If you're like us, your mailbox is clogged with catalogues full of gifts that will give you snazzier clothes, better gizmos, and an even more cramped kitchen. As we do each year, we'd like to offer you a few of our favorite spiritual and religious gifts--presents that can help feed the soul and not just fill the house.


23rd Psalm Bracelet

Like many out there, I often forget to say my prayers. So I was excited to come across this Psalm 23 prayer box bracelet from Laura K Designs. Not only is this bracelet pretty enough to be complimented by envious girlfriends, but each bead represents a verse in the psalm. For example, the green bead helps you remember the verse, "He makes me lie down in green pastures." There's a small prayer box attached so that you can slip a tiny note of prayer inside to remind you of special prayer concerns--or maybe just an all-purpose message like, "Remember to Say Your Prayers!" I think I'll be retiring my WWJD bracelet once I get this. --Sherry Huang

Cost: $84.95
Where to buy it: Psalm23 Bracelets

Mindful Stationery
BrushDance has made an art, literally, of pairing thought-provoking spiritual wisdom with awe-inspiring images. The company's beautifully designed cards, calendars, and journals include moving (and potentially life-changing) quotations from such luminaries as Rumi, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Zen masters. I posted this stress-defusing card, with Rumi's words translated by Coleman Barks, near my home computer: "But listen to me: For one moment, quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you."

At $6.95, their 2005 Thich Nhat Hanh mini-calendar offers some of the loveliest and most cost-effective enlightenment you're likely to find. And BrushDance products are not all deep thoughts. Their Enlighten Up line includes koan-like sayings followed by a zingy punchline: "Take only what is given. Own nothing but your robes and an alms bowl ..unless, of course, you have the closet space." --Laura Sheahen

Cost: Varies
Where to buy it:

Jewish "Sacred Days" Calendar

Jewish calendars and day planners-which, unlike secular calendars, list all the Jewish holidays, candle-lighting times, and weekly Torah portions-are easy to come by, since many bookstores sell them and synagogues often give them out for free. And while most tend to feature pictures of Jewish art or artifacts, it's rare to find a calendar that pairs those images with quotes from the Bible, as the new Sacred Days planner produced by the nonprofit Jewish group CLAL: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership does. The 2005 calendar's theme is "vessels"-every other page features a photograph of a unique wooden vase, cup, bowl, platter, or other vessel from a renowned art collection. Interspersed throughout the weeks are short essays by CLAL faculty on everything from what it means to be a vessel for the divine to the meaning of vessels in biblical stories. It's likely to be an inspiring way to plan the year ahead of you. Most Jewish museums sell Jewish calendars as well, such as these beautiful wall calendars available online from The Jewish Museum in New York. --Rebecca Phillips

Cost: $15.00 per copy, $10 for bulk orders
Where to buy it: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

Tibetan Phone Bell & Timer

Does the ring of your telephone lift you out of your chair? Do you really need that kind of stress? Here's something that will make you, or the lucky person you give this to, happy when the telemarketers call at 6:00 a.m.! It's a Zen bowl chime that attaches to your phone so it will gong instead of ring. Gong! Now, pause to appreciate all that is, and take a deep breath! Distributed by the creators of the Zen Alarm clock (another fine product), this apparatus works well at your desk or bedside--wherever you don't have to be summoned from too far away. You get gonged instead of knocked sideways by the usual ring. And the resonant gong comes at the same timed interval as the phone. You can also program this device to assist you in timing your meditation sessions. Some aspects of the world are getting better. And we think the Zen phone represents real cultural progress. --Amy Cunningham

Cost: $119.95
Where to buy it:

Peruvian Nativity Set

Gentleness and peace emanate from all five figures in this handmade ceramic nativity set from Peru. Mary and Joseph, wearing simple robes and multicolored halos, gaze outward calmly. The Christ child looks to the sky with eyes wide open, as if seeing the angels floating there. A bull and a cow kneel in adoration at his side. Produced in family-owned workshops in a remote area of the central Andes, income from these handcrafts allows more families to return to their rural homes and to make a living there, using traditional artistic techniques and local clays. --Martha Ainsworth

Cost: $29.95
Where to buy it: Gear That Gives

Krishna Das CD

If someone you know has never heard the sacred chants, or kirtans, performed by Krishna Das, or if they have been a fan of this transformative music for a long time, this year's release of his "Greatest Hits of the Kali Yuga" makes a marvelous gift. The tracks on this CD are gathered from K.D.'s five previous albums, and an attached full-length DVD documentary chronicles the spiritual journey of this humble seeker and performing artist who has successfully brought the spiritual music of India to an unparalleled level of popularity in America today. This is a music that intensifies and illuminates whatever you choose to do while listening. It's an excellent gift for anyone who has struggled with or is still recovering from a serious illness. Whether the people on your gift list have never heard the sacred chants, or kirtans, performed by Krishna Das, or have been fans of this transformative music for a long time, this year's release of his "Greatest Hits of the Kali Yuga" makes a marvelous gift (listen to samples from a previous album). --Amy Cunningham

Cost: $19.98
Where to buy it: Karuna Music

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