If you mingle anywhere near the Catholic Blog-o-spere you know that Lent is approaching. Even though Ash Wednesday is only a week away, you may still be wondering what to give up and how to best mark the forty days leading to Easter. Maybe you’re starting to panic: which devotional should I read?? Which bloggers suggestions do I follow??? How many kids activities must we accomplish??? Must. consume. ALL. the. sweet. things. NOW.
Take a deep breathe, come here and let me hug you. Now, snap out of it! (Imagine me shaking your shoulders in a concerned way.)
Presenting my Lenten Gift Guide; five items to “spoil” yourself with or purchase for a loved one you want to save from the fires of Gehenna.
They’re also perfect for all those birthday parties and special events that fall during Lent. You don’t want to not go, or ignore the occasion, but you can’t be expected to indulge in revelry and encourage merriment. These gifts provide a safe out. Forget Hallmark. When you care enough to give the very best, consider the following.
Rocks can be used in a multitude of ways and are great for the creative person at Lent. Smaller ones can be placed in shoes or knelt upon, while larger ones can be used as a pillow. To really win over your special girl, or boy, consider having a large landscaping rock placed in your home for them to use as a bed! Come Easter, use the stones to help fill holes in your driveway.
2. Hair Shirt ( a.k.a. cilice)
Many great saints throughout history used a hairshirt. We’re all so quick to slap a Bl. Mother Teresa bumper sticker on our car, or quote meme on Facebook. Why not give the Bl. Mother Teresa fan a real treat and let them practice self-mortification with an itchy goat hair garment? Just make sure you don’t accidentally order this “hair shirt”
So, so, wrong. I’m almost sorry I exposed you to that.
3. Rope, or leather, discipline
For the hardcore Catholic in your life, nothing screams LENT quite like a whip for self-flagellation. Or you could just hang it where your children will see it every day and let them know you’ll be using it as part of your families Lenten journey this year, MWAHAHAHA! Or omit the evil laugh, whatever. Also break it out at Advent as an alternative to the Elf on a Shelf. Let them know Krampus is watching, MWAHAHAHA! (Again, the laugh, your choice.)
4. Iron Chains
Tightened around the waist, worn heavy around the neck, or as weights on your ankles, iron chains are another versatile choice. Also useful for helping children practice patience by locking them together. Who needs a get along shirt when you can fashion a get along chain gang? Just be sure to advice the gift receiver to discretely wear their chain, otherwise, they might inadvertently resurrect an old trend.
Not very Lenten at all Mr. T.
5. Hard Tack
I know some people who do occasional bread and water fasts during Lent. Why not gift them a tin of hard tack that will last through out Lent and probably into next years observance? If you’re looking for a flavorless penance to joyfully choke down, you can’t go wrong with this sailor’s staple. And if a zombie apocalypse occurs? You’re totally set. Hard tack is the poor mans MRE.
What are your favorite Lenten aids?