Holy Land Gifts for the People in Your Life Who Mean the Most
by Barbara Taylor
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What's more precious that you could share with the people in your life than your faith? Absolutely nothing, but a small reminder of the place where it all began comes in a close second! Holy Land gifts make a great gift for the fellow believers in your life and a wonderful symbol of faith for non-believers who need a nudge toward Christ.
Among the most popular of today's Holy Land gifts are the traditional prayer shawls. For those of you who don't practice in the Jewish tradition, the traditional prayer shawl is not a shawl that's been hand-knitted with love and care (although those make great gifts too!). A traditional prayer shawl is what is known as a tallit. The tallit is often given from father to son or teacher to student as a symbolic coming of age gift, and while it is customarily worn by men, women can and do wear a prayer shawl in less orthodox traditions.
When the Franciscan monks first visited the Middle East they encouraged the people of the Holy Land to learn how to create beautiful works of art from the wood of the local olive trees. Olive wood is indigenous to the Mediterranean, a region that includes the Middle East, Southern Europe and North Africa, and lends a beautiful authenticity to your Holy Land gifts. Not only can they enjoy hanging a representation of their faith in their living room, they can also enjoy having a genuine piece of the Mediterranean.
Along with their olive wood carvings the priests also taught the people of the Middle East how to take the Mother of Pearl that was so abundant in the Red Sea and transform it into beautiful jewelry and accessories. This was especially popular in Egypt, and you'll find when you're shopping for Holy Land gifts that many of the items originating in this part of the world are inlaid with Mother of Pearl. Mother of Pearl is both lustrous and vibrant, and it's fairly inexpensive compared to the pearls themselves.
Be very careful when buying Mother of Pearl that you're buying from a reputable dealer. There have been several exposÚs in recent years of companies that have deliberately adorned their products with a plastic inlay that resembled Mother of Pearl and then pocketed the difference.
Astonishingly, Holy Land soil has become a very popular gift in recent years. That goes double for soils that are cleverly combined with Holy Water, Dead Sea bath sets and/or incense. As mentioned when discussing olive wood, the sentimental and symbolic value of the gift increases exponentially if it is made with an eye toward authenticity, and that includes the same wood and dirt you'd find if you actually set foot on the sands of Jerusalem or the Persian Gulf.
Regardless of where you live or what branch of Judaism or Christianity is observed in your home and that of the people you love these popular Holy Land gifts are guaranteed to bring a smile no matter what the occasion. Who knew? This message of hope and inspiration might be just what they need to set their feet back on the path to tranquility and true understanding.
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