Beliefnet
Tired of giving the same old stocking stuffers, books, and pajama sets for the holidays every year? Here are 10 suggestions from Beliefnet editors for unique holiday gifts. Some of these items--all of which we have either given or received--are religion-specific, others are general spiritual gifts that can be enjoyed by people of any faith. Be sure to check out the Beliefnet member picks as well.



Madonna and Child Icon

Even devout Protestants often find beauty in Eastern Orthodox icons. Both Pope John Paul II and my dyed-in-the-wool Catholic grandmother gave this Orthodox icon of Mary a place of honor in their homes. It doesn't get more ecumenical than that. This icon, based on the wonder-working Icon of Kazan, shows the Theotokos ("God-bearer") gently holding her son. There's a special Christmas poignancy in its serene depiction of mother and child. --Laura Sheahen

Cost: $17 for a reproduction
Where to buy it: Skete.com
Contact: 800-81-ICONS, www.skete.com
More icons: From MonasteryGreetings.com




Handcrafted Kaleidoscopes

Boy, kaleidoscopes have come a long way since we were kids. There's a whole world out there of magnificent handcrafted kaleidoscopes that positively transport you. To me, they are awe-inspiring, focusing the mind's eye on the splendor of light, color and geometry. For those who find God in the structure of an atom or a picture of the Milky Way, kaleidoscopes can be spiritual tools. The special trick with this one with the liquid cylinder is that the fluid pours through the prism, creating an ever-changing dance of light and color. --Steve Waldman

Cost: $52
Where to buy it: On Reflection Contemporary Kaleidoscopes
Contact: 828-285-8894, www.onreflection.com
More kaleidoscopes: From Kaleidoscope World




Spin the Dreidel

Most people associate dreidels with the cheap plastic kind that kids use to play with during Hanukkah. But handmade dreidels, in painted wood, silver, or even glass, can make beautiful gifts or collectors' items. These handpainted wooden dreidels made in Israel are a great souvenir, too, because the letters on the sides stand for "A great miracle happened here," instead of "A great miracle happened there," as dreidels anywhere else in the world say. Dreidels are most common during Hanukkah, but as art in your home, they can be reminders of every day miracles, too. --Rebecca Phillips

Cost: $20
Where to buy it: Rotem
More dreidels: From Rotem. Plus: unique Hanukkah candles.




Nativity Set

I feel great about buying gifts that support good charities. African Team Ministries offers jewelry made from interesting stones, hand carved wood items and scarves, all hand-made by people in East Africa. Money from sales goes directly to education for children in East Africa, one of the few charities where virtually all the proceeds go directly to those in need. I bought a rose quartz angel necklace for my little niece, and this soapstone nativity set for my sister. --Martha Ainsworth

Cost: $50
Where to buy it: African Team Ministries
Contact: 800-456-0843, www.africanteamministries.org
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