Every once in a while we bloggers feels compelled to blog about something we know is going to be polarizing among our readers.  A topic that maybe skirts the edge of what we normally talk about, or touches on religion or politics or something really controversial like making bread out of 100% bleached, white flour.

With that subtle warning, I bring you … The Christmas Pledge.  The second most contentious topic on The Art of Doing Stuff, right behind over or under.

For those of you who haven’t been here on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd of November before, let me explain what’s about to happen to you.  In the next few paragraphs you’re going to have one of two reactions.  Utter joy, bliss, excitement, and motivation followed by an unparalleled desire to break out into dance.  Or, you’re going to never come back to the blog again, but not before you leave a comment about how much you hate me, this idea and and me.

You see today is the day I encourage you to start getting ready for Christmas.



Here I am!  Way down here, hiding from those of you throwing your Halloween pumpkins at the computer screen.  Have you calmed down enough that I can explain this to you a bit?  The Christmas Pledge started on The Art of Doing Stuff in 2011.  It is a pledge I take, and encourage you to take, to get everything done you need to get done for Christmas by the end of this month.

Calm the hell down.  Yes, I do know how far away Christmas is.  But I also know about human nature, and human nature dictates that you’ll think Christmas is “far away” until 1 hour before the malls close on Christmas Eve.

You’ll continue to put things off until you’re sitting in a puddle of anxiety wondering if it’d be O.K. to give your 4 year old niece a used hairdryer and half a bottle of Tums for Christmas.

Because of this, every year I offer you the non legally binding option of taking The Christmas Pledge with me.  A pledge to get this shit done.  I provide you with a calendar filled in with a to-do list of everything you need to accomplish on any given day, and you provide me with the joy of hearing how great it worked for you last year.  Or, sometimes you provide me with the joy of laughing with your new and inventive use of the words mother, hole, bag, for brains and sucker in the comment section.

But mainly you like it.

I give you, The Christmas Pledge calendar for 2016.


If you click on the calendar it’ll come up on your screen as a much larger, easier to read version.  Also it will be printable then.

Now … here we go.

I, Karen, being of sound mind and belly full of leftover, cold, macaroni & cheese that I ate while standing with the fridge open, do solemnly swear to at least try get this done.

Now you say it.  But not with my name cause then it won’t count.  Don’t use Dr. Dre’s name either. That won’t count either.  You have to use your own name, out loud.

Good.  Done?  Now sign below in the comment box.

And yes. As it turns out, you’re already a day behind so start making that list.

NEW this year is the addition of a support group. The Christmas Pledge Facebook Group. (This is not a public group so don’t forget to ask to join when you get to the Facebook page!)

It’s where you can share and find all kinds of Christmas decorating photos, gift wrapping ideas, cookie recipes, and your very own space to show off, plot, complain and cry. The real purpose of it is to make you accountable. It works.  Trust me.  I’ll personally email you the odd reminder about getting things done and check in throughout the month to make sure my ass kicking is working.  In the holiday spirit and all. All for free.

Or you can just stick with the calendar and tough it out on your own.

Good luck and get moving.



  1. Michelle Vaughan says:

    I am thrilled to take this pledge! Cheers to a stress free and fun December!

  2. Tasha says:

    I am in the “love it” column. The Christmas pledge helped my husband learn to like Christmas, if not love it. We do a modified version, as we don’t do cards (just a few electronic advent calendars), minimal outdoor decorations, and we have a rolling indoor schedule: Christmas books come out on December 1, decorations go up after December 8, and the tree doesn’t go up until the week before Christmas. Cookies are baked as my husband wants as he likes to do it. So, apparently it is just the gifts that we need to get done. And we do get it done, so I too pledge (in my own wonky way) to get Christmas DONE in time to enjoy Christmas.

  3. Mike says:

    Just glancing at this calendar made me feel anxious, inadequate and, surprisingly pissed off that anyone would commit themselves to actually completing all of the tasks.

    Then, I put all of it in perspective. And decided the most responsible thing I could do was go into over-achiever mode and accomplish November 14’ths task. Mixed with a nice Single-Malt Scotch.

  4. maggie aikens says:

    Ok I’m in. I didn’t see the square where we order the cases of wine we must test taste before xmas! Did you accidently forget it?

    Confused in Montreal

    • Karen says:

      I have ONE wine that I like Maggie. One. It’s a vintage and I particularly liked the 2016 year’s offering. I put off buying it and put off buying it until I finally went to buy 3 bottles for Christmas last week. They’re sold out. Everywhere. 🙁 Do YOU have my wine??? ~ karen!

    • Tina says:

      I’m with you! The entire reason for MY season is the mulled spiced wine, champagne (with a few fresh berries…or even frozen berries) or a nice, heavy red.

  5. Jani says:

    I am in too!!

  6. Ruby says:

    Aaaiiiiii! i love this calendar! maybe bc I made one almost exactly the same!!! i am going to ask yours to marry mine and spawn the most perfect christmas calendar in the history of christmas calendars, let heaven and nature sing…..! and Maggie, we are supposed to order TWO cases of wine…one for november, one for december, it is just common sense…

    • maggie aikens says:

      Dang, I knew I’d forgotten something! Common sense….I misplaced it….may be with the winter tires?? Speaking of which…..

  7. Danielle White says:

    Every year I see you post this challenge, and I’ve yet to actually do it! This is THE year! Thanks Karen!

  8. Cindy Varner says:

    I’m in the “opt out” group. Never been a fan of the majority of the holidays doing the minimal for the kids/grandkids.
    I’ll see you in January.

  9. Marilyn says:

    Calm the hell down…hahahahahahahaha laughed out loud.

  10. charlotte tataryn says:

    Hi Karen; you are 100% right, but we have to do it all in stages, most of which has to be about DENIAL it has anything to do with “Christmas”, until it does.
    My “starry lights” (the ones that worked/ went into my brand new room this evening, the purchase having been shared with a friend to capitalize on free shipping, BUT they are just that; starry, starry lights. They are tucked along an 10′ sill, amongst plants and candles and will be just indoor stars until mid-December when other “stuff” (and very little, I might add) is put out to say IT’S CHRISTMAS until it isn’t anymore.
    We are so short on light, so short on bright, and these little darlings are just that; darling little, not-quite-so-bright, stars in a week when we’ve not seen the sun.
    Meanwhile, have at ‘er; you’re inspiring, even when I don’t agree.

    • Tina says:

      I’m with you! The entire reason for MY season is the mulled spiced wine, champagne (with a few fresh berries…or even frozen berries) or a nice, heavy red.

  11. Melissa says:

    Ok, I will really, really try this…next year.
    No, seriously, I’m in. But only partially…I’m building a new house that will be done sometime in December, so I don’t have anything to decorate in November! But I promise to do all of the rest!! I will, I will, I WILL!!!

  12. L says:

    I do hate you right now, but I’ll get over it. Okay, I’ll give it a try…

  13. Glenda says:

    Ugh. I had already been gloating for a day recently when I picked two pounds of wild rose hips to dry for homemade tea sachets for holiday gifts. “Look at me! I’m going to have half my gifts ready in October!” Then I made a bad decision at 3:00am (surprise!) when I checked on them drying in the oven. They looked like I could leave them for four hours, rather than the two I had planned on when I wasn’t sleep-walking. I went to bed and woke to two big trays of rock hard black rose hips. Soooo sad.

    So, it’s back to the drawing board. Count me in. I need the kick for renewed enthusiasm. Thanks Karen!

    • Glenda Mountain Rose Herbs has lovely rose hips for a fair price, if you still want to go that route 🙂

    • Ruth hirsch says:

      Glenda: bumbumbummmmmmmerrrrr……..

      maybe simply write a note explaining with a cartoon and give that. Hey, next year everyone could follow your lead and give ‘Good Intentions’

      me, I may write a whole Comment.
      this makes sense. starting now seems good
      Off the hook:
      we do not do xmas.
      It is a thing since it is the dominant culture.
      but not ours.
      and while I like the light, which I of course do, we basically pass on decorating, etc……..

  14. Jennie Lee says:

    I advise readers to decide: do you want a real Christmasy Christmas? If so, do what Karen said. If not, have a not-really-much-of-a-Christmas like me. ‘S up to you.

  15. JulieD says:

    I’m in! This is the first year I’ve committed to it. I had to substitute “a belly full of leftover halloween snickers” in my pledge though.

  16. Nancy Blue Moon says:


  17. I’m full in and ready to rock ‘n roll, but will juggle a few days an put up my outside lights (but will NOT light them) when Indian Summer strikes…which may be at the end of this week.

  18. Cindy G says:

    Okay, I’ll give it a go! I’m heading south for Christmas, but have an annual party to attend before I do. Plus co-workers to think about. It would be nice to less stressed come December!

  19. kiera says:

    Yup. I’m in.

  20. billie scara says:

    ok i’m ahead of you i have nearly everything bought that am giving(whew) just the few men and teen boys 4 actually 2 of each easy already picked just have to order and figure out how to wrap they go under the little tree in the dinig room. being diabled more than slightly putting up decorations will take me much longer than most as will xmas cars due ti heavy meds lol,but my plan is very close to yours otherwise , sort of but its a plan , love and blessings and happy christmas.

    • Karen says:

      As long as it’s a plan you’ll be fine. And if things get stressful and upsetting the heavy meds might just help. 🙂 ~ karen!

  21. chamekke says:

    This is great! I’m in too! *high-fives everyone*

    Am I missing something re: the Christmas Pledge Facebook Group, though? The ‘link’ doesn’t actually seem to go anywhere. Hmm…

    • Karen says:

      It does Chamekke. Or it should. A pop up should come up where you enter your email address so I can send you reminders and then it takes you immediately to the Facebook group. Not working for you for some reason? Try opening my page in a different browser maybe. I know it works with Safari. ~ karen!

  22. Paula says:

    Looks great in theory…I just have to finish planting my conifers, raking the leaves, take down the tomato supports, etc. I know…I am slightly behind.

  23. Wendi Miller says:

    UGH, just thinking about doing this makes me nauseous, but…….I’m gonna give it a try this year!

  24. MaggieB says:

    Hi Karen

    Already signed up, but the PDF has obviously completely freaked out, unless of course its just me and it’s projecting my freaking outyness. I clicked on the calendar above and I got a monochromatic block dance.

  25. Catherine says:

    I’ll give it a try, though, it’s hard to get the Christmas spirit working when it’s still sunny and in the mid-80’s. I’m not sure the husband can be cajoled into the attic yet either.

  26. Jenny W says:

    Ok, I’m in with both feet!
    I already ordered my first gift from Amazon last night 🙂 Yesterday I got the Christmas outdoor decor organized in the garage after I put away Fall/Halloween, and I believe I already know how I’m going to decorate the inside this year.
    BUT, I still have to paint and redecorate my son’s room so it will be ready for him when he comes home for Christmas from the Army. I was not going to host my huge extended family Christmas Dinner this year, but he is so excited to see everyone, that I already put the word out. Did I mention that I decorate about 12 homes for the Holidays along with my own?
    I Love Christmas – Maybe I will actually Enjoy it this year. Can it be done Karen? Really?
    Can it really be done, Karen? Really?

  27. Maureen Locke says:

    Oh dear… I hummed and hawed and tried to figure a way of justifying not doing this but it just makes sense. Come Dec I’ll be working six days a week, so I’ll be so thankful that I took this pledge. On that note…. I’m in. Wish me luck. I’m not the most organized person on the face of the earth. :p

  28. Catt in Kentucky says:

    Love this post. For the last few days we have been cleaning up the garden for it’s winter nap, polishing silver, sorting Christmas lights for the porch and marking cookie recipes for gift giving. The windows and French doors have been washed. Declutteted. The rustic pots, soil and paperwhite bulbs are lined up on the screened-in porch ready for planting in cycles…I will start a few today.

    The boxes of antique bulbs and glass garlands will be brought down from the attic today. We started listening to Christmas music yesterday. I finally found a table top tree that looks substantial and real and it is on a large round table ready to be adorned. Freshly cut trees have been our habit but they just don’t last long enough.

    Lots to do but we plan to be finished inside and out by the middle of the month. We are retired, busy with volunteer work but will spend several full days on decorating. We are having lots of fun getting ready for Christmas!

  29. Phyllis Phipps says:

    Took the pledge. Looking forward to the 14th. That will be the “adult” version of eggnog here!!

  30. Sandra Lea says:

    I’m in for the pledge. The line for clicking on the calendar to make it larger and easier to read would have been helpful if it came BEFORE the calendar. Didn’t see it until I was done squinting to read every square of it.

  31. Carrie Miller says:

    Are you sure you aren’t possessed by my late mother? She always made a grid of names and potential gifts every year around this time, and started gradually buying them. Part of her reason was budgeting, I think, but she was also a very organized woman.
    My personal calendar will be a bit different because we travel from PA to Florida every year, but it starts now!
    And I ordered the first gift on my list last week and it arrived on Sunday – does that put me a little ahead of schedule?

  32. Kathryn says:

    I am happy that I decided a few years ago not to do gifts anymore (no kids). I did have 18 people over for dinner last Christmas eve, but other than renting chairs and cooking more food it wasn’t a big deal. They filled up the space and made it cheerful. This year I’m moving to a much smaller house December 1st, so we have to find some other place to make a big meal and be happy to see each other.

  33. Melissa says:

    I, Melissa…. I’m with ya!! As soon as we blew out the pumpkins Monday night I pulled out my new outdoor Christmas light I bought that day to test it out! Too early?

  34. You’re so much fun! Thanks!

  35. Lisa says:

    Great idea. I always say I am going to get things done earlier.
    I never do. I try.
    I was going to check my Christmas lights out last month. Nope. Still in the shed.
    My dad has always called me Last Minute Lisa. Maybe this year I will surprise him.
    Thanks for the boost!

  36. I’m in! And this gives me incentive… I’m in a temporary rental while we renovate our “forever” home and this will make my temp home feel like “home”… And I’ve got a head start on gifts – I bought some stuff on sale in October for my boys!

    And I’m going to pencil in the 2 cases of wine thing!!!

  37. mbaker says:

    Joke’s on you! I start getting ready for Christmas in August. I have all but two of my presents bought. I have my stocking stuffers as well… all but the food items. I try to wait the longest possible to do those in the hopes of procuring the freshest of candy. People say I’m crazy, but then when they’re over budget and frazzled they all wish they were me. Suckers!

  38. Ellen in Illinois says:

    Nope!! My family and I don’t do a darn thing for the holidays and it is wonderful!! Once you try it….impossible to go back to making a big fuss about it.

    But I will still read your blog.

  39. Kari in Dallas says:

    I am in! Let the games begin!

  40. Deb says:

    I already feel like we are running late this year as Lainey Liu announced yesterday on “the Social” that she already had her Christmas shopping done?

  41. Karen B. says:

    I think this is a great idea and I encourage it to keep my husband from having a meltdown. The only things I change are shopping for gifts and ordering online – I do these tasks the week of US Thanksgiving and on Cyber Monday to get the best deals. (Notice I did NOT say Black Friday…who needs that chaos?)

    • Alex Nett says:

      I agree with this! I have made my exact list and stalked my online items.

      I host Christmas Eve with an open house so I made a list of all my bulk/ costco items I can buy in advance and will add that to the calendar so I am only getting perishables the week of.

      My other tip for doing this is to make your December calendar with all the fun things you will be doing so that getting this stuff out of the way feels like freedom:)

  42. Steenas says:

    This strategy could work … if I had prepared for Thanksgiving in October. Now November is devoted to ironing table linens, making/freezing soups, and moving clutter from the guest bedroom to other corners of the house. At the risk of provoking a verbal food fight, I offer this humble suggestion: Maybe next year you could do a combination Thanksgiving/Christmas pledge?

  43. Jennifer Aakre says:

    I started my list a while ago, and I love the Christmas season. I am so in.

  44. Amie Melnychuk says:

    I am always in. This year especially because we are doing my family Christmas in Manitoba the first weekend of December!

    People raise eyebrows when December 5 comes along every year and I say, I’m done. It’s just the tree we get in December, now.

  45. rina says:

    Hi Karen Thanks for a great idea. For many of the readers who work in retail, it is not always the most wonderful time of the year .Retail is the killer of he Christmas spirit, but following this calendar will keep me in check and on time, ( wine will help too especially after a shift.) Thanks again.

    • Erin says:

      So true, Rina!
      I’m two years out of retail after 17 years, and I still have a hard time putting on the Christmas spirit. Maybe this will be the year? Best wishes -and enjoy the wine

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Oh Rina, I hear ya! I did retail for only 5 years in a business that for the most part had genuinely nice customers who liked being in the store. But Christmas at times was truly appalling. It’s unbelievable how badly people behave towards minimum wage workers. I think it should be mandatory that everyone must have a retail job once in their lives to fully appreciate it. A glass of wine in a hot tub works wonders!

  46. Maria says:

    This calendar converted the Grinch in me a few years ago. I swear by it!

  47. Karin in NC says:

    Also in the “love it” group. Although I have not seen your pledge before (relatively new around here), I have been doing exactly this – all of it – for YEARS. So far this year I have one of my two daughters completely done and the other and both of their spouses will be by this weekend. Still trolling pinterest for gift ideas for my guy, but I’m confident I will have that done by the end of November, too. I buy the stocking stuffers through out the year, so yeah. Another thing that saves me a lot of time is that several years ago I, along with my siblings and their families, decided to stop getting gifts for each other and spend the money on our favorite local charities in their names. Everyone, especially the charities, loves it. Win-win. So a long winded way to say I am completely on board here!

  48. LisaS says:

    I, Lisa, of semi-sound mind, that really is only half awake because I need more coffee, do solemnly swear to at least try to get this shit done! WOOT! Every year I get a little better! This is the year!

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