The RNS gift guide: The good, the bad and the weird

Our annual guide to gifts for the godly and the godless.

(RNS) — In December, many of us give gifts — and can use some gift ideas.

Here is our annual gift guide for the people of faith — and no faith — on your list. Some presents are meant to be meaningful, and others are just for fun. All, we hope, bring a smile to someone’s face.

And while we know not all of the faiths included in our guide actually celebrate a gift-giving holiday in December, we included them anyway —  because, hey, we are givers.


“The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage” by Philip Pullman — Pullman, an atheist, is the author of the critically acclaimed trilogy “His Dark Materials,” which pitted a young girl named Lyra against a religious organization called “The Magisterium” over the nature of the human soul. In this book — a prequel — forces of good and evil align behind the infant Lyra and set in place the hurdles and challenges she must overcome to save the world.



Atheist tree ornament — Knotwork Shop of Atlanta knows that even atheists like holiday presents — this hand-painted tree ornament, for example.





Buddha necklace — Silver Trumpet Jewelry, an Etsy store, sells handmade brass Buddhas on a chain with lotus flower charms and glass beads.




“Buddhism for Dudes: A Jarhead’s Field Guide to Mindfulness” by Gerry Stribling —  The author, a former Marine, offers “Buddhist wisdom for the regular guy.”






“Faith Night In” box — Faith Night In, owned by Christian couple Patrick and Kyra Daunt, will send you a monthly box of “activities, snacks, a custom playlist, a discussion guide and more!” Babysitter not included.



Last Supper blocks — Oxford, a toy manufacturer, makes a set of 524 interlocking blocks that, with a little effort, turn into a 3-D rendition of da Vinci’s masterpiece that won’t — like the original — rot off the wall.



Liam the Lion Prayer Buddy —Press the stuffed lion’s paw and a child’s voice recites the “Guardian Angel” prayer. From The Catholic Company.



“Nailed It” T-shirt — For the Martin Luther-lover who wants to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.




Wonder Bible — Can’t read? No problem! This tiny transistor-radiolike box emblazoned with a cross reads the Bible aloud to you. But wait, there’s more! Order now and you’ll receive a bonus charging cable!




Decorative incense burners — Hindus burn incense as an offering to God before they make their prayers. Faithhaus, a retailer of spiritual items, has several suitable for home worship — and 3 percent of profits go to charity.



Be Here Now 2018 Wall Calendar — In the 1960s, Richard Alpert traveled to India, met a Hindu guru and found the meaning of life and a new name — Ram Dass. Back home in the States, he wrote the classic of American Hindu-based spirituality, “Be Here Now.” This calendar features full-color illustrations by artist Sue Zipkin suitable for framing.


Shadow candle holders — Modern Wall Art, a family-owned company that sells via Etsy, carves Arabic phrases of praise, thanks and belief from stainless steel and crafts them into shadow-casting candle holders.



Arabic character blocks — This set of 28 wooden blocks is a way to learn Arabic letters and math symbols. Get it for the kids, but use it yourself.




Muslim Girl’s Aura Shield Collection — This line of six hats is for Muslim women who need “a little extra guard against bad vibes.” The black baseball caps feature phrases designed to provoke thought and comment, like “Lower Your Gaze” and “Don’t Touch My Hijab.”



Jewish tartan tie — Yes, there really is a Jewish tartan wool registered by the Scottish Tartans Authority. Designed by Jewish rabbis and Scottish heritage experts, its colors, weave and thread count have symbolic meaning in Judaism.



“Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus” by David Michael Slater — This children’s picture book highlights the friendship between two characters who bring children gifts in December.





Woman of Valor ring — This custom-made silver, gold and ruby ring is engraved in Hebrew with a verse from Proverbs, “Who can find a woman of valor?”



Cards Against Humanity’s Jew Pack — This pack of 30 cards intended to supplement the popular, squirm-inducing card game comes with a guarantee — “100% of the Cards Against Humanity writers are Jewish. Can you believe it? Jewish comedy writers!”


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