, swiftly takes on the case. This gripping tale is the perfect read to keep her entertained during her holiday break, and we’re excited to see her dive into the mystery.

Scout – 16

A Christmas Carol: The Graphic Novel

For our sixteen-year-old son, we’ve chosen A Christmas Carol: The Graphic Novel. It’s a visually captivating adaptation of the classic Dickens tale, perfect for a teenager who enjoys graphic novels. This book presents the timeless story in an engaging format with stunning illustrations. He’s going to love it!

(Thank you, Tiffany G, for suggesting this book and the Agatha Christi book above last year!)

Rose – 13

The Lion in the Box

“Recently widowed, Mama would only be able to provide a meager Christmas for her five small children. Even though Mama could only get work occasionally, the family was rich in love and affection. The older girls did housework while Mama was away, and Lili looked after Ben and the baby. On Christmas Eve, the family spent an anxious evening that turned into one of the most extraordinary and memorable Christmases of their lives. This true story is set at the turn of the 20th century in New York City. Highly recommended as a Christmas read-aloud.”

Bud – 11

The Christmas Rocket

“This beautiful Christmas story, set in Italy during the 1950s, is about a potter’s son who goes down the mountain with his father shortly before Christmas to sell pots, vases, and platters. They have high hopes of bringing home enough money for a nice Christmas dinner, perhaps enough for a pair of real shoes for Dino, and even a rocket for him to set off with the other boys on Christmas Eve. The trip does not turn out as planned, it goes from bad to worse until Dino starts home in tears. As he trudges up the mountainside, something happens. Something which lights up Dino’s heart and gives us a new view of the Christmas story.”

Grace – 6

‘Twas the Day Before Christmas in Bethlehem Town

For our six-year-old daughter, I’ve chosen the brand new book ‘Twas the Day Before Christmas in Bethlehem Town. This charming book is more than just a retelling of the Christmas story; it’s a beautifully illustrated journey that transports readers to the heart of Bethlehem, where the anticipation of the first Christmas Eve unfolds. The book captures the excitement and wonder of that special night and I look forward to reading it with her.

Joy – 4

Silent Night

Silent Night: A Christmas Song

I’m taking full advantage of my last opportunities to buy board books for our four-year-old, who still really enjoys them! Our little animal lover will be receiving Silent Night: A Christmas Song this year. With delightful animal illustrations throughout and the lyrics to a favorite Christmas song, it’s a great addition to our collection. I also considered A Very Merry Christmas Prayer which is also darling when I was browsing the bookstore this past weekend.

Silent Night Interior Pages

Free Printables

You can download my St. Nicholas labels over at Dropbox with either Black or Green text… And here is the link to my original St. Nicholas Chocolate Coins from 2010 and the updated version in 2019!

St. Nicholas Printables

St. Nicholas Giveaway

Once again this year I will be hosting FOUR Advent and Christmas giveaways here on the blog:  this St. Nicholas Giveaway, the 2023 Shower of Roses Christmas Gift Guide + Giveaway, another Advent Book Basket giveaway and finishing up with another O Antiphon giveaway!  Here is the first giveaway in preparation for the feast of St. Nicholas! Enter for a chance to win one of the following six prizes:

Prize #1 – Books from Author Susan Peek

Susan Peek Books

The books included are: Saint Rudolph and the Reindeer, The Forgotten Christmas Saint: St. Anastasia, The Outlaws’ Friend: A Christmas Story of Blessed Solanus Casey, Saint Cloud of Gaul: The Prince Who Traded Kingdoms, A Soldier Surrenders: The Conversion of St. Camillus de Lellis , Saint Magnus the Last Viking, A Single Day . . . Or Not: An Ancient Irish Legend sponsored by SusanPeekAuthor.com ($90.00 Value)

Congratulations, Lizette R!

Prize #2 – Set of Five Cookie Stamps with Recipe Booklet

Cookie Stamps
Cookie Stamp Details

Includes: #001 – Santa Claus#031- Noel Stocking#317 – Old St Nick, #357 -Santa on the Rooftop, and #413 – St Nicholas sponsored by Rycraft Cookie Stamps ($64.95 Value)

Congratulations, Sarah V!

Prize #3 – An Advent Hope & Advent Candle Kit

Holy Heroes

Includes: An Advent Hope: A Children’s Book about Family Advent Traditions and the wonderful Advent Candle Kit sponsored by Holy Heroes ($42.90 Value)

Note: I’m excited to add An Advent Hope to our Advent Book Basket this year! We have always loved this candle kit too. Be sure to check out all the great products for Advent over at Holy Heroes!

SAVE 15% with coupon code SHOWER15 through 12/5/23

Congratulations, Katie W!

Prize #4 – Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus & My Name is Philomena

Tan Books

Includes: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus: An Introductory Latin Missal for Children and My Name is Philomena sponsored by TAN Books. ($42.90 Value) Note: Find my review of My Name is Philomena here.

Congratulations, Raquel F!

Prize #5 – Light of the Saints

Light of the Saints

Includes: Light of the Saints is an interactive, light-based children’s book that tells the story of 12 saints from around the world. Shine a light behind the page to see hidden images of their miracles and heroic acts. Light of the Saints is the answered prayer for parents who want to teach their kids about the saints. AND it rhymes! All you need in addition to the book is a flashlight or phone light. ($18.95 Value)

Congratulations, Mary K!

Prize #6 – The World Waits

The World Waits

Includes: The World Waits sponsored by Sophia Institute Press ($16.95 Value) (Also available from Amazon here.)

Congratulations,Kelly S!

Please leave a comment on this post and then enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:

Note: If you have any trouble with Rafflecopter just send me an email or message with your name/email address and I can add you manually. I’ve been looking for alternatives, but haven’t found a free option yet that offers what I need for these annual giveaways that I love hosting for you all! 

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More Suggestions From the Archives

Advent Book Basket and Printable Labels:  2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022

New Christmas Books for the Feast of St. Nicholas: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 20172018201920202021 and 2022

Stacks of Books on Christmas Morning or Epiphany: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

You can find the rest of our booklists here or scroll through all our past St. Nicholas Day Celebrations in the archives.

Even more St. Nicholas themed gifts can be found in these past posts filled with Christmas Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022

Read about our family traditions: The Advent Season in Our Catholic Home

Scroll through past posts featuring the Feast of St. Nicholas here.

Celebrating Martinmas 2022

– Photos from Celebrating Martinmas 2022 –

“Allow me, brothers, to look toward heaven rather than at the earth, so that my spirit may set on the right course when the time comes for me to go on my journey to the Lord.” – St. Martin of Tours

I have so many partial posts in my drafts folder… Here’s one I was able to finish up from the feast of St. Martin of Tours last year.

Coloring Pages

Download and print this great St. Martin Coloring Page over at Waltzing Matilda.

Crafting Lanterns

Like their older siblings Celebrating Martinmas back in 2013, our littlest girls loved crafting their own Martinmas Lanterns!

Find the directions here.

Family Rosary, Bonfire and S’mores

We had Snow on Martinmas again and it was coooooollllllld… Our annual Celebrating Martinmas Lantern Walk was very brief, we opted to huddle around the fire pit with blankets for our family rosary and then roasting s’mores.

Martinmas Lantern Walk

Dear well-beloved Saint, you were first a soldier like your father. Converted to the Church, you became a soldier of Christ, a priest and then a Bishop of Tours. Lover of the poor, and model for pagans and Christians alike, protect our soldiers at all times. Make them strong, just and charitable. Always aiming at establishing peace on earth.

St. Martin of Tours, pray for us!

Autumn Leaves: Painting with Watercolors

Watercolors

Inspired by our recent Autumn Adventures: Crafting a Leaf Man she independently gathered supplies, set up her paints, and impressed us all painting an autumn masterpiece with watercolors! 🍁👧🎨

The girls have been painting with watercolors every week this fall! They love their Yarka Water Colors Semi-Moist Paint Sets. The paint sets have been put to good use, and it looks like I might need to order a couple replacements to surprise them in their Christmas stockings!

Kindergarten Crafts

Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves for now falling,

Red and yellow and brown.

Autumn leaves are now falling,

See them fluttering down.

Autumn leaves from the treetops

Flutter down to the ground,

When the wind blows his trumpet,

See them whirling around.

Autumn leaves when they’re tired,

Settle down in a heap,

At the foot of the old tree,

Soon they’ll all fall asleep.

– Poem the girls recently memorized in Primary Arts of Language

Finished Painting

Celebrating the Saints: Our 2023 Saint Costumes

Saint Costumes

This year’s saint costumes: St. Florian, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St, Margaret of Scotland, Crusader/Knight Templar, St. Gertrude of Nivelles and St. Barbara.

Our annual All Hallows’ Eve party has always been a favorite family tradition, especially for our kids who eagerly await the opportunity to dress up as beloved saints each year. You can see many of their saints costumes from over the years here.

St. Margaret of Scotland

St. Margaret of Scotland Saint Costumes

St. Margaret of Scotland, also known as Queen Margaret, was a 12th-century Scottish queen and a devout Christian. She is celebrated for her piety, charity, and contributions to the Church, as well as her efforts to promote education and social welfare. Margaret’s life is a testament to her strong faith and her commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

Our daughter wore a gorgeous Velvet Dress which she was given by a local friend and previously used for one of our Murder Mystery parties last winter! She added a tiara and a white cape as well as her Deluxe Leatherette copy of My Daily Bread from TAN.

Crusader / Knight Templar

Crusader Saint Costumes

A Knight Templar was a member of the medieval Christian military order called the Knights Templar. These knights were known for their role in the Crusades, dedicated to protecting Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. They wore distinctive white mantles with a red cross and played a significant part in medieval history.

The Crusader costume was an impulse purchase at Party City a couple years ago, but it was too large for him at the time. I purchased the sword from an Etsy shop for one of our past Hobbit parties!

St. Barbara

St. Barbara Saint Costumes

St. Barbara is known for her strong faith and steadfast devotion. According to tradition, she lived during the 3rd century and defied her pagan father to embrace Christianity. Her commitment to her Christian beliefs led to her martyrdom. St. Barbara is often depicted with a tower or a sword, representing her faith and courage. St. Barbara is usually pictured with blond hair, a palm branch, and often a crown. The Chalice is a symbol of the Blessed Sacrament and often associated with Saint Barbara in reference to her final wish for the grace of Sacrament. She is the patron saint of those in need of protection against sudden death.

Princess Gown and Crown are from Trish Scully, Sword was an Etsy purchase one year. The chalice is from her younger brother’s Mass kit.

St. Florian

Saint Florian is considered the patron saint of firefighters due to a legendary story where he saved a town from a fire.

His older brothers handed down this costume from years past. Ranger wore it in 2015 for St. Maurice. Scout (Snuggles lol) wore it as St. Martin in 2021. You can find the costume here and helmet here.

St. Gertrude

St. Gertrude Saint Costumes

St. Gertrude of Nivelles, a 7th-century Christian saint, was the abbess of an abbey in Nivelles, Belgium. She was known for her compassion and care for the sick. Saint Gertrude of Nivelles is often associated with being the patron saint of cats, not because she loved cats, but on account of her ability to expel mice. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains, “She is also patron of travelers, and is invoked against fever, rats, and mice, particularly field-mice.”

I think some of the images the kids were looking at may have been combining two different Saint Gertrudes… St. Gertrude the Great, a 13th-century Benedictine nun, is often associated with the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She had mystical experiences and visions that contributed to the development of the Sacred Heart devotion. St. Gertrude the Great’s writings and experiences played a significant role in promoting this particular devotion within the Catholic Church. We pray her prayer for the Holy Souls all of November!

Anyway, for her costume we used an old knee length Size Small Gap Dress of mine for her habit with a black cape and veil from our costume collection. We pinned on a few of her favorite cats (this one and this one) and modified the heart that one of the girls made for last year’s costume. She was so excited about her kitties and the cat pumpkin she helped carve too!

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Saint Costumes

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is particularly associated with the Carmelite religious order. She is venerated as the patroness of the Carmelites and is depicted holding the Child Jesus.

We used one of her older sister’s Carmelite habits with a cream veil. I believe I bought her gold glitter crown from Hanna Andersson one year. We pinned on one of my favorite scapulars from Stella Marigold Art. For Baby Jesus we wrapped one of her favorite dolls in a white muslin baby blanket and made a white paper crown.

All Saints in Heaven, pray for us! 

Saint-O-Lanterns

We love illuminating our faith on All Hallows’ Eve with Saint-O-Lanterns! This year the kids came up with carvings to celebrate St. Florian’s courage, honor the Blessed Sacrament, share the beauty of Carmelite roses, as well as a purr-fect tribute to St. Gertrude. 🎃🙏🌹🐾

This past week I shared a reel over on Instagram but wanted to update the blog with a few pictures too.

I didn’t manage to capture many pictures of the process this year. I did pitch in by printing a couple templates and other images used for inspiration. Other than that, they took charge of the preparations and did all the carving themselves. The little girls loved having their older siblings help them with their Saint-O-Lanterns.

Flower of Carmel by Twinkle Toes & Joy

O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine,
splendor of Heaven, holy and singular,
who brought forth the Son of God, still remaining a pure virgin,
assist us in our necessity!

– Opening prayer of Novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Saint Gertrude’s Cat by Ranger, Scout & Grace

Saint Gertrude of Nivelles is often associated with being the patron saint of cats, not because she loved cats, but on account of her ability to expel mice. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains, “She is also patron of travelers, and is invoked against fever, rats, and mice, particularly field-mice.”

Saint Florian by Bud (11)
Saint Florian is considered the patron saint of firefighters due to a legendary story where he saved a town from a fire.

The Blessed Sacrament by Rose (13)

To view more, scroll through our past Saint-O-Lanterns!

Preparing for Advent: Order Your Advent Candles Now!

Advent begins at the beginning of next month, and the time has come for my annual reminder to prepare for the season and order Advent Candles for your wreath. The dear nuns at The Cloister Shoppe have these beautiful candles ready to ship, and they have a tendency to sell out quickly as the holiday season approaches. Don’t miss your chance to add a meaningful touch to your celebrations with these special candles.

100% Beeswax Advent Candles

For many years, our family has been ordering the exquisite 100% Beeswax hand-poured tapers created by the talented Dominican Nuns at The Cloister Shoppe. These candles have been the centerpiece of our Advent wreath, casting a warm and comforting glow as we gather for dinner each night throughout the Advent season. The craftsmanship and love put into each taper make these candles a cherished part of our yearly celebrations.

(Father Terrence Gordon showed me tape hack to prevent tapers from dripping during one of his last visits to our home… It worked for a little while but I don’t think I did it correctly… Going to try again this year.)

In these pictures, you can see Joseph and Mary making their journey down our Advent Path. About seven years ago I decided to create a path down the center of our table for Advent, using our Jesse Tree ornaments for each day of the season. The first year was a simple countdown path made from doilies, but the following year, I incorporated our wooden Jesse Tree Ornaments from Jesse Tree Treasures.

The Our Lady of Guadalupe Candle is from Clear Creek Abbey. (Also available from Amazon.) While I’ve yet to bring myself to burn it, it adds a lovely and meaningful touch to our Advent decorations

More Favorites from The Cloister Shoppe

Each year, I make an effort to plan in advance and order additional candles to be blessed on Candlemas (February 2). This ensures that we have them ready for the new liturgical year and the upcoming Advent season. Here are some I have purchased over the years:

Click here to visit the Cloister Christmas Shoppe!

Advent Wreaths Around Our Home

In our home, we like to set up two Advent wreaths during this special season.

The taper Advent Candles find their place in an Advent Wreath on our dining room table, where we light them each night during dinner, creating a warm and beautiful atmosphere.

Additionally, we have a larger wreath adorning the coffee table in our living room. This one is lit during our family rosary each evening, and we leave it aglow while unwrapping and reading from our cherished annual Advent Book Basket.

I still miss the pillar candles I used to buy from the Benedictine Monks when they were still making them. Currently, I opt for these 3×3 candles in purple and pink. (You can find more Advent Wreath-related posts here.)

There was one particularly ambitious year when I even hung our Advent Wreath like the Von Trapp family! 🕯️🎶

Advent Candle Crafting for Children

Our children have also thoroughly enjoyed crafting their own candles using the 100% Beeswax Advent Candle Kit from Illuminated Ink. This hands-on Advent project is a wonderful way for children to actively participate in preparing for the Advent season.

(You can also order Advent Candles kit from Holy Heroes.)

Advent Wreath Socks

Speaking of Advent wreaths, don’t miss out on the delightful Advent Wreath Socks from Socks Religious – they’re so much fun! I loved using mine the past couple Advents and look forward to taking them out again next month.

For more Advent Planning:  

The Advent Season In Our Catholic Home

Saint Costumes Over the Years

Last night, I took a little trip down memory lane and created a heartwarming Instagram reel featuring our children’s saint costumes from the past couple of decades. It brought tears to my eyes, reliving the love, joy, and countless memories. Time flies by so quickly!

Are you still looking for some costume inspiration for this year? Check out our Saintly Costumes (2008) post which lists many simple saint costume ideas. You can also scroll through all our past posts under the label Costumes or click over to Links for October or Links for November. I have also linked each year below. Many of those posts contain additional details about some of the costumes.

Last year one of our daughters Crafted a Crown Fit for a Queen which was so much more extravagant than my Quick & Easy Homemade Paper Crowns. We still need to see what we can pull together for this year!

Looking back…

1991 & 19972004 & 2005

200620072008

2009 • 2010 • 2011

2012 & 20122013 • 2014

2015 • 2016 • 2017

2018 • 2019 • 2020

2021 • 2022

I realized that we haven’t ever had a year with all of our children home for All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day.. The closest we got was in 2017 with 8 of our 9 in the photo. Our youngest wasn’t born until 2019 and our older boys were both across the country at Christendom College that fall. They truly grow up fast!

Thank you all for joining me on this little trip down memory lane!

Please note…

Last October Shower of Roses was unexpectedly removed (canceled!) from Blogger/Google the week before All Saints Day… I lost complete access to everything! To ensure this doesn’t happen again, the entire blog has been migrated to WordPress which I should have done many years ago but couldn’t justify the cost. With a staggering archive spanning 17 years and over 45,000 photos, this migration was no small feat, and I’m immensely thankful for the invaluable help and support from Sprout Studio.

Last night I ran across some more internal links (a few past costume posts) that are redirecting to incorrect posts. I’m actively working to correct internal links, improve formatting on old posts, and ensure that preview photos load as intended. I apologize if you happen to run across any poor formatting from the transfer or bad links!

All Saints Guessing Jars {2022 Edition}

All Saints Guessing Jars {2022 Edition}

Are you preparing for an All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Party this year? I received an email the other day which made me realize that I hadn’t shared the six new All Saints Guessing Jars Labels I added to our ever-growing collection last year! I’m uploading them for you all now. According to my records, we now have a whopping 105 options, combining these new lables with those found in the archives from previous years

This weekend, I hope to dedicate some time to create updated All Saints Guessing Sheets, like the ones I’ve made in recent years for all the original All Saints Guessing Jars. Perhaps I’ll even come up with a few new ones! I’d also like to attempt consolidating them all into a single document, although I always tend to have more ambitious plans than I can accomplish! 😉

All Saints Guessing Jars {2022 Edition} - Candies and Treats

Here are the Six New All Saints Guessing Jars from 2022:

St. Abigail Patron Saint of Bees & Beekeepers

Honeycomb Cereal

St. Roch Patron of Dogs & Dog Lovers

Doggy Bones (Scooby Doo Graham Crackers)

St. Gabriel the Archangel

Bugles (The bugle symbolizes Archangel Gabriel’s role as a divine messenger, announcing important events and messages from God)

St. Martha the Dragon Slayer

Cinna-Dragons – from Trader Joe’s

St. Kateri of the Turtle Clan

Tangy Turtles – from Trader Joe’s

Sts. Caspar, Melchoir & Balthasar – Three Wise Men

3 Musketeers

You can download these printable labels here… 

… and the corresponding printable guess pages here.

Little "saints" guessing how many candies are in each jar.

The All Saints Guessing Jars always steal the spotlight at our annual party! They never fail to captivate the “little saints” with their simple yet engaging concept. The excitement and anticipation as everyone tries to estimate the contents of each jar make this activity a yearly favorite.

Here is the link to all of my FREE All Saints Party Printables!

Autumn Adventures: Crafting a Leaf Man

This delightful autumn-inspired Leaf Man Craft sparks creativity and brings the beauty of nature into your crafting adventures!

🍂 My little girls and I love visiting bookstores! We recently returned from another delightful trip and couldn’t resist bringing home the wonder of autumn captured in three enchanting books. Leaf Man, The Leaf Thief, and Autumn in the Forest have now been added to our family collection, promising whimsical adventures amidst the falling leaves and the colorful transformations of nature!

📚 Leaf Man emphasizes creativity and imagination through imaginative leaf transformations, while The Leaf Thief combines a narrative-driven story with stunning illustrations to convey messages of sharing and appreciating the beauty of nature. Autumn in the Forest portrays the enchanting shift of seasons in a lively forest, capturing the vibrant hues of autumn and the playful antics of its inhabitants. It’s a delightful depiction of fall’s beauty and the joy it brings to the woodland. All three books celebrate the wonder of leaves and the autumn season in their own unique ways, making them delightful reads for little ones.

🍁 After reading the books (and sharing the pictures of some of their older siblings doing the same craft seven years ago! Here’s that link: Leaf Man :: A Picture Book Inspired Craft for Fall) the girls set out to make their own Leaf Man craft for autumn!

Creating a Leaf Man is such a fun and creative activity!

Here’s a simple guide to make a Leaf Man:

  1. Collect Leaves:
    Gather various types and sizes of leaves from your yard or a nearby park.
  2. Create a Base:
    Use a piece of paper or cardboard as the base for your leaf man. We used 12×12 card stock in fall colors.
  3. Arrange the Leaves:
    Arrange the leaves to form the body, limbs, and head of your leaf man. Overlap them to create different shapes and patterns.
  4. Add Details:
    Use smaller leaves for arms, legs, and facial features like eyes, nose, and mouth.
  5. Glue in Place:
    Carefully glue each leaf in its desired position on the base.
  6. Decorate:
    Use additional natural materials like twigs, acorns, pinecones, or seeds to embellish your leaf man.
  7. Let it Dry:
    Allow the glue to dry completely.
  8. Display:
    Display your leaf man craft proudly or even write a short story or poem about your creation.

🍂 They did such a beautiful job all on their own! I only assisted with the glue. 🍁

Picture Books: Leaf Man, The Leaf Thief, and Autumn in the Forest

From the Archives: Leaf Man :: A Picture Book Inspired Craft for Fall & Little Saints Preschool: Fall is Here!

2023 Shower of Roses Christmas Gift Guide + Giveaway

2023 Shower of Roses Christmas Gift Guide + Giveaway

Welcome to our Annual Christmas Gift Guide and Giveaway! Get ready for a curated selection of fantastic gift ideas and a chance to win amazing prizes. Once again I've gathered suggestions from every member of our family to ensure there's something for everyone. We've...

Celebrating Martinmas 2022

Celebrating Martinmas 2022

- Photos from Celebrating Martinmas 2022 - “Allow me, brothers, to look toward heaven rather than at the earth, so that my spirit may set on the right course when the time comes for me to go on my journey to the Lord.” – St. Martin of Tours I have so many partial...

Saint-O-Lanterns

Saint-O-Lanterns

We love illuminating our faith on All Hallows’ Eve with Saint-O-Lanterns! This year the kids came up with carvings to celebrate St. Florian’s courage, honor the Blessed Sacrament, share the beauty of Carmelite roses, as well as a purr-fect tribute to St. Gertrude....

Saint Costumes Over the Years

Saint Costumes Over the Years

Last night, I took a little trip down memory lane and created a heartwarming Instagram reel featuring our children's saint costumes from the past couple of decades. It brought tears to my eyes, reliving the love, joy, and countless memories. Time flies by so quickly!...

All Saints Guessing Jars {2022 Edition}

All Saints Guessing Jars {2022 Edition}

Are you preparing for an All Hallows' Eve or All Saints' Party this year? I received an email the other day which made me realize that I hadn't shared the six new All Saints Guessing Jars Labels I added to our ever-growing collection last year! I'm uploading them for...

Prayer of Mothers

Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me. Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.


Our Family

Sean & Jessica, Captain-23, Ranger-22, Twinkle Toes-20, Chiquita-19, Snuggles-16, Rose-14, Bud-12, Grace-6 and Joy-4 (blog nicknames)

A Little About Me

Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

My Other Blog: Catholic Cuisine

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