• This blog began in the summer of 2014 and ended at the end of 2016. New content is no longer being added.

How did Christmas become a mad shopping marathon?

I get it. I really do. People want to buy gifts, give, get gifts. Some much more one than the other, although we’re told it’s more blessed to give than to receive. We try so hard to get so much, do so much, squeeze every last ounce of joy we can get (some of it literally measured in ounces).

But how did we get to the point of madness known as Christmas shopping season? And why does it now last over two months? For some people, year ’round? The spectacle gets worse each year: people fighting, pushing, shoving, trampling, cutting off cars in traffic … not exactly the spirit we have in mind.

I can’t answer that. All I know is we’ve gone way off on a tangent, straying far from what the occasion is about. It’s a celebration of a birth. But it’s more: it’s a coming together of friends, family, a sharing, giving to total strangers. It’s an end-of-the-year catching up, renewing of bonds, sharing of rituals, a remembrance of those who’ve passed who once shared those occasions with us.

We do it, too. We go overboard with shopping, gift-buying, wrapping, eating, drinking. It’s all too commercial, too material.

But that’s not what’s important. To me, it’s the gathering, sharing, re-connecting. And it’s the giving to those who have less, whether they be family, friends, or someone completely unknown to us.

So, when you’re rushing around, maxing out the credit cards, trying to make everything “perfect” that will never be exactly perfect, slow down, step back, and try to remember what it’s all about. And spend some time visiting, talking, and listening to those around you. They are the gift of Christmas.

Jon Hardy

About Jon Hardy

Jonathan Hardy is an attorney, musician, poet, and lifetime resident of Louisville. He grew up attending St. Luke’s and has attended St. Matthew's with his family for 14 years. At St. Matthew's he has taught Sunday school, helped with the Youth Group, served as a coffee host, assisted sporadically with the garden, Cooks and Bottlewashers, and the food pantry, and performed music at two St. Matthew's Day picnics while occasionally advising various committees concerning legal matters. He is married to Libby Hardy. They have two children – Nathan, who recently graduated from University of Louisville and now works for their School of Business, and Natalie, who attends Indiana University Southeast – and a dog named Darla.
Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Jon, I always enjoy your blogs and this is one of the best. It should be run on Christmas Eve every year right along with the iconic Hugh Haynie cartoon.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Thank you, and a Merry Christmas to you, Jane. Our kids are home, Nathan and Natalie, but they’re all grown up and sleeping in. We’ll still make them descend the staircase later in orderly fashion and have their picture taken, and they’ll play along. One brother and his wife coming over later, the others are sick. First year without the papa, but reminders are everywhere.


    Gnawing your way back into the heart
    of our collective consciousness,
    our memories revived
    by holiday recipes, rituals,
    you reappear to us.

    We talk about you,
    remember the important things,
    determined not to let it pass
    without your presence.

    You would have loved to have been here,
    seen your grandchildren grow and flourish:
    Natalie baking what you once did;
    Nathan helping with the heavy lifting.

    It will just have to do
    that we are together again
    have brought you back into our thoughts.

    The pecan pie is almost as good.

    -Jon Hardy, 12/19/2011, rev’d. 3/15/2014

Comments are closed