The Christmas Pledge
Take 2.

I got a takeout coffee last week.

For those of you in Italy, Portugal and the like, a takeout coffee is a coffee they give you in a paper cup that you leave the coffee shop with. You do not have to bring the cup back.

So, to further explain you buy a coffee and then … you take it  out into the world with you. Takeout coffee.

You can take it with you wherever you’re going. To another store or on a walk or to the mall.  If you aren’t familiar with  malls, they’re just like hell but instead of fire and brimstone, there’s teenagers and fluorescent lighting.   And Cinnabon.

You do not have to relax in the cafe you purchased the coffee in. The concept of the takeout coffee allows you to maintain your rapid fire North American pace of a chihuahua on speed.

Now that I’ve cleared that up I’ll get back to my story. I got a coffee last week that came in a holiday cup. It was a deep red with white snowflakes all over it. It screamed CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!!

And then *I* screamed CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!!  Right there in the coffee shop.



So it is with great sadness that I must tell you  … it’s time to take the 30 day Christmas Pledge.

It was one year ago, almost to the day, that I announced last year’s Christmas Pledge and invited you to take the challenge with me.  The challenge I present you with, is to get all the crap you need to get done for the holidays, before the holidays. Within the next 30 days to be precise.  That will give you the entire month of December to actually enjoy the holidays.  To embrace them instead of dread them.

If you take my 30 day Christmas Pledge, by December 5th you will be done everything you need to do.  Your present buying, your house decorating, your Christmas Card sending … all of it.  Freeing up the entire month of December to do stuff you want to do.  Create a life sized Gingerbread House?  You can do it.  Knit your pets leisure suits out of cooked spaghetti?  You can do it.

The possibilities are endless when you take the Christmas Pledge.

So take the Christmas pledge with me …


“I,    (insert name here)   being of sound mind and slightly jiggly body, agree to take the Christmas Pledge.  I pledge to get all the crap done I need to, by December 5th.  And then I will lounge and eat chips.” [/print_this]


This pledge is applicable to Hanukkah or Kwanza or whatever other holiday you celebrate that seems to last for a month.

I will be keeping you updated as to my progress (I actually hope to be done by Sunday, December 2nd but I’m an overachiever like that) and I expect you to do the same. Come the first week in December, I plan to be full of Christmas cheer and as far away from hell as possible.


  1. Langela says:

    Btw, Karen, can I copy and paste your pledge onto my blog with a link back to you? It’s ok with me if you don’t want me to, just let me know.

    • Karen says:

      Why wouldn’t I want you to, you loon? Go ahead! And congrats on your first Christmas at home in 18 years. You’ll love it! ~ karen

  2. Langela says:

    My sound mind and jiggly body take the pledge. It’ll be so much easier this year. There is a huge rift between our family and my in-laws, so no presents for them and no visiting them! FREEDOM! I have not had a Christmas at home in 18 years and I am looking forward to it this year. All that to say, I have very few gifts to get and will have them done online by your deadline.

  3. Lynne says:

    Oh my. Potty mouth. You said the word CHR&*^#@$ so early in the season ??!! I hate you and love you, all at once.

  4. Tasha says:

    I did it last year, and my husband did too. We loved it. You changed Christmas, and for the better.

    This year, we’re doing it again. DH is all about it. AND my parents are leaving to go back to their place on December 4. We HAVE to be done shopping by then since they will be lugging up a lot of our stuff in preparation for our Christmas visit.

  5. Dana says:

    I remembered!! I bought my Christmas cards last night and I SWEAR that I’m getting them addressed and signed before Thanksgiving! I will mail them Thanksgiving weekend so that I can be the first card on the mantle :) And I plan to order all my stuff from Amazon. I hate shopping anyway and I have no plans to spend a single moment elbowing nasty people at the mall. I’ve been making canned goods for Christmas gifts all year long so I’m a little bit ahead – now if I can just get them to the danged post office by the 5th. Shoot, one year I handed out freshly home-processed 6 lb chickens as Christmas presents a mere week before and I’m not afraid to do it again. That’s a very practical handmade gift!

  6. Sarah in Illinois says:

    I am 100% on board with this. I want to ENJOY Christmas! We are even cracking down on our Christmas budget, no more going into debt to give someone something they may not like or need.

    However, I am putting my house on the market in the next 3 weeks so I may be a little stressed but I am going to do my darndest to take your pledge! If I go crazy between now and then, I will try to read your blog when they commit me!

  7. ruth says:

    I cannot pledge because I will surely fail. BUT, I will do some things, and I have some shopping already done. Good luck and great joy everyone!

  8. JebberA says:

    Sorry. Can’t do it. I’m too busy growing a moustache.

  9. Jen says:

    I have 6 vacation days I still need to use between now and Dec 24…instead of taking them the week before Christmas, I’ve decided to take them the first week of December so I can cross everything off my Christmas to-do list by then. I will join the pledge, because it really would be sweet to use those vacation days for lounging and eating chips.

    Lights go up this weekend!

  10. Brenda J. M says:

    Well… I got my first tattoo (last Thursday) and I will try this too. Not like you can “try” a tattoo…nuff said.

  11. Sarah A. says:

    I’ll take the pledge! I tried last year, and missed it by a couple days. I can’t wait to lay around and eat chips!

  12. Patti says:

    I took your pledge last year, Karen, and it made Christmas SUCH a joy, in comparison to the stressy chaotic thing Christmas usually is. So yes, I absolutely take the pledge! In fact, I just booked off November 23rd so my mom and I can go on our Christmas Shopping blitz. Booyeah!

    I`m right with ya, sista!

  13. Shelly McKay says:

    Count me in!!!!

    More time to stare at the tree while listening to the Andrews Sisters…….& sipping on a spiced rum & eggnog (or 2…..ok, ok……maybe 3) ;0)

    • Sue From Vermont says:

      The Andrews Sisters rock! I also hereby (somewhat solemnly) pledge to get all of my ChristmaHannuQuanzzukah crap done by December 5th. Last year was the first time in 12 years that I didn’t send out my tongue-in-cheek family Christmas letter, and although I was relieved at the time, during this past year I’ve had so many people tell me how much they missed it! So depression be darned, I’m going to do my best to find my sense of humor again. Thanks for providing the jumping off point.

  14. Pat says:

    Yesterday my neighbour across the street put up his outdoor Christmas lights. I was making snide comments and now feel repentant as I am thinking he took “the pledge”. However, I think it is a bit early to have the Christmas lights actually blazing away in the B.C. rain but who am I to dampen his pre-Christmas spirit. Okay, maybe I’ll start the gift shopping. Weeelll, I guess I’ll take that stupid ole pledge.

  15. Lori says:

    Karen…KAREN….KAREN!!!!! my husband and I (mainly my husband but I always try to get in on his antics) tried this last year and it did not work! We tried and tried. Much to our dismay, you name kept coming up…day after day… “Karen would have this done by now”, “Karen is much better at this than we because she would have this done by now”…and on and on it went. I wonder if he (we’ll) try it again this year. He hats putting up lights in the freezing cold rainy snow of western Pennsylvania on Christmas eve! What are we going to do?

  16. AmieM says:

    Sounds like a plan, Stan!

    I already have 1 stocking stuffer down, and am working on a group donation plan instead of friends presents this year. UNICEF is going to get a lot of action from my credit card this holiday season!

    Also, the Man decided at midnight on Halloween that the spooky decorations must come down, now, and the Christmas ones must go up, now. So decorating is already halfway there!

  17. Rachele says:

    I’m doin’ it this year! I am so ready. I made my list this weekend, and I’ve picked fabrics for some of my homesewn stuff. Only the baked goods will wait until the week of.

  18. Terry Sears says:

    Good post Karen, I printed off the pledge card and filled it out I will pin it up on my wife’s notice board. I will get her right on it.
    Ok, don’t freak out just kidding. I love Xmas and do a lot to help out. I bake the treats, write the cards, I get the outdoor lights up, the tree is mine as well to put up and string the lights, (I get all the electrical stuff) but as a family we decorate it together one weekend when everyone is free to come over. I love to go shopping as well, my wife picks out all the appropriate thoughtful gifts and I tag along behind pointing out all the neat stuff that someone somewhere could use. I find that very satisfying knowing I have helped make someones Xmas just a little happier. But seriously Xmas is the best time of the year our family enjoys it immensely, a time for us to get together and enjoy each others company and lots of good food the planning and preparation is all part of that joy and anticipation but alas it passes all to quickly. Merry Preparation to you and the guy. As always thanks for another entertaining blog

    • Linda says:

      Are you freaking kidding???!!! A fella who bakes AND shops AND enjoys the holidays?!! Would you consider starting a “Rent a Hubby” business? Just for a day of shopping and baking….as my Christmas present?

  19. I’m physically and mentally unable to comply.
    My brain says yes! But my body wonders why?
    Shopped early but, don’t remember what I buy.
    Not remembering where I put it always makes me cry.
    Your pledge I read and heaved a great big sigh,
    For in this land of after stroke……what was the question?

  20. SuzyM says:

    Since Hanukkah begins on 12/8 I figure I’m toast already! Not a nice cinnamon swirl with cream cheese frosting toast, but white Wonder Bread, toast.

    PS I’m trying to figure out how to make that sunflower garland around the entry mirror holiday glitzy. Would putting glitter on it work?

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Yes. Sparkles always work. Tie some fishing line around a few dreidels and hang them off and you’re done! ~ karen

  21. Thera says:

    Seriously? It’s that time of year again?
    But you are right Karen and a great motivator, so I will get my @ss in gear and get on board…

    “I, Thera, being somewhat sound of mind and more than slightly jiggly body, agree to take the Christmas Pledge. I pledge to get all the crap done I need to, by December 5th. And then I will lounge and eat Hershey’s Kisses.”

  22. DonnaBoo says:

    Ok. American here, so I have Thanksgiving added to the holiday mix. Plus my birthday. Plus a trip from Dec 6-15th.

    I’m going for it. My December jacket may resemble a straitjacket, but what the hell.

  23. Pilar says:

    Hello Karen. First I want to express you my sincere admiration for your work and my gratitude for sharing with us so many good ideas an thoughts.
    But let me introduce myself: I’m an in Austria living spanish woman (by the way, excuse my gramatical faults!). I came 17 years ago for holidays and went to have a walk in the small town where I was hosted. I saw a hen family crossing the street, walking allong without fear of any danger that might happen. This was a flash experience for me and I thought in this moment: this must be a good place to stay, to marry and to have a child. And that’s what I did two years later! But since then, I’m trying to keep for my family both traditions -the austrian and the spanish-, more or less successfull. Anyway it is allways a very difficult time for my to have my work done until christmas. This year I will follow your plan in the hope, that chrismas will be also for me a peacefull holiday! Thank you Karen!

  24. Reg says:

    Ahhh, but you would miss the hustle and bustle of the crowds in malls, the Christmas music blaring in every store, trying to find a parking spot at said mall, the oh dear they don’t have it in the size I need, what is again that my grandson wants and it’s HOW MUCH?
    Then there is the possibility of a snow dump that will make everyone merry and bright. Every year I say to myself I will start early but I really don’t want to be looking at Christmas decorations in the house for a whole month. By Dec. 26th I want it gone. It’s bad enough stores start bringing out Christmas stuff before Hallowe’en.
    I’ll probably one of those people circling the parking lot of some mall Dec.20th. looking for a spot closer than than a mile away and cursing the guy in the truck with reindeer antlers on the hood.
    On second thought maybe I will consider taking the pledge.

  25. Rose says:

    I need Help!
    Is there some such schedule or list that I should be making? How the heck do you get started on this epic quest? My BIGGEST hurdle is those darn Christmas cards! I go soooo close last year, I actually was addressing them, but they never made it to the post office.
    “I, Rose being of somewhat sound mind and very jiggly body, agree to take the Christmas Pledge. I pledge to get all the crap done I need to, by December 5th. And then I will lounge and eat chips.”

    • Karen says:

      Congratulations Rose. Admitting you have a problem is always the first step. Now you’re on the road to frantic Christmas recovery. ~ karen!

  26. Ann says:

    Can’t do it this year. We are having a sunroom addition put on the house sometime between now and Christmas making it impossible to try and decorate before then. Plus I am not doing any sweets baking this year due to my new dietary lifestyle.

    So all I have to do before the big day is to finishing knitting 2 hoodies, 2 pair of socks, a scarf, several hotpad sets and whatever else I decide in a panic I need to give as gifts!

  27. Tris says:

    I, Tris, being of sound mind and slightly jiggly body, agree to take the Christmas Pledge. I pledge to get all the crap done I need to, by December 5th. And then I will lounge and eat chips. If I, Tris, become ill during said time period with the flu that always seems to hit my household and therefore am not of sound mind and slightly jiggly body but of fevered mind and mucus dripping body, then all bets are off.

  28. karol says:

    Tree up, gift list done, most of the gifts purchased. Check, check, and check! My middle name is DucksInaRow, so I’m way ahead of the game. My personal challenge is to have it all done by Thanksgiving, and find a way to keep my 10 month old granddaughter out of my tree. Then it’s eggnog time.

  29. Bonnie says:

    But, but, but, if I take the pledge, how can I partake in the annual, “I have no idea what to get my siblings this year, Marathon” which occurs on or about Dec. 15th, sponsored by my husband?
    Never mind the 12 + months preceding the “event” which in most cases should have been ample prep time. No, in this house we need the sweaty-forehead, tremors, and hand-wringing up until it is too late for overnight delivery.
    I really would LOVE to join in this year’s pledge, but somehow I think it is against some sort of familial religious belief.

  30. Laura Bee says:

    But no decorating here until after my daughter’s b-day on the 19th – is that enough time? I already started presents this summer. I want to believe it can be done this year. I do solemly swear I will try.

  31. Elle says:

    I would take the pledge only my mind is “slightly jiggly” as well… so I don’t qualify (though I already know what we’re having for Xmas dinner except for the dessert. And I might venture to make my own alcoholic apple cider this year. Who knows)

    PS since I don’t live in North America anymore I miss Cinnabons terribly. I’ve tried baking them at home but nothing even comes close.

  32. Jennifer R says:

    I am so going to do this! I’ve started and the presents are stashed in the trunk of the car as we speak…..

  33. Shannon says:

    For those of us *lucky* enough to have a Wal-mart nearby we have been seeing Christmas crap since the back-to-school supplies were depleted (which of course began before school was out last year!) ! A big thank you to big business for *reminding* us that the Holidays were only 4 months away!

    Side note: Count me in..I’m a glutton for punishment, I have 5 children and out of town relatives coming to stay for the month of December, but I know it’ll be worth it!

  34. ktr says:

    That is why online shopping was created – so I can avoid hell all year long!

  35. Beckie says:

    I try to do my holidays one at a time…thus it will be after American Thanksgiving that I begin my holiday freak-fest…but I generally do well…I make a list =D

    good luck on your challenge…er…plan!!

  36. I do swear…come hell or high water. Come thanksgiving and family. Come sickness and exhaustion. To get my Christmas on and done in…(gulp) 30 days.
    okay…no lies. I did crossies.

  37. Rachel says:

    I went into the grocery store yesterday and it was full-on christmas…looked like Santa had thrown up in isle 7. I’m going to Floriad for a week, hopefully it’s not Christmas there yet!

  38. Tiinity says:

    Could escaping xmas also count..?

  39. ev says:

    Though I certainly sympathize with Sam, gotta confess that last night I started making Christmas cards! I got some new dies for my machine and want to actually enjoy the process this year instead of looking over my shoulder at the dreaded calendar! And I too have Halloween pumpkins and other such stuff still around me. And might even have to decorate for Thanksgiving this year yet. My small grandchildren are now old enough to get into such things.
    Anyway, I am taking the pledge as of now. Thanks for lighting the fire, Karen!

  40. Merle Lambert says:

    What happened to decorating for Thanksgiving? I like to leave my pumpkins and other Fall decorations through Thanksgiving Day…and then it’s ON. “Black Friday” shopping; Saturday, put up the tree and start decorating the house inside and out. I like to save some shopping for the last week before Christmas, it ramps up the excitement. It does sound like a lot to do in a short time, but everyone in the household is involved (6 of us), so we love it. The day after New Years Day, everything comes down!

    • Karen says:

      Merle – That’s fine you can shop and do decorating at the end of November after Thanksgiving. Prior to that you can make lists of what you want to buy, buy all of your wrapping paper, write out and stamp all of your Christmas cards etc. etc. See? Never a moment wasted. ~ karen

  41. Erica Filpi says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. My friends all laugh at me because my Xmas cards are always sent out on Black Friday and my Christmas shopping is generally finished by the first week in December. I’m not alone, woohoo.

  42. Heather says:

    Hmmm… A pledge you say?? Before pledging something I need more details please. It seems this is a type of pledge that might have very fine print and a lot of clauses.

  43. I took the pledge last year and am very happy to take it again. Here’s to a hell-less December!


  44. Spokangela says:

    Boy am I glad you cleared THAT up… I was certian that was a real starbucks cup.

    It is really nice to picture myself actually getting the Christmas madness out of the way and knitting things with spaghetti… but I know it will take me years to even come close.

    But, I will tell you that your pledge last year inspired me to at least try to be a bit more on top of things this year and I am happy to announce that I actually bought a Christmas gift already!! :) :) This is the earliest I have ever done that so if every year I add a task: add the 10 or so other people I buy for plus baking plus decorating plus cards I should have it DOWN by 2027!! Not bad…

  45. KiwiKat says:

    I have lights up that have been up since last year – they are solar powered and make me smile each night when they come on, so I figure why not? I live alone, so it’s not like anyone has a go at me about them, and the cat really doesn’t care either way, as long as he is fed. I refuse to put up the tree before 1 December, but it only takes a couple of hours to decorate my whole house. Christmas is fairly low-key in my family anyway, so no stress, no fuss is the way to go!

  46. Kristina says:

    I can’t participate. I gave up Christmas for Lent.

  47. Laura says:

    Oh this made such a difference for me last year!!! I will, of course, take the pledge again!

  48. Angela says:

    I’m still living overseas, so I definitely have to take the Christmas pledge again. Christmas cards are usually my biggest problem, since I have to have them shipped to me and then put them together and mail them back to ‘Merica. And I’m planning on buying a few of my daughter’s gifts the day after Thanksgiving, so I’ll have to wait for them to be shipped before I can get them wrapped up and such. It’s a good thing she’s so cute, because she sure makes Christmas more complicated!

  49. Sam says:

    #*:* no! I still have pumpkins on my front porch for crying out loud! I’m not pledging a damned thing until my massive Guy Faulk-mask wearing gargoils are put away…

    I refuse to look at any *#:#ing sparkly snowflakes for at least 2 more weeks! Then god help anything that’s not tied down… For it will become sparkled!!!.

    Is there a “lol” for “swear out loud”, because that’s what I did when I saw your post! Lol :)

    • Laura Bee says:

      SOL is already taken, and that’s where I usually am when it comes to getting ready on time. COL (Cursing Out Loud!) SLADS (Swearing Like A Drunken Sailor!)

    • Kim says:

      I think the acronym you are looking for is “WTF” or edited for print “WTH”
      Thinking I spewed my coffee over Christmas pledge already upon us… WTF??

  50. Kirsten says:

    I started in August- since I work customer service in one of your aforementioned hells, I wanted to get it out of the way as soon as possible! Not quite done yet, though – but I credit you for planting the idea of starting early, since I saw this pledge last year.

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