Take the Christmas Pledge With Me

I Karen, being of sound mind and body, (except for an occasional dagger-like pain in my eyeball from a migraine) hereby declare I am going to be completely and totally organized for Christmas by December 4th.

That gives me exactly one month to get everything done.

By everything, I mean by December 4th I want all of my presents bought, the house decorated and all my Christmas cards completed and sent out.  That leaves pretty much the entire month of December to actually enjoy the festive, holiday season as opposed to cursing it and everyone associated with it.

I should let you know, I have this thought in my head every year, but never actually commit to it.

So here and now, in front of blog and everyone, I am committing to attaining this goal.

Here’s the schedule …

November 5th – November 30th – Buy presents, put lights up outside, do outdoor Christmas planters.

December 1st – 2nd – Decorate inside of house.

December 3rd – 4th – Fill out Christmas cards.

December 5th – 31st – Enjoy festive holiday season.  Maybe get drunk or take on a new and exciting lover.  Who knows.  There’s a world of possibilities.

Every year by the time the middle of December comes around, I’m thinking …. I’ll never get everything done, I hate this, this is stupid, I haven’t even baked a gingerbread man, why did I buy my mother a set of  boxing gloves, who knew a parking lot could actually cause my blood pressure to rise to the point of my ears bleeding?  And then I’m officially overwhelmed, I pop a Gravol and  crawl into a corner to nap.

I’ve been known to become violent throughout it all and once almost ripped a cashier’s arm out of her socket when she told me after spending $350, I’d have to PAY for a box if I wanted one.  Since then I’ve taken to calling the holiday season, Dismember December.

My hope is to make this the most relaxing, enjoyable Christmas season ever.  I challenge you to do the same.

I, Karen, being of sound mind and body, challenge you the readers, to a Done by December duel.  Are you up for it?  You can totally apply this method to Hanukkah or Kwanza or whatever other holiday you celebrate that seems to last for a month.

We can do this if we encourage each other as opposed to trying to run over each other in the parking lots.

I will be keeping you updated as to my progress and I trust you will do the same.  Come December 5th I plan to be full of Christmas cheer,  standing smack dab in the middle of the mall handing out free boxes.



  1. Christina says:

    Can’t even begin to process Christmas although some stores already have decorations up. It makes me insane and I refuse to join in. No Christmas until after Thanksgiving! This post made me come up with my own pledge:
    The Christmas season begins on black Friday and I’m not doing a d*%& thing before then.
    Best of luck to the rest of you!

  2. Sara says:

    I’m due to have a baby November 27th, so all my gifts, but my hubby’s, are purchased and half are wrapped. Yippee! I also plan (hope) pre-baby to make freezer pumpkin butter to have to pull out for teachers and other random people who might like a gift. The decorating…I may just let my mom, hubby and son do it while I sit on the couch feeding a newborn. My mother-in-law already offered to do the baking and cooking. So all that’s left is to fill the Netflix queue with Christmas movies. this year I’m saying cards-shmards. If I know you and you aren’t getting a gift, read your holiday greeting on my FB status update. Yay!

  3. Kate M says:

    I’m with Christina on this one. It sounds like a good way to get everything done, but I just cannot even think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving (except starting the occasional present-making venture). Looks like it’s the same ol’ cramming it into a month for me!

  4. Ahnnie says:

    Karen, you crack me up.
    (You do realize though, that you just transferred “Dismember December to “Nasty November?”)

  5. Kate says:

    What an AWESOME pledge. I’m in. Guess that means I have to start getting things together…like now.

    • Karen says:

      Kate – If you’re a member of The Art of Doing Stuff Facebook Fanpage, I’m giving lists of what to get done. This weekend for instance, your mission is to write out a list of everyone you have to give a present to and what you’re going to give them. Also, browse Etsy and Pinterest for gift ideas to make or buy. 🙂 Go! ~ karen

  6. Brandi says:

    I totally with you Karen!…especially the idea of possibly takin on a new and exciting lover after the 5th!!!

  7. corporate interior design says:

    Sounds like a great plan:)

  8. Julia says:

    I have so much Christmas cheer that it irritates the people around me… I started in on the music BEFORE HALLOWEEN. It’s sick, wrong, and I love it. In fact… I MAY have already made four homemade brownie mixes to give people, as well as ten frozen mini pies, and am infusing vodka for two handles’ worth of limoncello. All for Christmas gifts.

    I either need a slap on the head, or for all you other twisted, addicted elves to help me get lights on the porch ASAP…

  9. Nancy says:

    I will seriously try for this goal Karen..although I will have to battle daily with my nasty evil procrastination gene…Good Luck to everyone!!!

  10. Amanda says:

    I wrapped all of my christmas gifts yesterday! Other then the plants I will be giving…of course those have to be last minute. Next week I will be doing all the decorating, and then from there I just sit and enjoy! Oh and of course, the baking!! I will be doing that on Dec 1st!! I am 155% on board with this pledge!! I do this every year and I don’t even have to go to the mall or in stores the month of Dec. I’m not stressed ever about Christmas shopping and I love that!!

  11. Laura says:

    I am in. I want to bake and lounge and socialize and have fun during December too!

  12. Elysia says:

    Love this! I’m in! Jump me into the gang, just leave the face alone please, lol 😉 ok, your on like Donkey Kong! Oh, better get off this computer, get rid of this migraine and get going!!

  13. Susan says:

    I am inspired Karen!! Can do, will do!!! I really feel that we have bonded over this post!

  14. Karalee says:

    I pledge to Christmas Cheer. I am excited to see all that I can get done this month!

  15. Laura says:

    Holy Shit! okay….

  16. Chau says:

    I’m with you Karen, although I’ve been known for broken pledge due to unforeseen reason, LOL. And believe me there are many unforeseen reasons out there that cause me to panic, freak out and out-of-controlled. An organized and talented person like yourself get crazy during the holiday, what chance do I, with all my humble being, get to avoid that?

  17. Mel says:

    Signed!! I’ve already purchased all my gifts, so all that’s left is a lot of knitting, making Christmas cards and decorating! I love doing things ahead of time so I can actually enjoy December and all the wonderful things going on during the holiday season! 🙂

  18. Cricket says:

    I am definitely IN! I’ve got a good start already, and the kids always force my husband to haul out the tree and proceed to strew ornaments everywhere on Black Friday, so they have that covered. My biggest stumbling block is always the cards. I need to make that my top priority.

  19. kerry says:

    i’m so in. seems every year i put things off until the last minute and last year i didn’t even put up a tree! it’s going up before thanksgiving this year. two gifts down…

  20. Dionne Trifiro says:

    Love your commitment to the impossible …wishful thinking, I’ll sy YAY and forget about it as my two noisy 1&2nd graders come slamming through the door hungry ….plus I have a headache that seems to be very attached to my right temple.
    Oh what the hell, I sound like Scrooge I’ll give it a go…
    When did you say it ended I mean starting or has it started already, am I late?

    😉 love your blog! *HEART*

  21. Evalyn says:

    This sounded like a great plan until I remembered I live in the USA and we still have Thanksgiving to hurdle before we can begin the December Debacle. I love Thanksgiving. It has no gift giving, it has food, and pie, and (not for me, thank you) football, and pie. It all happens in one day and then it’s done. And it has pie. Then December happens, the password is changed to BUY, and everyone goes insane. I can’t wait for the soul-cleanse of New Year’s where the Debris of December is heaped on a bon-fire and sent to hell with fireworks. Only then can I enjoy my long winter’s nap, after more pie.

  22. Shauna says:

    I buy most things online thereby avoiding parking lots, lines and most importantly people – those dreaded people;) I avoid sending out Christmas cards by sending out New Years cards instead. I never, however, avoid decorating. Any chance to decorate and I’m there. You can do it Karen, if anyone can, it’s you.

  23. Holiday says:

    Well, I’m typically very, very organized about Christmas, but I don’t think I can decorate that early. My tree would be so dry by Christmas the pine needles would be more on the floor than the tree. But, i can commit to the rest. I typically start holiday shopping in August and am 90% done by Dec, 1st. So really, not a problem. It’s so much saner that way. No crowds, the leisure to price-shop, and when I wrap it all it’s like rediscovering lost treasures!

    • Karen says:

      Holiday – I should have noted that I normally have 3 or so Christmas trees, but only one of them is real. I always get that one the middle weekend of December, so I’ll have that to do. But I enjoy it, so it won’t be a nightmare. ~ karen!

    • Kim says:

      Holiday- When I was growing up we always put up our tree the day after American Thanksgiving and it lasted until well after Christmas. The key is to go to a farm where you can cut your own, if possible, and get it into water immediately. If you don’t live in a region with cut-your-own Christmas tree farms, the next best this is to be sure to cut off a few inches of the trunk just before putting it in water. This removes the part of the trunk that sealed up during its long journey from the farm to your living room, and will allow the tree to drink up all the water it needs. Hope this helps!

  24. Shauna says:

    what is going on with your comments may I ask? Not only do I love to read what you write, but I also love to read the comments. Both yesterday and today, only one comment is showing up. Yesterday, more showed up after I commented, but not today. I can only get one comment to show up today. I went to yesterday’s post – holy cow 612 comments!! But, only like 4 are showing up. Even when I click on the link for the comments above, I don’t see them. How do I know if you responded to me if I can’t even see my comment and I love to read all the great comments from people and your replies. You have such witty readers.

  25. Ginny says:

    Since everyone is getting home baked goodies this year I will not have to go to the mall. Yea! I already have a list of people that get cards (with their address), stamps and a list of people I give gifts. I do need to buy some new cards so there’s that. My wreath from last year is ready to go. Hey, I may actually be able to do this pledge.

  26. kate says:

    This is a good plan! I’ll join with you and whoever else would like to do this. Even though I still have Thanksgiving a head of me, i only make the pies (2) nowadays. My pledge will be a little different – I vow to be ready by the 7th, since we have 2 potlucks and 2 open houses to attend the weekend of 3-4. I’ll start by telling you I did some Chrismas shopping yesterday and got a few other gifts in early October. –BUT – they are still in their store bags and not wrapped and some need to ship out of state, so that is on my list. One thing I do not do: I do not go to malls; I shop small stores locally owned and operated or even drug or grocery store. I look forward to being inspired and inspiring!!

  27. Lynn says:

    I’ve already started planning in my planner! I won’t be able to be completely done by December 4th as

    1. we will be in LA celebrating a friend’s birthday and

    2.every year I bake up a storm of cookies to send with the gifts, but I have a plan to be sending gifts out by Dec 17th so the cookies are not stale by xmas. Sure people still eat them, (who turns away a delicious cookie??) but I’d like them to be freshly baked too.

    if the baking is all I have left tho it will be tons of fun and a super easy holiday season.

  28. Karen B. says:

    I’m a new follower, but I feel like we are something close to soul sisters. I will take the pledge…but I will break it. Honestly, I spend most of December hating Christmas and stay up all night Christmas eve wondering if everyone else will be happy in the morning. Meanwhile, I am exhausted, fried and tired of the whole thing. Then something magical happens on Christmas night…I realize I’m done…the burden is lifted…I can enjoy it. So for a brief few days, while they are still playing a few Christmas songs on the radio, and before the decor comes down, I enjoy the season and feel the Spirit and eat fudge. Dec. 26th is the best!!!

  29. nikki@kreative knack says:

    I Nikki being of sound mind and body, accept your challenge! Can’t wait to try this…I promise I’ll give it my all 🙂

  30. Erin Hall {i can craft that} says:

    Hey Karen I am totally pumped for Christmas and was re reading some of your last years posts and getting inspiration from your decorating. I was just wondering if you remembered where you got those acrylic/glass risers/blocks from that you had a reindeer on and pine cones on? Also that large glass reindeer. its so elegant. I find that most of the ones I have seen so far are….. awkward and freeky

    • Karen says:

      Erin – The glass risers are from The Bombay Company, but they only carried them for one season. I bought about 7 or 8 of them, gave some as gifts and kept some myself. The acrylic reindeer is quite popular. Several stores in Canada carried it last season and the season before. I got mine at Terra Nurseries for 70% off at the end of the season 2 years ago. It was something like $150 regular! ~ karen

  31. Diana @ frontyardfoodie says:

    Ummmm yeah, that is SHEER genius. I’m totally going to do this too. TOTALLY. I am totally not joking, my mind is blown right now.

  32. Ashlyn says:

    Ummmm…It sounds great but I’m a procrastinator…Let’s say, I’ll try 😉

  33. Nicole says:

    Challenge accepted. And as of today, 3 gifts are done.

  34. Jaclyn says:

    As absurd as it sounds, I actually put my tree up this evening & hung the ornaments… I know, I have lost my mind. My nutcrackers are out (it’s a growing collection) & I am on my way to an enjoyable holiday. I accept your challenge. LOL

    • Karen says:

      Jaclyn – Yup. That does sound a tad absurd. Although my mother is putting up her tree in a week or so because she’s having company. Ya do what ya gotta do I guess. 🙂 ~ karen

  35. Angela says:

    I’m in! I already have most of my shopping done, with just a few gifts left for the in-laws and new babies. The most difficult thing is going to be finally making my hubby a homemade stocking, he’s been using a *gasp* store-bought stocking since we got married and my daughter and i have stockings that my mom made for us. The hubby has a GIANT work event in the second week of Dec, so it would be great for us to be fully prepped before then!

    And due to that damn work event, my first Christmas party is November 29. Ick.

  36. pve says:

    I just felt the first “Christmas hive or bug” yesterday, that itch, that panic of feeling like it is a darn race. I will take your pledge, but only if I can savor the spirit of Christmas and open my heart to others.

  37. Caroline says:

    I too pledge to have every thing done (except decorating my real tree) by the first week of December and I am adding a pledge to spend less on stupid things and give more meaningfull gifts (I am giving chickens, goats and mango trees to third world countries through Plan Canada to most of my family and donating to the local foodbank as well)
    Here’s to making Christmas enjoyable and stress free!!

    • Gillian says:

      I love the idea of giving more meaningful gifts. We do it at work instead of Secret Santa (everyone puts in some money and we pay for a well or something).

      For those who don’t “get” the concept that I’m giving a goat on their behalf I try to give an “experience” rather than something physical – for example a ticket to go abseiling, or to the theatre.

      When I’m being super lazy or busy or brain dead I give magazine subscriptions appropriate to people’s hobbies. Everyone seems to like that.

  38. michelle says:

    karen? when do you plan to wrap gifts? you didn’t schedule it!


    • Karen says:

      Michelle – Everything I actually *enjoy* doing, I’m not scheduling. I like to wrap presents! So … probably the 1st week in December will be present wrapping time. 🙂 2nd week in December is real tree trimming time. ~ karen!

  39. Ellen says:

    I’ll give it a good try. It’s complicated for me by the fact that the next 2 weeks are full with setting up & tidying up after the biggest rummage sale in my city. But on the plus side, most gifts will be bought by the end of next week, so I might be able to make it if I do a little planning….All except the baking & food prep, sigh, which is a huge job, cuz no one else in my circle cooks.

  40. Jen says:

    I did quite a bit of Christmas shopping this weekend…and I got this “wouldn’t it be great…” feeling, anticipating actually being ready this year ahead of time. I will take your pledge…and see what happens.

  41. Stéphanie says:

    I’ll give it a try, hoping this year november and december won’t be a nightmare (all the members of my familly, me, hubby and kid included, are born in october, november and december, it’s double punishement!)
    But thanks, you give me energy at least!

  42. Cindy Marlow says:

    Since I’m newly retired, one would think that I would be looking forward to going all out this holiday season. Yet, NO! I’ve decided that the ‘no hassle’ holiday is the only way to go. Therefore, I’ve made Thanksgiving reservations at the beautiful Mimslyn Inn in Luray, Virginia for my family. This day will include a trip through the famed Skyline Drive ending at the Inn. Christmas, too, will be simple. I’ve been gifted with a ticket to Southern California and will spend the holiday in the sun and the fun of a spa-like atmosphere. Very different from the usual hustle and bustle and feelings of inadequacy. I’m looking forward to the change…

  43. djonn says:

    I refuse to even think about Christmas till December 10th. This stuff has gotten waaaay outta hand. People hate the holidays, I’ll give a good guess as to why. relax folks.

    • Karen says:

      djonn – The only people I know who hate the holidays are the people who refuse to think about it until December 10th. And the whole point of getting a head start is so everyone CAN relax. Yup. ~ karen

  44. Rose campion says:

    I hate the holidays. No, not because I won’t think about it until Dec. 10. I hate them because I worked retail for 10 years, until just this year. I’m not yet sufficiently recovered from this to enjoy them again. Maybe in a decade or two. Until then, there will be no tree, only such gifts as I am obligated to purchase, and for the love of baby Jesus, no Christmas carols. Bah, humbug.

    I have to say, I do admire the people who have it all done early. They’re usually the calm ones in the shops. It’s the ones who wait until last minute who are insane and make retail workers miserable. Usually.

  45. cynD says:

    I am with ya darlin’ done and done. I would like to be one of thoes people who have it all done and together. I will still be baking and kniting and crafting up till the 20th of Dec.. How ever I do have my daughter all done and wraped. The boys gifts are not quite one each is gotten. We only do three gifts per kiddo… Hubby and I are taking a trip the end of January that is our big Christmas for us. He will get a fragrance & hand knited sox ,that makes it easy. Stocking stuffers are two apeice and under $7.00 for the whole family a total of 28. I am half done. This year the guys are all done.. and the little kids. Yea! only one teen and two adult neices Yea!! go! doers – go! doers – get it goin’!! I sure hope to have it all under control and done.. so I can chill…

  46. Melissa says:

    I’m with you sister! Made many of my presents last weekend.

  47. Elaine says:

    Years ago I decided that if Christmas were moved to November 25th I would have to have the gifts and cards ready, so, I decided that I would look at it that way. I have all the shopping done and wrapped, cards are written, stamped and waiting to be mail. The last weekend of November the tree goes up and the decorating begins. I leave the candy making and baking for the nights and weekends prior to Christmas this way I enjoy the Christmas season which it is a season, not a day. There is time to party, enjoy family and friends and not be stressed. Also I love being in the kitchen, so I am relaxed and happy making candy to give away and baking for family. It took a lot of years to learn this but by doing this and having a list of people I buy for in my purse 365 days a year it works. I buy all year long, it cuts down on all the expenses at this time of year and when I see my list with the names of people with gifts purchased beside them reduces my stress.

  48. Tabitha says:

    Such a great idea! I’m in!!

  49. KittyCardea says:

    I applaud your determination, and it is certainly a good idea to get others involved and supportive. I wish you the very best of luck.

    I’m not doing it.

    I actually almost drove myself off the deep end last year trying to make a gift for everyone. That was a nightmare. Of course, it probably would have been easier if my anxiety meds had not been causing panic attacks, but still. So, I decided, on Christmas Eve, that I will Not give gifts this year. I will focus my energy on being with family and friends, instead. A relaxed, not-foaming-at-the-mouth Kitty really is better for everyone.

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