Family and Personal

The Twelve Days of Christmas Revised

christmas celebrations

We all know the traditional song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” which is about the gifts given to a sweetheart over the festive period. It is still sung regularly during the Christmas season despite the fact that the song dates from the 18th century and the gifts have no relevance today. Indeed the items mentioned in the song have no discernible significance and may have meant little even when the lyrics were first recorded. The origins of the song are unclear but may it have begun with a multi-player memory game in which the first person recited a verse and then each participant added a new verse and then repeated the previous one until one of the players made a mistake. The player who erred then had to fulfill a forfeit. This is how the song is presented in the first known written version which appeared in the book “Mirth without Mischief” published in 1780.

christmas celebrations

The Original Lyrics

The song has twelve verses starting with “on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree”. It then moves on to the second day of Christmas adding a new gift until it arrives at the final verse listing all of the gifts proffered. I am sure you know how it goes but in case you have forgotten the last verse is as follows:

On the twelfth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Twelve Drummers Drumming,
Eleven Pipers Piping,
Ten lords-a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing
Eight Maids-a-milking,
Seven swans-a-swimming
Six geese-a-laying
Five gold rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Bringing the Song up to Date

I started wondering what the song would have said had it been written more recently. I doubt whether any modern lyricist would think to include geese or milking maids which would have been unlikely presents even in 1780! In the absence of a modern version of the song I have written some new words myself, which seem more appropriate to the 21st century. I have to say that my new array of presents would prove rather costly and use a huge amount of Christmas gift wrap and ribbons but here is my suggestion for a new version of the song:

On the twelfth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Twelve iTunes downloads,
Eleven Blu-ray movies,
Ten Facebook credits,
Nine body piercings,
Eight Starbucks coffees,
Seven digital cameras,
Six Apple iPads,
Five X Box games,
Four Pandora charms
Three New e-books
Two Kindle Fires
And a Samsung Galaxy S III

Can You do Better?

OK I know it is not perfect but it is a start and perhaps you can do better? I am all for Christmas traditions and I love wrapping up presents but the old version of the song just simply won’t do any more!

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