The Twelve days of Christmas

The song was composed by Catholics in England during the 16th Century.  They were forbidden by law to practice their Catholic faith.  The only legal church in england was the state church.  To teach their children the basic doctrine, they used nonsense songs that would not raise the suspicions of the non-Catholics around them, but would remind the children of their faith.

On the first day of Christmas— the days of Christmas are counted from December 26th to January 6th, the traditional day for celebrating the coming of the wise men— also called the "Epiphany."

A partidge in a pear tree— is a reference to Jesus and the cross (a mother partidge will literally rist her life for her children.  See John 10:14-15 and Matthew 23:37).

Two turtle doves— is a reference to the two testaments of the Bible (Old and New) and also could remind them of the sacrifice offered at Jesus dedication in the Temple when he was 12 (Leviticus 12:8, Luke 2:24).

Three french hens— is a reference to the three gifts given by the wise men (gold, frankincense, and myrrh; Matthew 2:10-11) or to 3 virtues of Christ; faith, hope and love (I Corinthians 13) or to the three persons of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

Four calling birds— is a reference to the four Gospels— Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Five golden rings— is a reference to the first five books of the Old Testament, the law of Moses, also called the Torah.

Six geese a-laying— is a reference to the six days of creation (Genesis 1:31-2:2).  Remember, God rested on the 7th day.

Seven swans a-swimming— is a reference to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in Romans 12:6-8.  Prophesy, service, teaching, encouragement, ocntribution, leadership, and mercy.

Eight maids a-milking— is a reference to the eight beatitudes listed in Matthew 5:3-10.

Nine ladies dancing— is a reference to the nine fruits of the Spirit described in Galations 5:22-23.  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindnewss, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Ten Lords a-leaping— is a reference to the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17).

Eleven pipers piping— is a reference to the 11 original disciples wo did not forsake the faith (Acts 1:13) as Judas did in betraying Christ (John 17:12) and through whom the gospel was preached to the whole world (Matthew 28:19; Romans 10:18-21).

Twelve drummers drumming— is a reference to the twelve points of belief found in the Apostle's Creed (if you don't have a copy— check the back part of the hymnal next time you're in church).

Save this for use next Christmas time as a family Bible study— you'll be glad you did.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Dec. 14, 1995

My Dearest Peter,

The cute little partridge arrived a little while ago, and the pear tree sapling came a little while later.  I'm not sure of the connection, but I love them.

Love always,


Dec 15, 1995

Dearest Peter,

Today the postman brought your very sweet gift.  Just imagine, two turtle doves.  I'm just delighted at your thoughtful gift.  They are adorable.

All my love,


Dec. 16, 1995

Dearest Peter,

Aren't you the extravagent one.  Now, I really must protest.  I don't deserve such generosity, three French hens.  They are just darling, but I must insist, you are too kind.



Dec 17, 1995

Dearest Peter,

Today the postman delivered four calling birds.  Now really, they are quite beautiful, but don't you think enough is enough?  You are being too romantic.



Dec. 18, 1995

Dearest Peter,

What a surprise!  Today the postman delivered five golden rings – one for each finger.  You are just impossible, but I love it.  Frankly, all those birds squawking were beginning to get on my nerves.

All my love,


Dec. 19, 1995

Dear Peter,

When I opened the door, there were actually six geese-a-laying on my front step.  So your back to the birds again, huh?  These geese are huge! Where will I keep them?  The neighbors are complaining and I can't get any sleep through all the racket.  Please stop.



Dec 20, 1995


What is it with you and those fucking birds?  Seven swans-a-swimming.  What kind of god-damned joke is this?  There is bird shit all over my house, and they never stop with the racket.  I can't sleep at night and I'm a nervous wreck.  It's not funny, so stop with those fucking birds.



Dec. 21, 1995

O.K. Buster,

I think I prefer the birds.  What the hell am I going to do with eight maids-a-milking? It's not enough with all those birds and eight maids-a-milking, but they brought along their goddamned cows.  There is shit all over my lawn, and I can't move around in my own house.

Just lay off me,


Dec. 22, 1995

Hey Shithead,

What are you?  Some kind of sadist?  Now there's nine pipers playing, and do they play.  They've never stopped chasing those maids since they got here.  The cows are getting upset and they're stepping all over those screeching birds.  What am I going to do? The neighbors have started a petition to evict me.

You'll get yours,


Dec. 23, 1995

You Rotten Prick,

Now there are ten ladies dancing.  I don't know why they call these sluts ladies. They've been balling those pipers all night long.  Now the cows can't sleep and they've got diarrhea.  My living room is a river of shit.  The Commissioner of Buildings has subpeoned me to give cause why the building shouldn't be condemned.  I'm siccing the police in you.

One who means it!

Dec. 24, 1995

Listen Fuckhead,

What's with the eleven lords-a-leaping on those maids and ladies.  Some of those broads will never walk again.  Those pipers ran through the maids and are committing sodomy with the cows.  All 23 of the birds are dead.  They've been trampled to death in the orgy.  I hope you're satisfied you rotten bastard.

Your sworn enemy,

Dec. 26, 1995

Dear Sir,

This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve drummers drumming, which you have seen fit to inflict upon our client, Miss Dori Drawers.  The destruction, of course, was total.  All further correspondence should come to our attention.  If you should attempt to reach Miss Drawers at the Happy Dale Sanitarium, the attendants have instructions to shoot you on sight.  With this letter, please find a warrant for your arrest.