None of us want the coming holiday season to be overly commercial,
but that doesn't mean we don't have to find gifts! A head
start is best if you plan on ordering religious gifts via
It may seem that the Web offers an easy solution for hard-to-find
Catholic gifts, but learn from my mistake.
I recently ordered a backpack on the Web after searching
multiple sites, choosing a model, then comparing prices. The
following day I received a vague e-mail message about the
item being out of stock, and perhaps I'd have better luck
at another Web site! I think the site was a sophisticated
teen prank. I realized, to my embarrassment, the folly of
submitting my credit card number to an unknown and unrated
retailer. Would my number be stolen and misused? (It wasn't.)
I turned to the Web site of a trusted catalog merchant and
got my backpack within a few days.
If you're setting out on the Web, even for religious gifts,
make sure you trust the retailer before you give credit card
How to Do It
I'll suggest a shopping strategy rather than endorse particular
retail outlets here. Perhaps the best place to start shopping
is at the site of your trusted local or regional Catholic
bookstore. Go to one of the large search engines like Google.com
and type in the name of the bookstore. If they've got a site
you'll probably find it there, though you might have to search
Your parish site might be reselling goods as a parish fund-raiser.
Support your parish!
If you're looking for books or other media, you may want
to go directly to a publisher's site. A trustworthy list is
at www.cbpa.org, Web site of the
Catholic Book Publishers Association.
There is a multitude of Catholic shopping sites on the Web.
There are long lists of online retailers at Catholic.org
There are Catholic gift sections at supersites such as Yahoo.com
(with merchant ratings), Amazon.com
If you are looking for musical gifts, you can find quality,
lesser-known artists at Catholicmusicnetwork.com.