Updated for Pascha 2022
Pascha is less than three weeks away! Maybe you haven’t had time to go shopping yet, or maybe you don’t like to go out to the stores during Lent. Or maybe the pandemic means it’s still not safe for you to go shopping in person. But you still need Pascha gifts for the little ones we love. I’ve got links here to wonderful (mostly handmade) Orthodox gifts that will be perfect for your little one’s Pascha basket.
(In case you need to know: none of the links are affiliate links. I don’t get anything if you click the links.)
Of course we’ll start with books. Because books make the best Pascha gifts. When my kids were still young, I always, always put books in their baskets. And there are two picture books that you can get that are explicitly about Pascha!
Catherine’s Pascha is about a little girl named Catherine celebrating Pascha with her family and her best friend, Elizabeth. The book works on many levels, depending on the age and sophistication of the reader. For the youngest readers, it’s the story of a child who wants to stay awake all night for the Pascha celebration. It focuses on the parts of the celebration most loved by children. At the same time, it shows the inclusivity of the Church, and it explores the universality of Pascha across space and time.
The Lucky Egg by Anna Prokos follows a little boy named Billy as he and his family celebrate Greek Easter. The story focuses on family and fun. The grandparents help prepare the special foods to celebrate the feast. They all go to church to celebrate Pascha in the middle of the night. Billy’s family brings decorated candles from home. They shout Christ is risen! and Christos anesti! And then they return home to share their special Pascha breakfast. Read my full review of The Lucky Egg.
Mother Melania’s sweet Pascha at the Duckpond and The Three-Day Pascha would be delightful to add to any child’s Pascha basket. They’re both by Mother Melania and available at the Holy Assumption Monastery bookstore or Kindle.
Don’t miss the children’s books at Park End Books. For chapter book readers, look at The Little Lost Nun and With Two She Flew. (There’s a gift set for The Little Lost Nun that includes a peg doll!) Board book lovers will love God’s Saintly Friends. And during April, all the children’s books come with a free organza gift bag, so they’re ready to give.
If you already have all of those, check out my my complete list of multicultural Easter picture books. There will be something there your little ones will love.
Where to get books
Of course, you can get Catherine’s Pascha on my website. But you should seriously consider getting books from your local indie bookstore. People just aren’t coming in to buy books like they ordinarily would. If you order Pascha gifts from them, online or by phone, you will help ensure that your favorite bookstore is still there when the pandemic is over.
A Good Book is my local indie store. If you don’t have a local bookseller, you can call the folks at A Good Book, or message them on Facebook. They can help you get any book you want, and some that you didn’t know you wanted.
Handmade dolls, toy censers, and crocheted eggs
Matushka Anna is the amazing talent behind Cozy House Curios. She creates all manner of wonderful handmade toys (plus clothing and accessories for you or your little ones).
Matushka Anna’s handmade Waldorf-style dolls are absolutely amazing and utterly gorgeous.
She can make a doll that looks like your little one. (Although not in time for Pascha.)
But more popular for Pascha are the priest, monk, and nun dolls.
The dolls for babies and teething dolls come with everything stitched down tight, with no small parts that your little one can pull off or chew off. She’s also got small Waldorf style heiromonk dolls in stock right now, although I can’t promise they’ll still be there when you go look.
She can make a custom priest or monastic doll that looks like your priest or a nun your child knows and loves.
Crocheted Easter eggs
I’m sure you’ve thought of getting wooden eggs for your little ones for Pascha. Or musical shaker eggs. But those eggs make noise when your little one takes them to church. These crocheted eggs are beautiful and quiet. They’re perfect for your child’s church bag.
Crocheted censer for liturgical play
With one of these beautiful crocheted censers from Cozy House Curios, you can add liturgical play to your child’s dress-up corner. Matushka Anna makes the censers in silver and gold, with and without bells (or with detachable bells!).
Carrie Hodges creates a range of beautiful art prints and cards, including Pascha cards with delightful matryoshka dolls. You can find them in her Etsy store, Orthodox Artworks.
You can get a sweet, soft, huggable matryoshka doll from Carrie, too, at St. Tabitha’s Workshop. The doll is about 7 inches tall.
And if you want to make the huggable matryoshka dolls yourself, you can get fabric pre-printed with Carrie’s design and make a set with a large doll, a small doll, and a cute little lamb. The fabric is available at Spoonflower.
Wooden saint blocks and playsets
I love Little Saints blocks and playsets! The 1.5 x 3 inch blocks are just the right size for little hands. They’re made from maple, with images printed directly on the wood. The edges are nicely rounded.
The images are inspired by Orthodox iconography, and there’s a simple prayer to the saint printed on the back of each block. But these blocks are toys to play with, not icons to venerate.
Besides blocks for your little one’s patron saint (like this one of St. Nicholas), they also have larger playsets for the Divine Liturgy, Holy Friday, and the Resurrection.
Folk art glass icons
You may think it’s just too expensive to commission a real hand-painted icon for a child. Peasants in 19th century Transylvania couldn’t afford icons, either. So they created their own, painting the icons on the back side of a piece of glass. Glass icons created in this tradition have the vividness and immediacy of folk art, while still being icons in the aid of prayer.
And they are much less expensive than conventional icons painted on wooden boards. Check out the sizes and prices on iconographer Maria Sider-Rose’s website, Immanuel Icons. If you want to commission a glass icon this year, it won’t be ready for Pascha. But you can put a slip of paper in a plastic egg, with a promise of what will come.
Draw Near Designs
Don’t miss the Draw Near Designs Shop for a wide range of awesome gifts! From snuggly saints to coffee mugs, from candles to coloring books, you’ll find something for nearly everyone here.
Cards, stickers, and prints
If you need something small to tuck into a Pascha basket, or something a bit larger to hang on the wall, check out the work of these Orthodox artists.
Art of Marza
I bought a bunch of stickers from Art of Marza for my godson and his siblings. The artist behind the website, Mary Sarchizian, brings the world of icons and stickers together to make creative, unique, and witty products. She’s inspired by iconography, anime, graffiti, and street art, seeing God in places where people assume we can’t find Him. She has a variety of stickers and prints on her website.
Mary also created the beautiful illustrations for The Grace of Being There: Single Mother Saints in Our Lives. The book is a collection of essays about saints who were single moms, written by women who are, or have been, single moms, or who were raised by single moms.
Kathryn Tussing Art
Kathryn Tussing makes wonderful Pascha cards, along with all sorts of other things for you to love and share! I know you might feel like it’s too late to order Pascha cards, but it isn’t. Honestly, you just have to decide that any time between Pascha and Annunciation is close enough.
You’ll want to check out everything in Kathryn’s Etsy store. (Especially if you’re a fan of The Office!) Besides the cards, she has icon illustration prints, stickers, and original art.
Pascha gifts you can make
Folk glass icon project
This glass icon project was developed by iconographer Maria Sider-Rose. The step-by-step instructions make it far easier than you’d expect. Children can do it. So can grownups. And you can order the pigments you’ll need online.
Embroidered Pascha basket covers
If you check out the Practical Blackwork shop on Etsy, you’ll find all sorts of wonderful embroidery patterns, including patterns for the Pascha basket covers that were designed for Catherine’s Pascha!
Tracy’s counted blackwork patterns are incredibly easy. If you can count, and do a backstitch, you can do them. If you’re not sure of your skills, you can try one, absolutely free. It’s called Peter’s Basket Cover. This pattern uses traditional Ukrainian motifs adapted for blackwork stitching techniques. It’s easy enough for beginners. And did I mention that it’s free?
If you want one of her designs, but don’t have to embroider it before Pascha, she has one basket cover in the Etsy shop that she designed and embroidered. You just have to finish it the way you want it — line it, hem it, whatever. Check it out.
Pascha basket covers your kids can make
Your children will love this children’s Pascha basket cover project! They can make covers for their own baskets, or as a Pascha gift for their godparents. If you’re a crafty sort, you probably already have all the supplies you need.
Pascha egg ornaments
You and your kids can make beautiful red egg ornaments, for yourselves or to give as treasured gifts.
Adults and older kids can use blown eggshells. Younger kids can make the same projects using wooden eggs. Stay home, and get the supplies you need online from Michael’s online.
17 essential picture books for Orthodox Christian kids: These picture books all feature engaging stories with Orthodox Christian characters.
The Sweetest Easter Basket Treats: You can fill your little one’s Easter basket with gifts that are sweeter than candy, treats that last longer and mean more.
17 ways to use Catherine’s Pascha: Your children who love Catherine’s Pascha will love these activities that extend the book.
Buy the Book: Catherine’s Pascha
FINALIST IN THE 2015 USA BEST BOOK AWARDS
Catherine doesn’t like vegetables. She doesn’t like naps. She doesn’t like it when her mom combs her hair. She loves hot dogs, chocolate cake, and her best friend, Elizabeth. Most of all, she loves Pascha! Pascha, the Orthodox Christian Easter, is celebrated in the middle of the night, with processions and candles and bells and singing. And Catherine insists that she’s not a bit sleepy.