The Christmas Pledge 2020.

Hand over heart, I really am simplifying things this year. I really am. Christmas 2020 is still going to be beautiful. But MUCH MUCH easier (says me, every year always, just seconds before popping out of a cardboard box full of sparkles holding a full sized Christmas tree over my head.)

I’m feeling the need for absolute simplicity this year.  I am just wanting things simple. Super-simple. The kind of simple that people with a multitude of underpaid, foreign live-in servants experience.

I blame this on what is obviously my enlightenment. I didn’t even TRY to become enlightened, it just  happened.

I don’t mean to brag, but I think I’ve reached the level of maturity and peace of a Buddhist monk sitting on a feather bed covered in cherry blossoms.  I don’t need the frivolous accoutrements of Christmas; not when I can soar above the material plane on just a wing and the spirit of the holiday.

Also – I mean, I’m just really tired. Aren’t you? This year has been EXHAUSTING. And so it has me looking forward to different things this holiday season. Like NOT worrying for once. Like not feeling anxious. Like NOT greeting each day with a cup of coffee, a migraine pill and a panic attack.

As someone who normally commits to Christmas the way a lion commits to a gazelle, this is leading to a bit of internal conflict.

I do not want to drag out and put away a bazillion decorations this year – but I want my house to feel incredibly cozy, comforting and Christmassy. I NEED that.

I do not want to have anxiety attacks thinking of the perfect presents for everyone – but I want to get everyone something nice that they’ll really like.

I do not want to make 7,000 different types of cookies and appetizers – but I want some special Christmas treats (Bacon Wraps are high on the list of stress reducing foods, very much like oatmeal only with a much higher risk of inducing a heart attack.)

I DO want to relax. I want to go for walks, not work as much, maybe do some needlepoint. 

But that’s never going to happen, so let’s get on with this.  The Christmas Pledge!! The guide to helping you CRUSH the Covid out of this Christmas season.  

The Christmas Pledge 2020

If you aren’t familiar with it, every year I publish a post on how to get everything you need to get done for Christmas by November 30. That in turn gives you the ENTIRE month of December to relax. That means presents bought, decorations up, Christmas cards addressed and sent.  It’s called the Christmas Pledge and this is its 9th year. Thousands of people have taken the Christmas pledge over the years and if you’re one of those people who always feels like you’re flailing and overwhelmed by the middle of December, this pledge is for you.

*Things really are going to be simplified a bit and Coronavirus will be taken into consideration this year.

A bit about shopping locally this year. I always encourage you to shop locally for at least some of your gifts. THIS year it’s more important than in any other year – so I’m going to explain it to you in simple terms.

Think of the stores in your neighbourhood or town. Picture them in your mind and the feeling you get when you go into them.  Which ones would you miss if they were gone?  If you don’t shop locally this Christmas season chances are those stores will close.  Forever. 

The Christmas season is when small businesses like local specialty stores make up to 30% of their yearly profits. This year, that means a business that is on the brink will live or die based on your decision to shop there. You don’t have to buy all of your gifts locally (although that would be GREAT if you could.) But make a point to spend at least half of your present buying budget locally. 

I cannot state strongly enough that keeping local stores open is your responsibility. Yep. Yours. The stores have done their part. Against all odds they’ve stayed open during this shitshow of a year. The government has given aid. The landlords have forgiven rent. The local shops have paid for their stock, created the store and made it available to you.

The rest is up to you. 

It’s time for you to take the Christmas pledge.  Repeat after me, 

I, Karen, (you can use your own name here – I don’t blame you for not wanting to use the name Karen) pledge to do everything in my power to complete the Christmas calendar so I can reserve my December for hot baths, gloating, snacking on hot chocolate and toast, holding hands, watching movies, and remembering the olden days when my body sweated swear words from December 12th to the 25th.

Get your printable copy of The Christmas Calendar right here


If there’s anything you really LOVE to do (like you’re obsessed with making micro gingerbread houses), then leave those things for you to do in December.  Except present buying. Do not leave that until December unless you’re picking up little things locally that you KNOW will be in stock, or giving gift cards. 

No matter what your holiday/religious/not religious affiliation, make your life as cozy as possible this year. And buy yourself stuff to help make it that way. I don’t mean huge things like a new sofa or kitchen cabinets, I mean little things like a new flatscreen television and perhaps a small home addition for morning meditations.

Just kidding.   Get some scented candles and thick knit slippers. A really good book and a new blanket. Or a jigsaw puzzle and a bottle of Ativan. Whatever you need to combat all that 2020 has done to you. 

For extra, added support you can join The Christmas Pledge Facebook group where hundreds of other people will cheer you on and give you inspiration.

Print the pledge, stick it on your refrigerator or kitchen cabinet door and do it. Do it NOW because you’re already stressed out and if you don’t do it you will only become more agitated as Christmas gets closer. Can you even imagine being any more agitated??  If you get this under control starting today you won’t end up suffering from ulcers, a limp or pink eye – which are all very likely if you don’t.

On your marks, get set, ho.


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The Christmas Pledge 2020.


  1. Leilani says:

    Thanks Karen for the Christmas Pledge calendar again. I found it last year and it was and still is extremely helpful. I’m already far ahead of where I’d be and love that my cards are already done except for mailing. That’s huge! When I was younger I enjoyed making special wrapping paper out of Kraft paper and stamping it or writing song lyrics all over the packages with a gold or silver paint pen. Sometimes I’d attach jingle bells and or little pinecones or figurines or ornaments that reminded me of the recipient. I loved this so much! Fast forward to life with kids, spouse, and all and life got so busy I found myself on an assembly line of wrap, label, slide under tree, Next! It was a monotonous and dreaded task. Now, using your calendar and having gotten so much of the prep done, I have time to once again slow down and savor the enjoyment of making the special wrapping touches again. Thank you!

  2. Terry A Tull says:

    Thank you for the calendar. Gave me a good laugh, especially the mistletoe comment! I always enjoy your emails and your sense of humor. Thanks for giving us some interesting material and smiles! I’m actually hoping to have my immediate family over for Christmas, only 10 of us, first time in years. Enjoy your holidays!

  3. aAron S says:

    Ahh, the hustle and muscle of the Season begins! Since we’re living in an RV with 3 Australian Shepherds (our tree will be made from hair this year) while we wait for our house to be finished, we have eliminated all but the construction of the hair tree (still gathering materials. Every. Day.)
    Your writing has the smart-alecky vibe that I just love with the perfect amount of practicality and good information. I can’t do that. See above. Merry Christmas!

  4. Renee Ryz says:

    With both of my kids losing their jobs due to COVID, we all decided that no gifts, unless you wish to make something with supplies you already have. Those are the best gifts! Not doing a huge 17+ Thanksgiving either. I think the simplicity feels like you can actually control something, since everything is so out of control. May you all find your blessings as there are many, even with the shitshow.
    ps(dear Santa please let there be a change in leadership – I can’t take 4 more years)

  5. Allison Fox says:

    I do think I will attempt at least parts of the Christmas pledge this year.

    And THANK YOU for your call to support local. As an artist who is participating in an art market on November 7th, I really like your call to purchase local that day! Hopefully you have a bunch of readers in the Houston area who will come out to First Saturday to meet the requirements of the pledge! :)

  6. Dianna says:

    Get a kitten! My kitten is at that crazy stage and I just know things will not be standing for long. His name is Frankie but more often than not I call him Little Sh!t. That alone may be my solution for taking the pledge this year. Christmas is my favorite holiday and it takes days to decorate. Outside the house is decorated with lights and other items. Inside I have a 10 ft tree and also an 8 ft tree as well as decorations for all the rooms. Note: all of this is stored in the attic which I have to take down and then put back up every year–many of which is very heavy.

  7. Lori SA says:

    Ha, ha- I love your list! However I can see that I am going about it backwards. Today I am making tourtière today (to freeze), accompanied by Christmas music. I am using the small pie pans this time, as it looks like we won’t be having guests. I never start Christmas prep so soon (except I do buy/make gifts throughout the year), but this year seems to need that Christmas energy early. Tomorrow I am putting the “winter” lights outside and some “winter” decorations up in the house.

  8. Kimberly says:

    THANK YOU for this. I have no idea what Christmas is looking like this year, but it’s nice having the Pledge Back.

  9. Jorie Kramer says:

    Thank you. My Holiday mantra: Local & Simple.

  10. Debra L Breiland says:

    Would you please let me know where I can order the covid with Santa hat? I have been searching but can’t find it anywhere.

    • Bev Hawkinson says:

      Go to (if I am allowed to mention this site?!) It’s where I created my poster for the new Hitchcock movie “The Corvid 19”
      Follow up to The Birds, but with 19 crowned crows flying around and attacking women social distancing in attics.
      ANYWAY it’s a great (and FREE) GRAPHIC DESIGN SITE. you’ll be able to make your own.

    • Bev Hawkinson says:

      You can make your own on line with free sites like I just wrote a terrible/terribly witty response to your comment but I think I erased it instead of posting.
      My thick fingers mean well but the phone screen is small and my finger tips are not. Good luck and may the Wonder Force of Karen be with you!

  11. Donna says:

    Thank you for this awesome article/pledge/list, you don’t, well you probably do know just how much we needed this. Oak Island….maybe just maybe this year…fingers crossed! Love the mirror on the brick wall.

  12. Jody says:

    I’m in–as always.

  13. Woniya says:

    I’m in! This past year’s pledge kept me sane focused and peaceful! Starting on card design stat! Sadly, I may lose my sweet father before Solstice gets here and so every precious second saved to spend with him is an enormous help instead of rushing about like a loon to do last minute holiday dumbness.

    • Mandy M. says:

      Big, big hugs to you, Woniya! I’m terribly sorry, and I hope that you’re able to spend a lot of time with your father. Sending much love to you and your family!

    • Karen says:

      I’m so sorry and hope you make it through the next couple of months with the least amount of pain possible. ~ karen!

  14. Pam says:

    I very much like the structure this calendar gives to November. For most of this year, all of the days seemed to have blurred into one big stream of consciousness, with highlights primarily related to what grew well in the garden and what did not. And, yes, the indoor projects that were accomplished, though they are never as enjoyable to me as the outdoor ones (and this coming from a college professor who spends far too much time indoors on a computer).

    So, the calendar gives me personal daily goals, which can be enjoyable rather than a burden as they can sometime become. This also makes December even more special for some reason. It makes it a genuine month to celebrate what I can be thankful for and cozy up, as you say. Thank you for this!

  15. Tracy K says:

    I *kind of* did last year’s.

    (Hand over heart) I promise to do it all THIS year.

    *fingers crossed behind back*

  16. Vikki says:

    Gold Stars for you for supporting the local businesses! In our area, I’ve seen so many of the little businesses have closed down. And, wouldn’t it be nice to give those you care about something that everyone else has gotten from Amazon? I will not be with family this year but thank goodness for being able to connect with them electronically. And friends!! Now is when you find those good friends! In spite of all, we will have ourselves a merry little Christmas anyway. And, thank you for always being our “cheerleader” and raising our spirits.

    • Vikki says:

      Just one more thought–I live in a rural area so have been buying from Etsy. I’m buying my cards from a 14-year old girl who wanted a horse–her parents said ok if she could pay for it. This is how she does that, by hand-painting and selling cards. I’ve bought pine cones from a 10-year old boy who collects them and sells them to earn money so he can buy Christmas presents. You can’t get more small business than that!

  17. Theda says:

    And, also, to buy local.

  18. Theda says:

    Hand over heart, I pledge to follow this list to the best of my ability. ; )

  19. Mary W says:

    List up on refrigerator with big spaces for checking each day off. It is sort of exciting -my first time actually doing it. As a newbie, I did complete my own wants list first! already! never before have I done this! But last year the decorations came out after Thanksgiving and the boxes sat in my hall until Jan 5th before going back into the attic. I never once even looked inside and WILL NOT repeat during Crazy 2020. But. I found what I missed most – twinkle lights over my bed for watching stupid Christmas movies on Hallmark – a stupid simple pleasure that costs nothing. My grands have decided to sleep with me so they can watch TV late during holidays so I must get the bed ready. What fun your list is – THANK YOU AGAIN!

  20. Melody Ryan says:

    You forgot “buy Christmas-themed face masks”. Unfortunately, it s on my to-do list this year. :(

  21. Linda Hoye says:

    The Oak Island season premiere. Thank you!!

  22. Joan says:

    I’ve printed the list and ready to start! Love the suggestions and ideas. Wish I had this years ago but then it’s never too late! After 2020 I’ve decided not to take things for granted so I want to make our little gathering special this year!
    Ps-I always swap out my everyday China for my Christmas dishes the day after thanksgiving (us). You can add that to the list!

  23. Beth W says:

    “Or a jigsaw puzzle and a bottle of Ativan.” – yup, you’re my spirit animal. I’ve been doing this (I mean the Pledge) for at least 5 years now, and it’s worth it – every single year.

    One thing I’m trying to add/start doing is a cookie dough exchange so I only have to make up one type of dough/cookie each year. Anyone within a couple of hours of London (ON) want to exchange some frozen dough? I’ve got gingerbread waiting in the freezer and know that our two person household shouldn’t eat all the cookies it makes. Maybe this is something I should ask in the Facebook group?

  24. Dianna Forth says:

    I am almost finished my Christmas shopping, just a couple of little things left to get. Decorating will be minimal this year at home, but will decorate at the cottage as I will probably be there the most. BAKING: shortbread cookies, raspberry bars, choc marshmallow rolls, etc will DEFINITELY be made as Grandkids insist they need Gma’s Christmas baking.

  25. Dorothy McCaleb says:

    Karen, this is absolutely perfect!!! You have no idea how you have keep me sane these past few months!!! I have followed you for a few years and laughed and learned so much but in 2020 you have made this crisis bearable!!! You make common sense joyful and eye opening and make us all think “why didn’t I think of that”!!! Thank you for your infectious joy and your ability to help us all through this COVID crap!!Oh, and tell Betty I said hi!!!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for saying that Dorothy! That means a lot. And I’ll definitely tell Betty you said hi, but she reads the comments, so she’ll know. ;) ~ karen!

    • Sandy says:

      Absolutely! I live in a teency flat in London. I have no hope of ever doing half the awesome stuff you talk about (no matter how much i wish i could) and so i live vicariously through you. Keep it up!!! you’re keeping us sane Karen. Thankyou :)

      ps. please everyone, buy local – instore or on-line….make sure it’s the little guys that get our cash…and not just for xmas. the big guys need levelling off ;D

  26. Angela says:

    I’m almost done with buying gifts, so this year my ‘before Dec 1’ goal is Christmas cards! Plus, we moved this year and by getting our cards out early, people will already have our new address when they’re sending theirs!

  27. Jenny W says:

    This year, more than ever!
    We need to create a cozy festive home. We need traditions. We need comforting foods & happy drinks.
    Celebrate the end of a horrid year & the beginning of a better.
    I for one will be having a traditional Christmas here at our little cottage, with all of the trimmings. Instead of a 20+ buffet, it will be a sit down dinner for the 4 of us and I will feel content & blessed. Let’s do this!!

  28. Elizabeth Lee Sellon says:

    As an owner, artist and operator of a small shop in a small town that has art and product from over a hundred other local artists I thank you for the part about supporting us! Thank you thank you. I pledge to make bacon rolls this year! I have always wanted to. And they may become my 2020 new tradition!

  29. PegMinn says:

    Wonderful, Karen. If you post your bit about shopping locally on FB, I will share it. Such a good reminder to be mindful in our gifting so the gift extends in multiple ways.

  30. J Gola says:

    What an excellent idea! Thank you!

  31. Gayle M says:

    I needed that–thanks! Things will certainly be different this year, but that doesn’t mean we have to pass on Christmas spirit.

  32. Vanessa says:

    Seriously, this really is my favorite thing.❤💚❤💚

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