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.

 

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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)

 

 

pros-and-cons-final-2014

 

 

 

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

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125 Comments

  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”

    sold.

    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” 😉

    • 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. 😉 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.

      Holly

  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:

    HAHAH!!
    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. 🙂 ~ 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 🙂

  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. 🙂

  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. 🙂

  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. 🙂

    • 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:

      Jaylah,

      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. 🙂

  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 🙂

  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, disposableartshop.com 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. 😉

  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 🙂 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 😉 Thanks for the chuckles, Maryanne

  51. Rachel says:

    Oh hell yes! I’ve been doing something similar for years, although not as organized. I’m nearly done with my Christmas shopping (three more people to buy for, plus stocking stuffers). It makes December so much more enjoyable to get everything done beforehand. I still have a very strict no Christmas anything until after American Thanksgiving though. No decorations, no music, no wrapping. I like to save the festive-y fun things til it’s really time to get in the spirit.

    My only hold up is getting the rest of the family on board. We draw names for my husband’s side and they are not ones to be on the ball. One year I got them to draw names in mid November, but normally it is early December.

  52. Safetydog says:

    I took the pledge last year, and it did help tremendously. Taking it again this year. I’ve already created hand-painted gifts (3 were delivered when we visited out-of-town family last month!). We have the cards and card list. Planning to start list-making, shopping, and baking this weekend. No decorating allowed until after Thanksgiving. Now I’ll have more time in December to drink vast glasses of wine at the in-laws (no, really, it’s a necessity).

  53. Bridget P. says:

    Given that the last two years we got our Christmas decorations up 2 days before Christmas and finished wrapping presents on the way to the party (thank goodness for gift bags!), I’m so doing this this year. Plus, my Christmas stuff is still out from last year cause I never stored it, so I’m practically half way there!

  54. Beth says:

    I’m going to do this! But only because there is only 1 day during which I cannot eat cookie dough, otherwise I wouldn’t be so sure. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed, Karen, I expected more cookie dough eating from you. 🙂

  55. Lynn (really spelled w/ an "e", but somebody else already has that spelling on here) says:

    My first thought was Hell no, I’m not in the get ready early camp. Already got pissed off that Christmas decorations were out on the shelves BEFORE Halloween – made my stomach hurt just to see that. But your timetable / calendar is so reasonable and rational, I am re-thinking this. Last year I was so overwhelmed that I never even got my Christmas tree up. Made me so sad. If my Momma was alive, she would have been SO disappointed in me. I know I was disappointed in me. There must be a better way and I think your calendar w/ a few modifications for American Thanksgiving is a wonderful idea.
    P.S. Positive thoughts and big hugs to Wendi. Go girl!

  56. Fred Barrett says:

    I’m newish, have picked up a lot from The Art of Doing Stuff and definitely am on the yes side.

  57. Julie says:

    yup and yup. i shop early…like august early…and say things to my girls like “wouldn’t XXX be great from santa?” that’s because i’ve already bought it and it’s under the bed waiting. keep that little ear worm in there and then you’ve got santa covered. no last minute buying of toys that don’t exist.

    downside…i forget about everything under the bed and by the time november rolls around i’ve overspent 🙂 oh well, happy times!

  58. Elen G says:

    I’m taking the pledge for one reason, and one reason only — Dec. 20th under the …If You Take The Christmas Pledge column. 😀

    Signed,

    Christmas Pledge First-Timer.

  59. Shauna says:

    I ask you this one simple question, knowing how you prepare for Thanksgiving, and imagining that others who are your readers also prepare similarly for Thanksgiving. If you still had to do Thanksgiving, on say, I don’t know, the last Thursday of November, would you be so bold and holier than thou about this Christmas Pledge of yours?

    Clearly, I’m not in the ‘No’ camp, I’m in the ‘No fucking way’ camp.

    Now, I’m off to read your stupid pledge to see if I can somehow pile more shit onto my plate in an effort to take on the challenge (which I know I won’t but whatever).

    Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    • Karen says:

      Ummmmm. ~ karen

      • Shauna says:

        You know it’s all in love Karen. You’re a rock star and this pledge is more proof of that:) Now, the real pledge is if I can get all of this done and Thanksgiving crap done before the last Thursday of this month. THEN, I too can be a rock star:)

        • Karen says:

          Oh thank God, lol. I thought you were *this* close to standing on the roof of a McDonalds with a sawed off shotgun. It takes me about 3 days to do Thanksgiving (that’s without any help from anyone to get ready or anyone to cook anything). One way for you to make it easier is to have each guest bring something. That’s what we normally do but this year I didn’t want anyone screwing with my special Thanksgiving dinner. But normally Betty brings turnip, Pink tool belt brings pies, Bikram Yoga brings buns, and Fish Pedicure brings green beans. If you really want and they’re family you can probably legally order them to do it. ~ karen!

          • Shauna says:

            Yes, a little overly snarky there in my original comment. If you had heard it rather than read it, it maybe would have been funny, but now that I re-read it, I just sound like a raving bitch. Anywho, all this has actually made me get half my list of gift ideas in a spreadsheet. So take that PLEDGE!

            I did tell my Mom yesterday that I would be giving her and my brother an assignment along with a recipe for them to follow for Thanksgiving. Now, if only I could get an answer from the other side of the family as to who is coming, I could maybe force them to make something too:)

            • Karen says:

              Oh don’t count on that, lol. We were all sitting down eating dinner and I still had no idea if 2 of my guests were going to show up. They did. They were eating their meal while we were eating our pie, but whatever. ~ karen!

  60. Shauna says:

    oh wait, I’m ahead of the game, a game for which I AM NOT playing of course…I made my list of people yesterday and I even worked out my budget. From there it’s all downhill.

  61. Laura M says:

    I’m in. I host the family for Christmas Eve and morning so there is a lot of extra cooking and laundry going on but I’ve added all your notes to my calendar. Good start to the rest of it. At least this year I’ll get the cards done if I look at my calendar. So far I have 6 of 16 gifts taken care of. And I only have one difficult person on my list. My husband. He is in the habit of just buying whatever he wants or likes or sees when he feels like it. I try to tell him the rules change the month before his birthday or Christmas. We’ll see how that goes. I have some homemade gifts I’ve got to schedule in. Once that’s done there will be quite the relief with your list. Thanks.

  62. Definitely count me in!
    For the first time in 36 yrs, I will not be working, so I want it to be very special, cos there’s no excuse to not have freshly baked cookies.
    And I’ve already lost the 3lbs! (but wouldn’t mind losing maybe 3 more….room for cookies )

  63. Cindy says:

    I’m in again! Karen, you’re a genius – December was so much more relaxed last year. I’m looking forward to the same this year.

  64. I’ve declared Nov. 1 the end of project season for the house, so for the first time I might just be able to take the pledge. Considering that last year I didn’t bake Christmas cookies until our wedding anniversary on Jan. 26, I think this year will be a definite improvement.

  65. Carla says:

    Yes yes yes! Did it last year and it is life changing!

  66. Jody says:

    Yup, I’ m in. I have tried to get most of everything done by Dec 1 with only a few things to do early in December. I am a much happier, gee-I-want-to-be-around-that-person kind of person when I stay way ahead of the curve.

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  68. Shelly McKay says:

    Count me in! Last year I tried & failed miserably. Hoping this year will be better – already have a bunch of gifts purchased/ordered. I host a “Christmas In November” with a bunch of my cousin’s coming out for the weekend of Nov. 21st, so I’d better have the house looking somewhat festive (inside & out) by then 🙂

  69. Keith says:

    Some of those people who keep a stopwatch for when Christmas can begin, I find, are the same ones who are frantically running around the last few days trying to get everything done. My opinion is that they harp on getting early preparation because underlying this hold-off on the holidays is an underlying dread of getting it all done (in other words procrastination).

    Either you strategically plan to get it all done, or you just downsize all the obligations and festivities.

    Personally, the anticipation and build up is what makes any holiday great. When you were a kid, you counted the days until you turned another year older. Christmas and Easter have formal names for these times: Advent and Lent. Most weddings take a good amount of fun time to dream about and to plan. I just say enjoy it – the fun is in the process.

  70. pat says:

    The tree decorating at my house happens on the Saturday of Grey Cup weekend (Canada’s version of the Superbowl for our neighbours to the south; our version of football finals for the rest of your guests) which happens near the end of November. It was a shock to my family when I started doing it a few years ago, but once the tree is up and all the decoration boxes are out and you’re decorating your house while you’re at it, every time I hear someone at work complain in December how they’re running out of time and the tree isn’t up yet, I breathe a sigh of relief.

  71. Dawn says:

    I’m in, with the exception that I refuse to put up decorations/tree before December dammit.

    My main problem this year is that money is a bit tighter than usual, so I’m reluctant to spend much, and as a result appear to be totally grumpy about the whole thing. 😀 Buying for my in-laws is a pain in the arse normally dagnamit, so hating spending money on them isn’t helping matters!

    On the plus side, it’s only temporary skintness, so I might just break out the credit card and stop being such a grumpy cow 😉

  72. Nancy says:

    I’m in, I take the pledge!
    It was a real lifesaver last year. My Mom passed away the week of Thanksgiving and most everything was done except for the decorating and we didn’t feel much like it anyways after all. But having the cards done and gifts practically done, it was so wonderful not having to think about it.
    This year we go to visit the kids in Texas the 5th of Dec and it will be great to have everything done before we go and just enjoy the holiday.

  73. Debbie says:

    Ah, as Chanukah approaches (though not before having 22 people for Thanksgiving from seven states and three countries, with six staying at my home for the two days prior to Turkey Day and my probably having a panic attack or two, even with my extensive list and schedules, because I will invariably forget something), I am calm as that is one holiday over which I do not fret. We decided long ago that adults would not give gifts to adults. Whew! We also discovered that as our kids, nieces and nephew grew older, no matter how much we asked their parents for gift ideas or turned our kishkes inside out looking for gifts, the one thing all of the children cherished was — the gift of green stuff. This one was saving for something electronic, that one for a car (and/or car insurance), another for college spending money, another to buy stock (seriously, he started as a pre-teen). Providing them with what they wanted/needed ensured that gifts would not collect dust.

    It may sound as though giving green stuff is cold, heartless and thoughtless, but once we decided to do so, we got the biggest hugs, smiles and thank-you’s. Sometimes ya gotta go with the flow.

    As far as the cooking, thanks to the modern miracle of the food processor, latkes are a breeze.

    To my friends who celebrate Christmas, etc…, the effort and joy with which you amazingly cook, bake, decorate and celebrate the holiday is wonderful and amazing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debbie! I know I still appreciate getting money! Do you use the food processor to shred the raw potatoes? I haven’t had a latke in a bazillion years. ~ karen!

      • Debbie says:

        Karen – you are invited to Pennsylvania for Chanukah! Come any time and I will make latkes for you. Yes, I use the food processor to shred the potatoes. We prefer shredding, though I know some folks grind them to a smooth consistency. Keep the shredded potatoes in cold water to avoid them turning a lovely shade of gray/black. Drain them thoroughly before mixing in the eggs, grated onion, salt and pepper. Some folks add back the potato starch left in the bowl after draining the potato water. I add as little matzoh meal/flour as possible, just enough as a binder.

        There are fancy latke recipes, but I’ll take a basic crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, golden latke with (homemade) applesauce anytime. I must admit that, oh darn it, some of mine get very well done (yum, yum). I hope you get a chance to make some – maybe on December 1 when you are crying tears of joy that are diamonds!

  74. Amanda says:

    I did this for the first time last year and I’m so glad I did because I got the practice in-this year our second little is due dec the 30 and I have so many other things on my mind this is going to totally help me stay on track!!! So glad you posted it again!!!

  75. theresa says:

    As with most goals, so long as you try you get further along than you had thought. So I will gladly try again this year as the list really helps balance my love of winter holidays with then huge amount of work I have this season (not retail related just the way my work load falls)
    Had a bit of a panic mid-October but got some great gifts made for the stylish girls on my list and so feeling better about being on track. As a catholic I hold that cards can be sent out as late as epiphany as that is part of the season…

  76. Karen J says:

    I’m in. I already had some Christmas gifts before November this year… unfortunately they were gifts I failed to get mailed in time for last Christmas. Obviously I need a little more structure. We’ll see how it goes.

  77. Karen W says:

    As yet another female with a tendency toward anxiety, I have to say I appreciate this reminder to get stuff done. Planning ahead is the only way! Then I can sit back and drink cider and be thankful for Jesus come Dec 25 🙂 best wishes to all of you in your efforts!

  78. Brenda says:

    I’m in. Why not the stores have Christmas stuff BEFORE Halloween. If you do crafts you had better start now. I have wine cork reindeer started. Happy Holidays or is that pushing it too far!!

  79. Aldrea says:

    I am one of those who firmly believe that I shouldn’t see anything Christmasy until the day after Thanksgiving, and that Christmas music should only be played December 23rd through 25th (which are coincidentally the days I wrap all my Christmas gifts). But last year I tried to ‘get ahead’ and make everyone’s gifts by hand starting Dec. 1 (hah), and I had an absolute meltdown. So I’ve downloaded your calendar and I’m going to give it a try this year!

  80. Sarah says:

    I’m in for the first time! I don’t know why I have never actually thought of this before because now that I read your pledge it’s so dang intuitive that it should be done early. My major hold-up is actually financial because we really need to use part of our December budget/paycheck for many of the gifts but I think I can have everything set in my Amazon cart (thank the LORD for online shopping) and then when the check comes on the 25th of November I can get busy and push some of the wrapping into the beginning of December and still have a relatively restful and happy December! The major thing I’m scratching my head over is “do outdoor planters.” What are these outdoor planters I’m supposed to “do” and what does this “doing” involve? Feeling concerned that I’ve missed a significant Christmas tradition in my lifetime somehow…

  81. Anita says:

    I’m so in this year! Usually I can’t get started in time and then I think, “Why bother? It’s too late to take the pledge,” and then my December is insane. This year I HAVE to do it. My folks are coming for Christmas. I don’t know when they plan to arrive. My husband is being sent to Belgium for work for 2 weeks sometime in December. They still don’t have the dates set, so I can’t rely on him for help with any of it. All I know is my house is a frikkin’ disaster right now, so I’m adding a week of deep cleaning, to the top of the schedule. I’m hoping this will be the year I finally get my act together and fool everyone into thinking I’m some kind of organized holiday goddess (LOL). Oh yeah, we’re traveling for Thanksgiving, so I’ll lose 8 or 9 days there too. It’s all good. I got this.

  82. Jaylah says:

    I will admit that I, too, don’t even like the thought of Christmas before Thanksgiving. I usually wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving to head up to the attic to start bringing the Christmas stuff down. No Christmas carols until at least the day after Thanksgiving, thank you. I just refuse.

    But if I’m totally honest, I have the majority of my Christmas shopping done by about March. Since I never have much luck buying clothing for family (it’s never the right size or style or whatever), I just don’t. They get something (whatever) from me that doesn’t run the risk of being “out of style” 9 months later. So I can go almost totally bat-sh** crazy with the super-low after Christmas sales. (While the lines at the return counter are incredible, the lines at the check-out counters are almost non-existent.) Stores are practically giving Christmas wrapping paper away then, too. Another plus is that I never have to cringe on the day after Christmas, knowing those credit card bills are going to start arriving soon. Christmas has long since been paid for.

    So house decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving. I actually do enjoy one evening (with a glass of eggnog by my side) with all the wrapping paper, bows and ribbons spread out on the floor with me, and I get all the gifts wrapped that evening. And that leaves me pretty much the full month of December to chill with more eggnog, or a glass of wine, or hot chocolate in front of the fire, with Christmas music softly playing in the back ground. (Besides, a tree looks rather lonely with no gifts under it. I have a full pile under mine as soon as it’s up.)

    Karen’s hysterical calendar made me think of something else, too. I don’t remember now where I saw it (probably the book, “Is Martha Stewart Living?”), but several years ago I saw a parody of the monthly calendar Martha Stewart always had in her magazine for December. (Google “Martha Stewart December Calendar parody” for examples.) I actually sent out a “Christmas letter” that year, instead of cards. But mine was more like a parody of the ubiquitous Christmas letters. Whereas most of them are full of great accomplishments and notable achievements, mine was intentionally b-o-r-i-n-g. I made mention, for example, of how many new Starbucks had opened in town over the past year. And on the back-side of my letter, I created my own “Martha Stewart Christmas Calendar.” One day was, if I recall, devoted to glittering the cat. Another was given over in its entirety to polishing each needle on the tree before decorating.

  83. I am in the ‘yes but’ camp. I totally agree and am already on it. BUT pretty much everything is handmade from me. So i would have to start in july but never do…
    This year i decided to completely over tax myself by knitting 5 new stockings for the family making a bunch of new decorations and actually buying decorations for outside….
    So yes i am on board but probably only happen if i win a small lottery. My failure is always not having the money to do things in time.

  84. Tammy S says:

    I’m all in! Been in the “Yes” camp twice so far – what a GREAT feeling it is to be done.
    At least with this, when something “unexpected” happens it does not completely de-rail my plans.
    Thank you for the shove in the right direction!

  85. Stef says:

    I’m in! You spurred me on to order Christmas cards and I was in time to use a 40% off coupon. I’m hooked!

  86. I am so doing this!!! I am usually locked in my childhood bedroom on Christmas eve, finishing up DIY gifts and wrapping furiously, while everyone else is enjoying champange. With both of my parents Birthday’s at the end of November, it’s beyond chaos. I have already bought some presents, and made my list. Going to follow your rules and get it done this year, birthday’s and all!
    Thank you for the push 🙂

  87. Mel says:

    I am firmly in the yes I take the pledge camp. Done by December has been my goal for the past 10 years and I usually succeed. This year the only change I’m making is that I am not decorating the inside of my house until the first week of December. See the thing is, by Christmas my son will be a year and a half old and I just can’t do more than a month of tree touching, pulling, climbing prevention. It’s getting knocked over though anyway I’m sure. Sigh.

  88. Jennifer says:

    I want to join because I want to have enough time to learn to purr!! Awesome ideas!

  89. Paula says:

    I’m signing up late, but since I have a couple of things bought already, I should be ok. I’m excited at the prospect of a calm Christmas. Basking, purring, napping….what a life. The thought of any of my neighbors dressed only in a fur blanket is a little frightening but stew sounds great. Especially since the cold weather got here overnight. Got up to 71 yesterday and down to the 20’s last night. Now off to make my list.

  90. Jan In Waterdown says:

    OK so here’s my prob. Everytime I shop early, either the stuff I buy goes on sale closer to Christmas and that makes me CRAZY or I change my mind about what to give that person or come up with a waaaay better idea. Wish I knew hot to solve that . . . any ideas? anyone?

  91. calliek says:

    I think this is very smart. Thankfully I don’t actually do most of the things on that list in the first place ( no cards, no cookies, and minimal decor) and this year for the first time ever I am skipping Christmas with my family. I feel so relaxed already I may not need to take the pledge! But I’m bowing to your wisdom, going to make a list of things I do plan on doing,and see if I can fit them into your template.

  92. Serduszko says:

    I didn’t participate last year because this came out just before I had my twin boys.. This year, I AM IN! Christmas pledge, don’t fail me now!!! 🙂

  93. Dana says:

    I just discovered I’m a christmas pledge slacker! I decided to take the challenge. I started shopping. I bought cards. It felt great! However, I’ve had a setback…. despite the early cold snowy weather here, I can’t seem to wholeheartedly write and address the cards! It just doesn’t feel like Christmas yet. Writing “Merry Christmas” just feels…empty. I’m not giving up entirely…. Maybe next week…..

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  95. Laura Bee says:

    Putting up lights today if I can find them. Appliance two busted beyond repair. Getting a “new” washing machine tomorrow. Enjoying the new furnace though. I really want this pledge to work for me this year.

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