Yooooo hooooo.  I’m just tucked over here in between the couch and the sofa table in my safe place.  You of course can’t see it, but I’m wearing a hockey mask, 14 dinner rolls as a hat, mittens and steel toed boots.  Why the get up? Well #1, it’s super-cute.  And #2,  it’s the most adequate protection I could scrounge up last minute.

Today, you see, is the day I broach the most controversial of all subjects on The Art of Doing Stuff.  Today I announce it’s time to take The Christmas Pledge.


The Christmas PledgeWHAPPP!!

Ha!  See?  Those dinner rolls came in handy.  That shoe one of you threw bounced right off my forehead. No damage at all.

I realize that October might seem a tiny bit early to start preparing for a holiday that isn’t until the end of December. And I couldn’t agree more.  It’s ludicrous and I would never suggest you do such a thing.  That’s why the pledge doesn’t start for another 2 days.  Which is November.  Which is an entirely different thing altogether.  Once we hit November, Christmas is just around the corner basically and if you don’t pledge to start getting ready for it now your December is going to be miserable. It’ll be filled with baking and sloshing and looking for parking spots at the mall, which inevitably leads to high blood pressure, fist fights and more often than not incarceration.  You know it’s true.

On November 10th, 2011, I introduced the very first Christmas Pledge on The Art of Doing Stuff.  It was originally called The Christmas Challenge and it was a bit loosey goosey compared to how it is now, but the sentiment was there.  Get shit done.  Now.

Every year I hear the same thing from Americans. BUT NOVEMBER IS WHEN WE HAVE THANKSGIVING.

I know. Buck up.  Take it like a champ.  I’ve given you a few hours of free time so you can eat your turkey and show off your stretch marks.

The rest of the month is devoted to accomplishing one or two small holiday related things every day.  Make cookie dough, decide on presents, drink wine.  You can handle that can’t you?    I knew you could.  I will walk you through step by step, every single day.  I have compiled all the things the average person has to get done and tends to put off every holiday season into one handy calendar.  Actually it’s more of a dated list this year.  All you have to do is follow along with it.  It could not be any easier.

For the rest of you, who aren’t ready, willing and able to take the Christmas Pledge, for those of you sneering and laughing and pointing a finger know THIS;  you can do what you want, but the rest of us, the pledge takers will be spending December carelessly floating around, suspended by gold thread from flying angels.  We will have so few worries in December that we will be weightless. We will be made of powdered sugar and kisses.  YOU?  You on the other hand will be posting bail.

Ready to do it?

Here’s this year’s Christmas Pledge calendar.  Memorize it.




Click here for a 2 page printout of The Christmas Pledge.

Do you think you can handle it?  Is everyone calmed down now? Can I take the buns off?

If you’re ready to commit to a calm December and a slightly harried but not completely insane November … take the pledge. There are no legal obligations (that I’m bound to reveal to you), no payments, no nothin’.

There is a private Christmas Pledge Facebook Group you can join to help motivate you. It’s great for sharing ideas and looking for inspiration.  Ready to take the pledge?

To show you’ve taken the pledge, just comment below with a simple “I’m taking the pledge!”.  Don’t forget to join the private Art of Doing Stuff Christmas Pledge Facebook group if you think that’ll be helpful for you and print out the pledge.

O.K. Give your virtual signature NOW.


  1. Waiting for the 26 to decorate is quite late :/ I’m Canadian, thanksgiving here is already over, I won’t wait till that late to decorate ahah

  2. Melissa says:

    I might modify your list just a bit (and probably do some things out of order), but after all the years I’ve read your blog, it’s time to cowboy up and get it done!

    I’m in!

    P.S. I never finished prettying up my flower garden bed (and submitting photos to you), so I hope I can still join this party of inspiration, with that… …um, ‘blemish’ on my record.

  3. Erika Jarden says:

    Ah, what the hell. I’m taking the pledge but starting it after this weekend.

    Look, I worked a 15 weekend season at Bristol, then strike, had a week off and then did two weekend renaissance fairs, a Harry Potter festival, my wedding anniversary / Halloween party and this weekend is a sold out steampunk convention, where I dress Victorian and serve tea for 4 days. I. Need. Sleep.

    So next week. Promise.

    • Karen says:

      But tonight is just get takeout and put on your pajamas to browse Pinterest. Surely you can do that! C’mon … we’re all doing it. ;) ~karen!

      • Erika Jarden says:

        Started the pledge a bit late but here we go! My husband is less excited than I am, mostly because he gets to haul the boxes. 😊

  4. Leigh Meyer says:

    I have finally tucked in three sugar hyped kids into bed and can finally admit there is a November. Given that I’d like to enjoy my December, I’m in!

  5. Lauren says:

    I have been the one throwing shoes the last few years, so sorry about that, but the rolls ARE cute and effective!

    This year I’m giving in. I’m ready, I’m motivated, and looking forward to relaxed rum ball fairies free from stress come the last half of December. I’m taking the pledge!

  6. Roxanne says:

    I’m in and I’m taking your pledge. I live in Northern Ontario so every year my first job in November is to get the Christmas lights up on the house. The shrubs and inflatables can be done a little later but I prefer not being up on the ladder in a snow storm. Lol

  7. Meg says:

    I’m taking the pledge!

    Hooray!! I was SOOOOOOO waiting for this. I have taken the pledge probably several years now, so I was starting on my *own* this year, like some kind of organized person. (hysterical cackling laughter) I mean, maybe I *am* becoming more organized because of repeated Xmas pledges?

    It’s actually probably because of that AND the fact I need to be extra on the ball this year. We moved home to help my boyfriend’s Dad out after his Mom died, and his Dad is kind of anti-Christmas now. So I’m hoping I can be super on the ball this year with a little help from The Pledge and maybe some extra (extra) rum in my egg nog, and slowly ramp our resident geezer into the Christmas spirit.

  8. Kathleen says:

    Doing it!!

  9. Kathleen says:

    Doing it!

  10. Kristen C. says:

    I’m taking the pledge! And I have been enjoying your blog!!!

  11. Miriam says:

    I am taking the pledge!

  12. Kristina says:

    I am just catching my breath after our five weeks of walnut harvest ended on Saturday. I am up at my cabin in the Sierras (with new wi-fi -woot! Modern conveniences come late to these parts), but I think I can just about manage Pinterest to get me started on day 1. Let’s see how this pledge goes…. I’ll surely end up coming out ahead, anyway. Thanks for organizing it.

  13. Suzie Oliver says:

    I am taking the pledge! Bring on Day 18!

  14. Connie says:

    I have 3 trees already done & 7 to go. Plus my village. My goal is always to be ready by Dec 1st so that I can enjoy Dec & not have to do anything. Then I take it all down by Jan 31st. I love Christmas!!!

  15. Tres says:

    I’m in! In fact, I am ahead of the game this year. All the Christmas cards are done and awaiting the day before Thanksgiving to put in the post. I have purchased and wrapped about 50% of my gifts and I know what I am getting for the other 1/2 of the family!

  16. Adrienne says:

    Newbie, but I am so in.

  17. Sandra Blackwell says:

    No Way! The rule at my house for decorations….NOT til after my Birthday on December 6. And they come down before my daughter’s birthday on New Years Eve.

    Besides, I work retail…I have been dealing with christmas crap since June.

  18. Sabina says:

    I’m in, again!

  19. Eh, we’re going on a dive trip for most of December (scuba). We’ll be in tropical waters, in foreign countries ignoring the holidays completely. Perfect.

  20. Jen says:

    Taking the pledge!

  21. SusanR says:

    I’m in, and I’ve already got half the list done. I mean half the Christmas pledge. I’ve already got all of the presents, save for one that’s coming from Norway that’s on its way. I cleaned up the card list today, and it will only take 15 minutes to address all of the envelopes because I use clear large labels that have room for the return address on them, so it’s just a matter of plugging in my label printer and printing them off, then pasting them on the envelopes. Writing an individualized personal note on each card will take a little longer.

    New LED Christmas lights arrived yesterday. Decorations are in a single large container in an easy to reach place out in the garage, including the cards purchased on sale the day after Christmas last year. No parties this year. All ingredients for cookies already acquired and ready to be mixed together to be frozen. Cookies will be butter, with a fresh, whole pecan pressed into the middle, sugar cookies and molasses cookies.

    We don’t do a tree anymore, we just buy a HUGE poinsettia plant from Costco, place it prominently in the living room, and put the presents around it. I have a small battery-operated led white light set that I will work throughout the leaves and stems. It looks beautiful.

    I’ve been emotionally ready for Christmas since August.

  22. Pats says:

    I’m in. I’m hoping it will reduce my stress levels.

    • Kathleen Aberley says:

      I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Pats. All the more reason for me to make the most of what I have. Hugs and Blessings to you.

  23. Tasha says:

    We are in! Again. It is what gives my husband joy, as he generally is a Grinch. This year, most of the presents need to be done by Nov. 15, so he’s been talking about it for 6 weeks already. I modify a few things, to fit with my life (decorations go up after Dec. 8, husband’s birthday), but generally it is all set by Dec. 1.

  24. Gael says:

    I’m taking the plunge! Er, pledge!

  25. Jennifer says:

    I’m in again. I’ve almost bought Christmas cards twice so far (I keep deferring because I have to check if I did or did not buy some on sale at the end of season last year) and kept thinking this post would be up soon.

  26. Shanelle says:

    Like a total weirdo I have been stalking your blog for the past 2 days praying that this day would come. We own and operate a Christmas tree farm (as a hobby, like a bunch of psychopaths) and I would totally not make it through November and December without this pledge. Thank you for this!!

  27. Pippa says:

    I’m taking the pledge… 2nd timer so I know what a genius and, at the same time, ridiculous idea it is… Thanks, Karen!

  28. Teresa says:

    I opened the email and saw the topic and heard someone keening in the corner “Nooooooo” and then reliazed it was it me. I opened the laptop again and saw that Karen was still protected by buns so I will have to bide my time. (She will never see it coming…)

    Then I’ll print up the list so I can continue to check it and say “uh, nope, haven’t done that yet….”

  29. Lisa O. says:

    God help me, I’m taking the Pledge! It’s my first time, so that means I get to drink even if it’s not listed in the day’s tasks, right? :-)

  30. I’m taking the pledge again! Love it to bits!

  31. Mary-Jane says:

    I love this! I’m taking the pledge. 1st timer.

  32. DubiousPleasure says:

    I’m taking the pledge!

  33. Heather says:

    I am taking the pledge – again! This is the motivation I need. Thank you for keeping us on task!

  34. Kris says:

    I’m cheating a little this year – We’re living with my parents, and our house isn’t going to be sold until 12/15. We won’t be in our new house (which we haven’t picked yet) until sometime after that date. So I’m skipping all decoration related things – because my parents are in charge of that at their house, and frankly, with all of us there, there is no room for a tree. So I get to ignore those boxes or I may mark them N/A. :D

  35. Pat K says:

    Every year I am so hopeful that “this year will be different” & I will have everything done in advance for Christmas- but no, it never happens. I believe in Karen’s super organizational abilities as she manages to get so much done so I am admitting that I can not do it alone. So in desperation I will attempt the Christmas Pledge this year!

  36. Noreen McKechnie says:

    Oh heavens above, can l,will I, should I whose main achievement is having a gingerbread house building party the last week of November actually try and join this group of dedicated Christmas makers? It might just be a good idea! I’m in!

  37. Adele says:

    Will be taking the pledge again this year. Last year was a first and even though I didn’t get everything done by the end of November it made for a much more relaxed December anyway.

    Given that I will be away the last week of November (I won a cruise!) it will be even more important for me to be as organized as possible beforehand.

  38. Snugster says:

    I’m taking the pledge!

  39. Safetydog says:

    I am taking the pledge, again! Already have several things checked off, and since the immediate family is taking a trip in lieu of gifts, my tasks are that much easier.

  40. Paula F. says:

    Wha…? October is over? How did that happen…

    Pullin’ myself up by my boot straps now. Gonna do it!

  41. I am taking the pledge! Thank you, Karen.

  42. Louise says:

    I joined in for the first time last year and it really helped. I’m a bah humbug kind of person but decided getting it overwith was the way to go. I was right my December was a much happier month so I’m definitely in.

  43. Jeannette says:

    I’m signing up for the pledge. Even if I only accomplish one or two items in Nov, that will put me ahead of where I usually am right before Christmas. I want my December to be full of carols, cookies, church activities, family fun & floating around on a golden thread–not full of stress. Thanks, Karen!

  44. Lori says:

    I’m in – again. We travel for the holidays so I adapt the pledge where needed, but I love to get everything done and actually enjoy the season!

  45. Jennifer Kirksey says:

    Love this Karen!!!! Thank you for keeping me organized and getting stuff done!!!!! You are the BESTEST!!!

  46. Sue Givens says:

    As my brilliant self scheduled a smallish surgery the Tuesday before Christmas, I’m taking the pledge. I’m already stressing about getting it all done.

  47. Verity Freemont says:

    I joined the pledge

  48. karen too says:

    “Ugh, ugh, ugh! Sign me up,” she said, reluctantly.

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