My husband and I have a great love for iconography and have spent the last decade or so collecting many icons for our home (and classroom and office, too). We have one for every room, a patron if you will, and others that we display on rotation, depending on the liturgical season. Greek, Russian, Byzantine, Orthodox, Coptic – we love them all!
Once we had children, we started looking for icons that would help them learn to pray. We were delighted to discover that many of our favorite icon shops offered an “XS” icon. These small icons are the perfect size for little ones’ hands, usually about the size of an index card. Because they are so small, they tend to cost only about $5-$15, which helps us grow our collection and stick to our budget. Our tradition is to give each of our daughters an icon in her Easter basket.
So far we’ve been collecting icons that correspond to the mysteries of the Rosary and it has really helped our three-year-old grow to love this prayer. Holding the icon in her hands gives her something to focus on and helps her understand and contemplate the mystery. Our girls love taking their little icons to Mass with them, filling the diaper bag with their favorites. We keep them in a little basket and the girls run to the basket throughout the day to grab their icons, usually the Presentation for Night Prayer, or the Annunciation for the Angelus.
Mini icons make such a sweet small gift for anyone, really, not just for children. We’ve given them to friends for their desktops, godchildren or godparents, and even priest friends starting new parish assignments (they’ve got a good selection of apostles and saints). And, of course, you can’t go wrong “gifting” yourself with one, too, and using it to lead you to deeper contemplation.
Where can you find icons like these? The Monastery of St. Isaac of Syria Skete has our favorite icons; Monastery Icons also carries an “XS” version of many of their icons; Holy Trinity Store offers an even smaller “mini” icon for about $5; Theotokos.org has a great selection of small Coptic Icons, but is currently undergoing maintenance which should be complete soon.
Copyright Megan Swaim 2017