A Catholic Birthday Gift Guide

I’m indulging in a birthday themed post this month, because, well, it’s my birthday week and I’m seeking all the birthday-related fun that I can get in this second week of March.

If that first sentence didn’t make it clear already, yes, I’m the type of adult who celebrates the entire week surrounding my birthday. It’s a little bit “extra,” I fully acknowledge, but before you close your web browser to get away from me, please know that most of that celebration exists only in my head and personal behaviors. I wear my favorite outfits, pack treats in my lunch each day, and take part in other small practices that make the days surrounding my actual birthday feel set apart.

To put a theological spin on this, I’ll simply say: God called creation “good” in the earliest of days, and God confirmed the worthiness of the world and of humanity when he came into this world as the person of Jesus; I show gratitude for the miracles of creation and incarnation when I live joyfully and enthusiastically. Celebrating my birthday week fully is one way that I do that.

With that long preamble, let’s talk about birthday gifts!

Here are some House of Joppa items that I’d love to receive or give to many of the women in my life, from my sister or sisters-in-law, to my friends and cousins, to my mom or mother-in-law.


I am consistently drawn to jewelry when looking at gifts for myself or others, and House of Joppa has no shortage of beautiful pieces. For someone who prefers delicate accessories, I love this North Star Necklace, which subtly calls to mind Mother Mary, the North Star who consistently and lovingly guides us through trials and tribulations into the arms of Jesus. These “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry” stackable bracelets offer a more overt nod to the faith that fills us, as they call to mind St. Padre Pio’s words: “Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” (And the letter beads are just so darn fun!)

Self-Care Starters

Included in my list of birthday treats are a bubbly bath after my kids go to bed, a delicious cup of tea while I sit and watch them play, or a wonderfully smelling candle lit on my desk as I write, catch up on emails, pay bills, or complete various work tasks. Knowing that many other women enjoy these small luxuries as much as I do, I love to gift items that fit in this category of what I like to call “self-care starters.” For instance, I’d eagerly package up one of these gorgeous mugs, a bar of handmade soap, or sweet smelling candle to ship off to a birthday-celebrating friend.

A Birthday Card

While I love to send birthday gifts to my sister, mom, and a few other close friends, I don’t have the budget at this stage of life to give presents to every woman in my life whom I care about. Maybe someday I will, but for now, I mark a lot of birthdays with a meaningful note on a pretty birthday card. Or, I’ll write a letter and stick in a small treat, like one of these stickers or an affirmation card.

Something Unique

I once heard the ideal gift defined as “something you love that you didn’t know you wanted.” For instance, gifts that I’ve received that have fit this description include a beautiful and functional kettle (I had been heating up cups of water in the microwave before receiving that particular gift, and let’s just say my tea-drinking experience skyrocketed after that birthday), the most comfortable pair of flats, and a super small crossbody purse (think, fits a credit card, a pair of sunglasses, and a phone; that’s it). As I peruse the House of Joppa website, I see lots of gifts that I think would fit this bill, including these Home Altar Taper Candle Holders, this Ceramic Bread Basket, and this Family Huddle Kit.

I could go on and on with the list of items that I would enjoy receiving during birthday week, or giving to a loved one, but I’ll stop here. If you birthday is coming up… treat yourself! If your sister or friend or cousin or mentor’s is… treat her! Celebrating a life — which is really what birthdays are all about, right?! — is helped along with these little doses of tangible sweetness.

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