The Christmas Pledge!

It is time once again to post about the most polarizing topic this website has ever seen.

The Christmas Pledge.  (also known as the Chanukah/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Winter Solstice(Yule) Pledge)

For those of you who are new(ish) to this site, let me explain.  The Christmas Pledge is something I’ve been blogging about since the creation of this website.  It is a pact.  A promise.  A determination to get EVERYTHING that needs to be done for Christmas BEFORE December 1st.  And with that one simple sentence I have instantly divided you into two camps.  Let me address your comments before you even have to make them.

From those of you on the NO side.

It is TOO early to think about Christmas. It isn’t even Thanksgiving in the States!  You’re stupid! I hate you!  Why are you doing this?!!!

Well, I do it because most of us think there is lots of time to do Christmas things once Christmas actually hits.  But most of the time there isn’t. And most of the time we’re stressed and freaking out and NOT having a good time in the weeks leading up to Christmas because we’re too worried about how we’re going to find that one toy or  gadget that’s sold out everywhere.

Plus the point is really to get all the things that are a PAIN in the ass done before December 1st.  For me that’s shopping.  You? You might love going to the mall during the height of the season when you have to fist fight for a parking spot but I don’t.  So I vow to get the shopping out of the way.


Then there are those of you on the YES side.

This is genius!  This Christmas Pledge is the greatest idea ever!

Every year I get emails from people who took The Christmas Pledge and say it changed their life. For the first time in years they’ve been able to actually enjoy the Christmas season.  They can go to parties and bake and enjoy time with their family because they aren’t stressed out about the fact that haven’t got all the “hard stuff” done yet.


I am obviously in the yes camp.  I don’t just encourage you to take The Christmas Pledge, I do it myself.  Some years are more successful than others, but it always, always makes my life easier.

The Christmas Pledge is a gentle reminder to keep on schedule and not put off things that will eventually need to be done.  That’s all. And it works.

Please enjoy this handy little Christmas Pledge calendar to help you stay on schedule.



* the bow making course is subject to change



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Not convinced yet?


Here’s an example of the difference you’ll see in your life if you take the pledge compared to if you don’t take the pledge (based on actual, fabricated examples)







Gonna take the Christmas Pledge?  Give your virtual signature now!

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  1. Becky says:

    The first year I read about this, I was DEF in the NO camp….last year, I said, “what the hell, I’ll give it a try”


    Count me in.

  2. Mindy says:

    I’m on it. Amazon has already began making deliveries and I’ve been working on diy gifts all week. Woot woot. Just gotta keep the momentum going.

  3. Terrie says:

    I like my idea for this year better: Go to Antarctica for a month from mid December to mid January. Not the north pole – Antarctica as far from Santa as possible. The only thing to do is call family and tell them you won’t be around….done.

  4. Ritz says:

    You are some funny!!

  5. barbee says:

    For the first time in a decade I will not be working retail (in a christmas store no less) so I will take this challenge! I might even remember some part of December!

    • Jan In Waterdown says:

      OH Barbee! Congratulations on your escape! I worked in retail for 5 years and I still get the heebie jeebies in December. I was REALLY starting to hate Christmas and knew it was time to get out. I think everyone should have to work in retail once in their lives just to know how and how not to treat store clerks! It’s absolutely amazing how entitled some people think they are. I guess some folks are just “special” eh? Hope you get to bask in the glory of not working at Christmas!!

  6. Andrea says:

    Karen, I love you! You’re a genius. I am definitely in the YESYESYESYES camp having done it both ways. I’m proud to say I paid a visit to the Container store last night and stocked up on stocking stuffers. And beat my husband to it. Hah! I think I’ll put up the big 10′ fake tree tomorrow, now that you’ve seriously motivated me. The real tree will go up the day after our American Thanksgiving. I got this. I WILL get Christmas cards out on time this year!

  7. Wendi Miller says:

    I want to say “YES” but….I’m getting ready to go through radiation therapy and I’m not sure how it will effect me. Therefore, what I’ve decided to do is say “YES” with the stipulation that if at any time I feel too fatigued, I’m just going to skip directly to the “luxurious nap” πŸ˜‰

    • Jacquie says:

      Best of luck with the radiation Wendi.

    • Su says:

      take many luxurious naps Wendi…. best present is to take care of you…. wish you well

    • Karen says:

      You feel free to take all the luxurious naps you want Wendi! Good luck with the radiation and kick ass. ~ karen!

    • Elen G says:

      Yes, Wendi. Good thoughts winging your way on the radiation therapy. You’re in charge of the Nap Squad. In fact, some time during the month of November or December, please take a luxurious nap for me. Thanking you in advance…. especially if I don’t take the pledge. πŸ˜‰ Best of luck!

    • Deana says:

      Wendi, you have earned the right to nap whenever and where ever you want. Wishing you all the best and kick the “C” to the curb.

    • Holly says:

      I wish you the very best, Wendi. Definitely put yourself first and forget about the rest..I know, it is hard for us women to do that at times, but you need to. Here is to luxurious naps for you! Merry Christmas.


  8. Tasha says:

    Yes. And my husband loves this too. Our goal will be to be done by December 6. My parents arrive December 10, so it will be nice to relax, drink martinis and oysters, and not worry about getting anything done in the rush.

    Thanks for the reminder calendar.

  9. Tracey says:

    hi Karen,
    this is great…I’ve printed the calendar and I’m going to do this! I am really tired of trying to get everything done last minute…always thinking there was time, and then scrambling to wrap presents on the 24th. this year I will enjoy December!
    without the calendar I would not have known where to start.
    thank you!

  10. Meg says:

    I snorted while laughing too hard. haha the 20th: don’t eat your cookie dough. Dec 16: lost 3 pounds!!

    YESSSSSSSSSSSS count me in. I almost made it, last year. Then work got me and I was working too much… but yes. I solemnly pledge to have Christmas tasks done by the first week in December, so I may actually enjoy December leading up to Christmas!

  11. Mandy Dunbar says:

    I’m in!
    However thank god for online shopping or it would NEVER happen!

    Have already booked time at a spa followed by afternoon tea to kick start Christmas relaxation and overheating for the 5th – that should so go on your list!

  12. patti says:

    I’m a First Year Person…
    Love the Idea !!! I already have Christmas Central set up (all in one room), gift list made, some gifts are being delivered, homemade gifts are in the making, cards bought, wrapping and ribbon bought…
    Check, Check and Check !!!!

  13. Jane P says:

    Love it, yes camp!

  14. Charlotte says:

    Last year was a great success thanks to the Pledge. Consider me in!

    • lisa mitchell says:

      Karen, will you pledge to please make one of your next posts about great Christmas gift ideas???? Last year you helped me out enormously by posting about some lovely vendors – Cattails took care of the most difficult people on my list thanks to your suggestions! Love the pledge – and it works!

      • Karen says:

        Hi Lisa – I’m actually going to set up a whole page on my site (hopefully this weekend) with Christmas gift ideas. It’ll be a shopping page basically where you can click to go to things I like or think are good presents. Here’s hoping the weekend is long enough to get it done. πŸ™‚ ~ karen!

  15. Zoe says:

    obviously I’m a well trained monkey from last year – list is already made bar some ideas for one or two difficult people AND I’ve already bought several gifts and know what I’m making for several others ! (And because I really need to feel good about something this week – all with a 6 month old baby).

  16. Janet says:

    Love this post! Almost made it last year. I WILL make it this year. Am looking forward to a stress-free December so I can really enjoy the season.

  17. Leisa says:

    I’m in!

  18. molly says:

    oh yeah – i am so in on this! although i may have to alter my plans a bit as time goes on – i may have been a tad optimistic regarding the possiblity of knitting ten pairs of socks AND a giant sweater this month…cheers!

  19. Tigersmom says:

    I’m a seasoned convert to this way of doing things only partly because I really hate gingerpickle cookies. Christmas is sooooooooo much more enjoyable this way. Especially since I was always the only one stressed and everyone else (with nothing much to do but enjoy the parts of the season that I was working like a hamster to create/take care of ) was relaxed and happy.

    I’ll be a bit late on the start because I’m finally a participant in the coolest upscale flea market that I have been dying to be in this weekend, but I’m clever enough to justify that as a shopping trip, at least for ideas if not actual purchases.

    Oooooh, I think I just farted some glitter.

  20. Su says:

    I’m in… already started shopping…. love my UPS and FedEx guys :)… I’m going to start the madness of the season with a vacation on the beach – best way we have found to do thanksgiving and be thankful for all we have… to relax and get in the spirit…. with a margarita or two πŸ™‚

  21. Pati Gulat says:

    I try to do this every year but I’m gonna do GREAT this year because I WON’T BE WORKING RETAIL for the first time since 1987 and ALL the grandanges will be together this year for the very first time EVER !!!! Already got about 10 gifts bought and wrapped and am online shopping this morning…. I BE WORKIN’ IT !!! SO EXCITED !!! Thanks for the calender, girlfriend…it’s a HUGE help !

  22. Melissa T says:

    Alright… alright. You (all of you) convinced me. I’m in.

  23. Beckie says:

    I have been doing this sort of thing (more or less) for years, and it really is liberating. I will say *I’m in*.

    Your timetable closely mirrors my own. This weekend is bookmarked for brainstorming who gets what. Outside dec gets done on the 29th (the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the US) It always gets done that day, no matter what Mother Nature tosses our way.

    It’s fun to follow along and see how everyone else is doing!

  24. Heather says:

    I’m in! My favourite part is the stockings, but I seem to go overboard. I collect stocking stuffers all year round and put them in a box & then usually forget what I bought. This year I actually made myself a spreadsheet to keep track of what I had bought everyone & the cost. So even if the gift count isn’t equal, the total value of the stocking will be. It also helps me to know WHEN to STOP buying.

    OH….I’ve got a lot of requests for gift cards. Every year I try to come up with some interesting ways to wrap BORING gift cards. Any suggestions?

    • theresa says:

      there are many gift card pouch ideas on Revelry if you knit or crochet–some might find a re-purpose as business/credit card type holders after the holidays…you could sew them too but I troll Pinterest for those ideas.

  25. Mary Werner says:

    We play Christmas Bingo with prizes. If you win, you choose your prize. The next person that wins chooses a prize or takes yours. So getting all the fun inexpensive prizes was so easy after using some of your sponsors! I was so proud of my prize offerings – to see them fighting over the Crazy Cat Lady milk jars, the yodeling pickle, and the other unique things. We always have a pickle prize when someone finds the pickle ornament hidden in the tree. Love your Pledge!

  26. Sandy says:

    All I have left is a few stocking stuffers. It really does make the holiday more enjoyable and relaxing.

  27. Tori says:

    There’s no way any cookie dough made on November 13 is not going to get eaten until December 4 in my house.

  28. Jennifer says:

    I’m giving it a try this year–80% of my gifts are purchased so far. πŸ™‚

  29. Diane says:

    I’m in! it should be easier this year since so many more stores are gonna be open on Thanksgiving…(NOT)! But it is fun to try anyway and enjoy the decorations and holiday with friends and family.

  30. Patty says:

    The Christmas pledge sounds like its worth taking…especially with the outcome of Dec 20th. I’ll definitely take eating warm stew over trying to park at the mall. Yup, only interested in the stew. πŸ™‚

  31. Lynne says:

    We are moving in early December (new job/new community closer to 4 of our 6 children) & I am still saying YES to the Christmas Pledge! One year I actually managed to have everything bought and wrapped by October 1st!! Clearly all the stars were aligned – when I saw things throughout the year that would be perfect gifts I bought them immediately instead of making a list and trying to find them again later. πŸ™‚

    • Laurence B. says:

      Ha, that buy-it-as-soon-as-you-see-it method never works out for me. I always end up giving the person her gift way in advance, ’cause I can’t wait to see her reaction. And then it’s buying time all over again for Christmas. ; )

  32. Jaylah says:

    I’m one of the “newish” ones. And I’m all in.

    In fact, I’ve been all in for a couple of decades.

    I look back on my childhood Christmas’s and remember making ornaments out of styrofoam, glue and glitter. And decorating home-made sugar cookies and gingerbread men with icing and sprinkles. And my mother making us stockings, which we decorated with more glue and glitter. And I thought all “good mothers” did Christmas like that.

    Of course, my own mother never had a job outside of the home. And for all I know, she had a one-gallon jug of Valium hidden in the house somewhere. I, however, had a job where I worked an average of 10 hour days, with an hour commute each morning and evening. Christmas was never fun for me then.

    Finally, early one December, I sat my husband and step-daughter down in our living room, gave each of them a notebook and pencil, and asked them to make a list: “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without….”

    Their responses were an eye-opener for me.

    Seemed neither one of them gave a hoot about home-made cookies. Or home-made ornaments. Or a lot of the other stuff. They did want to continue our tradition of going out to the tree farm and searching for our “perfect” tree. They did want to decorate it with lights and ornaments, but they were perfectly happy if those ornaments came from the dime-store. As long as we had the tree, they weren’t all that interested in all the other decorations.

    And they wanted to receive presents. (Didn’t seem all that concerned about giving presents.) So I made a deal with them: I wrote out a list of all the people (grandparents, etc.) that would be giving them gifts and told them that if they would make sure that they had gifts to give to the people on that list, I would make sure they had gifts from me under the tree on Christmas. On the other hand, if they thought leaving Christmas shopping up entirely to me was acceptable, I would assume that meant that they were okay with me not including them on my Christmas shopping list.

    We went to the tree farm the first Saturday in December. Brought home the three and decorated it that afternoon. Since they understood that I wasn’t going Christmas shopping on December 24th, they had their gifts to give to others assembled early, which allowed me to do all of the wrapping early. By mid-week after we got our tree, all of the wrapped gifts were piled under the tree.

    We lived out in the country at the time, and we actually took our sleds and toboggan out to one of the hills near our home and spent a Saturday afternoon in the snow. One evening we all bundled up and got in the car to drive into town and admire all the holiday decorations. I took my step-daughter into town one weekend for a “Christmas Tea” at the local tea-house. We attended an evening performance of the Nutcracker.

    I actually enjoyed Christmas.

    And I think my family enjoyed having me relaxed and fun-to-be-with for a change.

    • Heather says:


      Sometimes all it takes is bringing it all to their attention. We get so used to doing things that people just assume we will do it. Too many people just can’t let go & give off some of the responsibility to others. I am glad you enjoyed your Christmas. Here’s hoping this one goes as well.

      I really like your “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without….” idea. I might use that. πŸ™‚

  33. Marion says:

    I’m in the “yes” camp, although I’m a little intrigued by those gingerpickle cookies… HA!

  34. Anelique V. says:

    You had me cracking up like nobodies business. I am definitely in the yes camp. I have been doing this for several years.

  35. BamaCarol says:

    My gifts are all bought and most are wrapped already, just a few more to go. I ran out of paper and have had to wait for some of the stores to actually put their paper out. I’ve been a convert for many years now. Since I worked retail when I was in college way back in the 1970s as a gift wrapper. Hearing Christmas songs on continual loops did me in for wanting to be out in the crowds. I really enjoy making cookies and hosting parties and always decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving and then can enjoy the whole season without any stress. It is wonderful!

  36. You know I really love this idea, however, since we have Thanksgiving in the US at the end of November, could you possibly do a three week transparency overlay thingy? Must include removing old carcasses from refrigerators without starving family too soon, washing all stemware that hasn’t been used in six months, work out menu planning and shopping, who to invite and whom to tell we won’t be here for thanksgiving this year without getting caught. Plus toss in must be done after work while planning my daughters wedding…oh and find time to blog too. Could you work that out please…I will pay you in Diet Coke and chips!

  37. jainegayer says:

    I’m still in the no camp (I have a very big bottle of Xanax, just in case), but I did laugh so hard at the “Idid/I didn’t take the Christmas Pledge” chart that coffee came out my nose.

  38. Sboo says:

    Started buying gifts and ordered my cards last month, hah! (One tip I’ve learned is that if you order cards in October, sometimes you can catch Halloween sales and get discounts) I’m 80% done with shopping and it feels great. I have extra motivation because this year my annual work convention is Dec 8–12 which really screws with the schedule. Bonus: it’s in Las Vegas.

    I’m a singer, so add 4 hours of choir rehearsal each week, 3 different Christmas concerts with 3 different solos and my time is definitely precious this time of year. For me, taking the pledge means less stress and more time for carols and cookies πŸ™‚

  39. ally says:

    Waaaaaay ahead of you! Almost all my gifts are purchased. Lots of stocking stuffers bought as well. Planned my dates for baking and booked two vacation days mid-December to do same. Just have 2 people left to buy for, and the only delay is waiting to hear from their mom what to get them. (takes a bow)
    I can not stand being in a mall or any store in December. Don’t even like grocery shopping in December, but that’s a necessity.
    So, needless to say, I’m in.

  40. Karol says:

    My tree is up (don’t hate) it totally puts me in the spirit and makes me smile. My gifts are purchased for my grandbabies, and the rest are getting money or giftcards. Fa-la-la la-la, la la la!

  41. Nancy says:

    Last night I printed out a really nice free vintage robots print from the Disposable Art site. I’m going to frame it for my geeky husband’s desk area. So now, I think I’ll wrap it first and it can be a gift. Y’all got to look at that site, I like it a lot. And it’s one of your advertisers.
    I love Jesus and all but I kinda hate Christmas. Perhaps The Pledge will help me. I’m saying yes. Reluctantly yes.

  42. Rebecca says:

    First year you did this, I was definitely in the NO category. But after taking the Christmas Pledge last year, I’m sold. I stress myself out so easily so it was truly refreshing being able to actually relax and enjoy the holiday.

  43. Kate says:

    I was in the NO camp before, just because I couldn’t handle two holidays in one month, but I’m going to give it a try this year! Even if I don’t get it perfect, it has to better than the usual scramble that I call December! Thanks for the encouragement!

  44. Pam says:

    Hee hee!! Love the comparison of life with and without the Pledge! (…’one impressive cold sore scab’!) I won’t take the pledge, though, because I just don’t need to plan out the very few things I need to do for my very quiet, low key Christmas. Maybe I should schedule a couple of days to develop a tasty gingerpickle cookie recipe. Would you be willing to be a taster for me, Karen?

  45. Jenifer says:

    I am definitely going to implement this with some minor adjustments for Thanksgiving (in the US). This may be the only way the gifts get wrapped instead of me! And if I do manage to get in just 1 nap, I will pledge my loyalties to you forevah and evah!

    Thanks so much!! LOVE the calendar! It’s going in my Christmas notebook AND on the frig!

  46. Vanessa says:

    This year I already have my husband DONE! I don’t know why, he is really an easy guy to shop for, but he always goes on some sort of a spending spree right before any gift giving event (his birthday, xmas, our anniversary, valentine’s day etc.). I think it is to reward himself for holding it together. He invariably buys for himself what I planned/did get for him. This year, I am on top of it!!! And I have got to say I have gloated a bit I am feeling so smug that I am ahead of the game this year.

    So I am totally and completely, unreservedly IN!!! Plus Christmas is at my house this year, so I want the admiration/envy of my family. πŸ˜‰

  47. kate-v says:

    I propose and alternate-endings sort of calendar for those of us who celebrate Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of November. Those exemptions depend on if you are (1) traveling for Thanksgiving, (2) hosting, (3a) bringing required food you prepared, (3b) bringing food you’ve bought (4) just showing up.
    In any case all Thanksgiving in November folks get to miss the 27th and then take up where they left off. Those just showing up (4) get one day’s grace – Thanksgiving only- then carry on. Those bringing food they’ve purchased get two days grace, November 26 and 27; while those bringing items they’ve cooked get off from November 25 through 27 (three days). Those hosting get off November 21 through 28 – then they can continue the scheme. Those traveling get off the day before they travel until the day after they arrive back home and then continue.
    I propose those get full credit for following the plan as laid out if they are forced by national boundaries celebrate Thanksgiving in November. You won’t be done as early in December but you will be done by the 10th (at the latest) and that’s not bad!

  48. LazySusan says:

    I’m in! Already have everything planned. Already have the card list. Already have the cards. Already have the stocking stuffers and most of the presents. Next week the new refrigerator arrives, which will get stocked with cookie dough the following weekend. I even already have up some of the Christmas lights, they’re just not turned on yet!

  49. Eric H says:

    Just wanted to comment that gingerpickle cookies made me LOL

  50. Maryanne says:

    Hi Karen, First – Still loving your blog even with the new timing. The longer posts are worth the wait πŸ™‚ Second, I’m going to try your Christmas pledge this year (compared to last year when I only “said” I was going to do it, now it’s on the internet so it must be true, right?) – I can’t wait for December 16th! A thought I had for a future post idea (if it’s not already in your archives), is that I would love to see your take / calendar on preparing for a Christmas party/open house in the future – maybe to fill up some of that free time in December πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the chuckles, Maryanne

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