12 Days of Christmas

12 days of Christmas

Creating a Christmas Habit

It all started at the end of 2000. We started celebrating my 50th birthday (Jan, 2001). We took off before Thanksgiving and spent 6 weeks in New Orleans, Louisiana. This was just the beginning of my 50th birthday celebration, I spent the rest of the year traveling the world, Malasia, Singapore, London, Paris, and Massa, Italy.

I had 2 grandchildren at this time. Jessica was 4 years old. Abigail was just 1 - 1/2 years old. I thought that I would like to do something to make it special for Jessica since I wasn't going to be there for Christmas.

So I searched the French Quarter and the Farmers Market for things I could send her. I got this idea of 12 days of Chirstmas. So I gathered beads, dolls, alligators, masks, candy and pencils. The post office was just blocks away from the apartment that we rented. So everyday I took my little packages to the mail box and mailed them to Jessica.

It was a BIG HIT! She would sit by the glass door everyday waiting for the mailman to come. Everybody loves to get mail and a package, what fun. For Jessica is was the best 12 days of Christmas ever.

So, it's now 2007 and I am out trying to find items for the 12 days of Christmas for 7 grandchildren. I have been using alot more candy and gum to send. 4 of my grandchildren are at my oldest daughters and one at my middle daughters and two at my youngest daughters.

I have tried to think about stop doing the 12 days of Christmas. But you should hear them holler!

Just do the figures
  • 1 x 7 = 7 items for the first day
  • 2 x 7 = 14 items for the second day
  • 3 x 7 = 21 items for the third day
  • 4 x 7 = 28 items for the fourth day
  • 5 x 7 = 35 items for the fifth day
  • 6 x 7 = 42 items for the sixth day
  • 7 x 7 = 49 items for the seventh day
  • 8 x 7 = 56 items for the eigth day
  • 9 x 7 = 63 items for the nineth day
  • 10 x 7 = 70 items for the tenth day
  • 11 x 7 = 77 items for the eleventh day
  • 12 x 7 = 84 items for the twelfth day
  • Making a grand total of 546 items. So you have to keep your cost way down.

  • Now figure the postage (at $5.00 each) for 12 days x 3 = $180.00

The Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas

You're all familiar with the Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I think. To most it's a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose when it was written.

It is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts.

Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public. It was a crime to BE a Catholic.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith - a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head - or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I'm not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. Hanging, drawing and quartering involved hanging a person by the neck until they had almost, but not quite, suffocated to death; then the party was taken down from the gallows, and disembowelled while still alive; and while the entrails were still lying on the street, where the executioners stomped all over them, the victim was tied to four large farm horses, and literally torn into five parts - one to each limb and the remaining torso.

The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."

The other symbols mean the following:

  • 2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
  • 3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
  • 4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
  • 5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
  • 6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
  • 7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
  • 8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
  • 9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
  • 10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
  • 11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
  • 12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

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