Chirstian Gifts
July 28, 2007 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Christian gift items.... Where can I find some nice ones for afluent Christians?

I am not a religious person, however, I need to find few different Christian gifts for dozen couples who are in high end of society.

The need is fairly specific. It has to be some what unique. It needs to display or symbolize Christianity... Somethings that they can use or proudly place them in their luxuary life style. So.. NO plastic figures or Jesus images on velvet...

I have absolute no idea what kind and where I will need to search. I thought about expensive pen with some kind of Christian logo or something.. or very designer-like symbols for home... but can't find any.

Please lets not discuss too much on its morality and religious issue... I have no judgemental thought about these gifts.. it was requested by someone close and I just want to be helpful...

The price range can be somewhere in $100 to $1000.... I would like to find few alternatives....
posted by curiousleo to Shopping (37 answers total)
Response by poster: the price ranges are for each gift ....
posted by curiousleo at 11:07 AM on July 28, 2007

Family Christian Stores, a Christian bookstore chain, has some options in your price range on their website. Also, Tiffany & Co. has some beautiful cross jewelry.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:14 AM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Part of this depends on how highbrow or lowbrow their artistic tastes may be. Some are fans of Thomas Kinkade, and you will probably be able to find a gift in that range from his site.

For those with an academic bent, a complete set of Bible commentaries from a historical theologian might be appropriate. Here's a link to John Calvin's commentaries on scripture. You might want to find a nice bound collection of the works of C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton, or volumes on church history.

You could search for christian calligraphy - some pieces feature Bible verses done in a very tasteful, artistic way.

Finally, you might want to check out a Jewish bookstore. I picked up a nice print of some "Old Testament" bible verses from a Jewish bookstore to give as a gift. The verses were sort of a blessing for the home and were written in English and Hebrew - the recipients loved it.
posted by sherlockt at 11:25 AM on July 28, 2007

Response by poster: Asparagirl...
thanks for the quote... I may use that to the friend who requested....

but i don't want to get into this... as i also find myself hypoterical in my everyday life..... so.. no judgements...
posted by curiousleo at 11:28 AM on July 28, 2007

Response by poster: sherlockt...
i like the direction u are going...
i think they like things that are designery..
cars like Audi, BMW.. designer furnigures from europe etc..etc...

i am fairly good with finding things for highbrow society types.. but ones the Christian thing was thrown in... i am stuck..
posted by curiousleo at 11:31 AM on July 28, 2007

Oh, one more thing. . .if you travel internationally, or if you have access to a store that sells hand-crafted international goods, wall-crosses from different cultures are always welcome. Just bear in mind this rule of thumb - Catholics generally display crucifixes (a cross with Jesus still "attached") while Protestants tend to display crosses without Jesus affixed.
posted by sherlockt at 11:34 AM on July 28, 2007

Getting a high-quality (or, perhaps, antique) Bible is a really safe bet, especially if they have kids to give it to eventually. This will be more popular with evangelical sects than more orthodox ones.

Are they all of the same sect? Especially with giving books, that's terribly important.
posted by tmcw at 11:37 AM on July 28, 2007

Rosary beads can run anywhere from a few hundred to a few grand apiece - we're talking the gold/platinum/titanium type with hand cultured pearls or semiprecious/precious stones [ah, irony]. I know my previous description sounds horrid, but some beads of 'high brow' taste do exist that are made from such materials. You'll find these usually at religous stores, rather than jewelers, but often you'll surprisingly find them at artisian's or woodworking shops. Be open to hand carved rosaries as these are often stunning too, with each bead a work of art. YMMV though.

Often the boxes these uber expensive beads come in are terribly luxurious too - but perhaps framing an expensive rosary beads could solve some gift issues?
posted by Chorus at 11:41 AM on July 28, 2007

What an interesting question! As Asparagirl says, you are asking for something that is self-contradictory. A thing cannot simultaneously represent true Christianity and a desire to show off wealth.

However, given that you're looking for gifts for rich Christians and don't wish to judge their motives for displaying them:

How about gifts that have historic value rather than trinkets etched with a symbol? This site offers pages from antique bibles, in English or Latin, bound in portfolios for display. Pretty cool.
posted by torticat at 11:52 AM on July 28, 2007

You could get them a really nice Icon

Ebay Search of Icons

Here are a few I found that are interesting and wouldn't be offensive to Protestant/Evangelical sensibilities:

Christ Ascending into heaven, 18th Century

Guardian Angel Icon

The Resurrection

Good Luck!

posted by allthewhile at 11:52 AM on July 28, 2007

What affluent Christians need is not more stuff. They need a grace-filled way to understand what Jesus says about affluence.

My suggestion would be to give some money to charity in their name, and then let them know you did it.

I'm not trying to be snarky or holier-than-thou, but, you know, "whatever you do for the least of these..."
posted by 4ster at 12:05 PM on July 28, 2007 [4 favorites]

You could get them a really nice Icon ... Here are a few I found that are interesting and wouldn't be offensive to Protestant/Evangelical sensibilities

Hmm. Offensive, no, but there's a reason ikons are only found in Orthodox churches: That's AFAIK the only branch of Christianity where they aren't expressly forbidden. (It's really more about intent than simple possession, but still...)
posted by Reggie Digest at 12:08 PM on July 28, 2007

How about a selection of Lladro figurines? Most of the wealthy xtians I know collect this sort of thing. They've got a range of options in their Religion category -- though be aware of the distinction between Catholic imagery and Christian.

Mary, Mother, Our Lady, Communion, Crucifix, Nuns, Pope = Catholic.

Jesus on his own and other imagery is likely to suit most Christians.

For the women it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy figurines relating to motherhood -- a big tenet in Christian faith. Another feminine option might be angels. I also think the gift of a cross necklace might be appropriate, depending on your relationship to the woman.

The men might appreciate a big manly Christ?

If you've got time to be thoughtful about it, pick up a bible, find something that speaks to you and then relate a gift to it. The story of Noah? An olive tree. A gesture like that and a personal relation might impress more upon the recipient than the gift itself.

As far as charity goes, it's not a bad idea but I'd avoid doing it in the context suggested in previous comments. Instead, pick something with impact, like serving basic human needs internationally.
posted by cior at 12:11 PM on July 28, 2007

Reggie Digest: I believe that for most Protestants, its how the icons are used. Decoration is OK. Veneration isn't, which would explain why Orthodox churches use them in the context of worship (thus in the sanctuary) and Protestants don't.
posted by 4ster at 12:13 PM on July 28, 2007

Icons are cool with Roman Catholics, by and large -- churches in Sicily and other formerly-Byzantine territories have them in great numbers.

My recommendation that would be least likely to offend Catholics or Protestants is a lovely cross to hang on the wall -- not a crucifix, which is more Catholic-specific, but just a plain cross, as sherlockt says. Many of the other suggestions seem to me to be fraught with peril, unless you know the particular denomination of the people involved. Rosaries are (or at least used to be) Catholic-only, and may not be appropriate for these people. Calvin's commentaries would be, let us say, not welcome in most Catholic homes. A cross, however, would offend few Christians, and there are some people who think a home can never have too many of them.
posted by katemonster at 12:22 PM on July 28, 2007

It's really, really, really important to know what kind of Christian they are, since even something as simple as a bible has the potential to be a faux pas if you get the wrong translation. Protestants won't want rosary beads or crucifixes or anything with a Saint, and many Catholics will have enough of those things already. And the Eastern Orthodox sects usually use the Byzantine Cross.

Why is it necessary to get a Christian-themed gift? Most Christians are pretty happy to get secular gifts on religious holidays and such.
posted by Reggie Digest at 12:24 PM on July 28, 2007

A cross, however, would offend few Christians, and there are some people who think a home can never have too many of them.

There are also plenty who think it can.
posted by Reggie Digest at 12:26 PM on July 28, 2007

Last comment, honest.

It just occurred to me that there's a ton of art you could choose from that would be fine for any Christian. Renaissance or Baroque sort of stuff. Sculptures, paintings, that sort of thing. Plenty of Old Testament stuff, plenty of New Testament stuff, all totally OK with pretty much everyone, as long as it's not full of nudity.
posted by Reggie Digest at 12:34 PM on July 28, 2007

Reggie Digest: yes, the "some" means "not all" -- myself included. It can extend to "plenty", "many", or even "most". English's flexibility and subtleties are wonderful indeed.
posted by katemonster at 12:43 PM on July 28, 2007

Interesting anthropological or archaological gifts from Israel are a good bet, I am sure. Someone suggested a Jewish bookstore, but anyone dealing in high-end Judaica will have many items also of interest to a Christian, too. A nice piece of original calligraphy, either in English or Greek or Latin or Hebrew, with a bible verse - that might be very well-received, and there are plenty of great contemporary calligraphers out there willing to take very specific jobs like this, and many who do this as part of their stock-in-trade. Textiles from the region sometimes have religious symbols in them, and make beautiful wall-hangings. Reproductions of great religious textiles are also available from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; they also sell some very nice reproductions of early Christian jewelry from Europe and the Middle East.
posted by luriete at 12:54 PM on July 28, 2007

A donation to a Christian Relief fund or charity in their name would be appropriate if they are serious Christians.

I suspect, tho, this has to do with a business type gift, right? What is the context of the giftgiving?

Years ago I used to work for a fellow who did calligraphy on rocks -Bible verses. They were quite nice. Something like that could work if it has to be a gift instead of an in-their-name donation. Nice calligraphy in nice framing would work well.
posted by konolia at 2:40 PM on July 28, 2007

Do you know 100% for sure that these people display Christian-themed stuff in their homes? Because I've been in the homes of very wealthy Christians, and I didn't notice any giant fish wallhangings, etc.

I think a donation to a Christian relief organization in their name is the best bet, and the only one that doesn't verge on the offensive.

Anything else is extremely tacky, and sure, some rich Christians may enjoy the tacky, but some of them are bound to be, you know, Presbyterians.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 2:50 PM on July 28, 2007

What about waterford crystal? They make crosses, and figurines that are appropriate.
posted by dpx.mfx at 3:25 PM on July 28, 2007

Almost all Christians display some type of Nativity scene in their home during the Christmas season, from Catholics to Protestants, to Evangelicals. Getting someone a really nice Nativity scene would likely be appreciated. Porcelain sets made by Fontanini would definitely fall within your price range. Another nice option is to get a set hand carved from olive wood. For example this is a nice one.

Someone mentioned Lladro figurines, they are nice and they make nativities as well.

Good luck.
posted by bove at 3:31 PM on July 28, 2007

Timothy Botts is a calligrapher who does beautiful and visually expressive works of art based on scripture verses (see www.timbotts .com) who is well-known in the Christian world. Click on "Gallery" for a few samples. You can buy originals and prints, plus it says that you can commission any size of whatever verse, and he will also make custom handmade and handbound books. Every Christian person I know is crazy about his work, and if you were able to commission originals or perhaps a handmade book of some of his work, I think it would be an incredible gift. It says that he can also paint wedding vows (I don't know if you're close enough to these people to get those). I can't think of any Christian who wouldn't want something from Timothy Botts, particularly if it were an original or custom piece.
posted by la petite marie at 4:24 PM on July 28, 2007

You might try finding religious-run fair trade stores (such as 10000 Villages). For the past couple of years, we got my mom some very nice Nativity sets there that weren't gaudy (these make for better Christmas gifts more than just "hai guys, happy birthday"). They had the added advantage of being non-denominational; every Christian I know of is down with baby Jesus in the manger.

Katemonster is correct that a non-crucifix would be perfectly acceptable in a Catholic home. My family, which is nth generation Polish Catholics (of varying levels of devoutness) has never had a crucifix just sitting around.
posted by dismas at 4:47 PM on July 28, 2007

...but we have had just normal crosses. Sorry. Important detail.
posted by dismas at 4:50 PM on July 28, 2007

For the most part, I think crosses and crucifixes are out. in all the non-Catholic Christian homes I've been in, I've never seen anything other than simple thin metal/silver crosses placed discreetly.

Instead, I think you should look into crafts or objects produced by Christian organizations or missionary groups. I know there are many missionary groups working in rural areas of Asia, Africa, and South America -- I'm sure some offer crafts you can buy made by the people they're evangelizing to that would support their cause. For a hundred bucks a couple, you could create a whole gift basket of tasteful crafts and foods from around the world along with a card to describe where each came from and what organization was being supported. The couples would be able to feel that worthy causes were being supported and at the same time, they get a collection of nice items from around the world that they can pick and choose to keep.
posted by junesix at 5:34 PM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

A nice painting of Christ perhaps?
posted by Sassyfras at 5:49 PM on July 28, 2007

A snazzily framed high-quality print of Dali's Last Supper or Crucifixion should do nicely.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:02 PM on July 28, 2007

Ditto archaeological gifts from Israel

There's plenty of fakes of course, but genuine old oil lamps with christian symbols or widows' mites are pretty easy to come by and will fit your bill.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:44 PM on July 28, 2007

BOO. There is one very obvious response to this question:

Affluent people tend to already have everything they need. Therefore, to share with them a truly Christian sprit and ethic, one should make charitable contributions on their behalf. There are enough charities that I'm quite sure you could find one that will fit their particular passions.

And...booooo to the selling of historical artifacts, especially ones from Israel or Egypt which are, for the most part, sold w/o the permission of the Israeli/Egyptian governments.
posted by TomMelee at 8:03 PM on July 28, 2007

I'm a Christian and I hate all the expensive Christian crap out there too. Its tacky and hypocritical.

But there is a really cool gift that might be up your alley. A print from the St. John's Bible. They aren't cheap - anywhere from $100-$500 unframed depending on size, but they are really cool and way better than some smarmy painting of blond hair blue eyes Jesus.
posted by jpdoane at 8:07 PM on July 28, 2007

jpdoane, those are beautiful, and I agree would make a really great gift. I'm struck by how similar they are to the Timothy Botts prints, which is probably why I like them so much. I'm not even near an affluent Christian (as in the question), but I'd love to receive something like that.
posted by la petite marie at 8:52 PM on July 28, 2007

Just one note: Mormons generally don't wear or display crosses, since it's Mormon canon that the cross is a sign of torture. This is why most purpose-built Mormon stake houses don't have crosses, nor do temples, bibles meant for Mormons, or other Mormon devotional items.

If the Christians in question are Mormons, something without iconography would be best.
posted by watsondog at 10:28 PM on July 28, 2007

watsondog, thanks for that tidbit -- I thought I'd heard of some denomination where that was the case, but I didn't know for sure.
posted by katemonster at 11:14 AM on July 29, 2007

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