Let’s Chat! Twelve Days of Christmas

Christmas and Beyond: Welcome, everyone!

 

Christmas Day, December 25, marks the first of Twelve Days of Christmas

By Xavier Romero-Frias – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23287278

Twelve days for Christmas? As a child I wondered whose Christmas was twelve days long. Mine was only one. How could I snag a dozen of the grand days?

I Googled it, and here’s what I learned:

Supposedly, the Twelve Days of Christmas refers to the days between Christmas and Epiphany on January 6, the traditional date on which the Wise Men arrived to welcome the Christ Child.

The first known print version of the song we sing appeared in England in 1780 in a children’s book entitled Mirth and Mischief. It was intended as a cumulative memory game.

12 Days Christmas_Linda Brooks DavisThe subtitle: “Sung at King Pepin’s ball.” Since the only known King Pepin, father of Charlemagne, ruled France 752-768, this suggests it originated in France a millennium prior to 1780.   

Considering the antiquity of the song, it’s no wonder I scratch my head at a Christmas lasting twelve days. And at the assorted birds and strange personages considered plum presents. 

As a writer of historical fiction, I wonder how twelve days of Christmas memories might look. 

Day 1: Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the First of Twelve Days of Christmasmy true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree. Hmm. Pear trees don’t grow in my back yard. Furthermore, I wouldn’t know what to do with a partridge perched in a pear tree anyway.

But I’ve set up a Christmas tree or two in 72 years of life. The earliest tree in my memory wore a frock of silver icicles. Beneath her petticoats lay treasures galore: a china tea set, a dolly in a carriage, and a rocker of my own.

Bright ornaments galore dangled in her boughs like partridges in pear trees. I recall their shapes. Colors. And texturesHere are a few ornaments from my childhood: 

This one brings to mind a far-off star that came to Earth when a certain Prince was born:

The soft pink reminds me of my dolly’s blanket:

These stripes bring to mind ribbon candy: 

12 Days of Christmas_Linda Brooks Davis 

 The blue in the last ornament? A blue norther.
(That’s Texas speak for cold front.)

These old ornaments aren’t partridges. And I didn’t hang them in a pear tree. They’re symbols of true love–my parents’ and God’s. No partridge or pear tree can compare.

Day 2: Two Turtle Doves

What I love about these featured friends is they generally bond for life. Isn’t that sweet? 

This reminds me of my parents on all those Christmas mornings growing up. Often holding hands, they had way more fun sitting to the side watching us than we did opening packages. Their smiles outdid the tree lights. 

Christmas_Linda Brooks Davis

Day 3: Three French Hens

When asked what comes in 3s at Christmastime, who doesn’t think Wise Men? Or the three Christian virtues–faith, hope, and love–or the Holy Trinity? I often think of us three Brooks kids (before there was Dale, the fourth): Jerry, Butch, and Linda. But if you peek into Mirth and Mischief, you’ll find another threesome: three French hens

http://mygoldenbuffies.weebly.com/info-about-chicken-breeds-and-more.html
Retrieved from http://mygoldenbuffies.weebly.com/info-about-chicken-breeds-and-more.html on December 14, 2016.

What’s so great about French hens? Well, the term crève-cœur refers to a broken heart. So maybe the poet figured a trio of Crèvecœur fowls, one of the oldest French breeds, could mend a maid’s broken heart thrice over. Besides, they’re known for their excellent egg production, meat quality, and friendliness. 

However the best party-of-three in my box of Christmas memories has to be my triplet grandchildren in 2005: Ethan, Ella, and Davis.

Day 4: Four Colly Birds

On the fourth day our famous giver presents his true love four colly birds. (We now say calling birds, but the original is colly, which means black as coal-the common blackbird.) 

Public Domain: [[File/Nederlandsche vogelen (KB) – Turdus merula (016f).jpg|Nederlandsche vogelen (KB) – Turdus merula (016f)]]

Check out Wikipedia’s recordings of blackbirds’ songs. They’re actually quite nice, which surprises me. The black birds that hung around our farm when I was girl produced a “caw” like crows. Not something you’d give someone you love. 

Four colly birds brings to mind my three brothers and me as an acapella quartet. We were the Brooks Quartet, known only to family and a handful of friends. Our mother thought we were the bees’ knees, so prior to her death we recorded some songs for her funeral. We wore black, and we sang, (Mother would have loved it) so I guess you’d say we gifted her with four colly calling birds. You can listen here: 

Day 5: Five Gold Rings

Thus far the singer’s true love has presented her a flock of fowls to tend. So why the departure into jewelry? Your guess is as good as mine. 

Perhaps the giver of gifts knew he’d pushed his luck as far as he could. Better come up with something grand. 

Like a golden ring for each finger of his love’s left hand.

Works for me. 

Meanwhile, the only memory of five I’ve come up with is the size of the “perfect” family of the ’50s: 5.

Day 6: Six Laying Geese

A half-dozen geese arrive on our singer’s front doorstep on day six. Not ordinary geese, mind you. These geese are a-laying. 

Now, if these six girls have been swimming with dandy suitors, they can produce a flock in less than a month.

But if they’re bachelorettes, six geese can produce more eggs than the lady of the house cares to prepare. Their eggs can be two to four times the size of a chicken egg. That’s a lot of scrambled eggs, folks. 

Geese are better watchdogs than … well, watchdogs. They’re supposedly credited with saving Rome from a total sack by the Gauls a couple thousand years ago. The dogs slept through the enemy invasion, but the geese created a racket that woke up the Romans and kept the house from coming down completely. 

A word to the wise: Don’t ruffle the feathers of a gander. He’s one tough critter. Which reminds me of my mother. You didn’t mess with her kids.

Day 7: Seven Swimming Swans

I love swans.

Are there more graceful creatures in the world? Or more romantic? Sigh …

But what would I do with seven birds with a wingspan of ten feet each? I can’t imagine all seven trying to take off and land from the bird bath out back. 


I
love that swans are monogamous. And fierce protectors of their young. Something tells me that’s exactly why the suitor in this old song gave his loved one seven swans a-swimming. He was promising to be true to her not once but seven times seven! A sign of good things to come.

One memory of swans stands out. In the early ’70s our family lived in West Germany. The Sound of Music had been filmed not far away–in the Salzburg, Austria area. So off we puttered in our little Fiat to Salzburg where we found the grand estate … the gazebo … the lake … and the swans. Yep. Swans.  

Day 8: Eight Milking Maids

Now I ask you … Why would a man woo his lady with eight unmarried women, milking or otherwise? 

Apparently when the phrase “let’s go a-milking” was common, it communicated something akin to “let’s go spooning” or “let’s get hitched.” In that case, a maid and her milk cow could represent a marriage proposal. Eight maids and eight cows would knock off the recipient’s stockings. Why?

Milk wasn’t just a nutritious drink, but from it came butter, cheese, buttermilk, yogurt, custards, etc. But it wasn’t as conveniently available in the 15th-19th centuries as in the 21st. No mechanized dairy farms. Plastic gallon jugs. Waxed cardboard half-gallons. Or refrigerated grocery shelves. Milk was only available to those who could afford to graze at least one cow or goat and a little patch of grass to feed them. Add many more, and they’d need a barn to house them, a large family or staff to milk them, and acreage to feed them.

To Milk or Not To Milk

Twelve Days Christmas_Linda Brooks Davis
I
was reared on a farm where milk cows provided our family with milk and butter. Mother could have made cheese, buttermilk, and yogurt if she had wanted. The big difference: Mother had a choice. 

Back when this song was created, a girl had to be born to–or married into–the wealth required for a stable of cows and milk maids. What girl wouldn’t want to marry an amorous fellow who could afford to give away eight cows and the girls to milk them? 

This spooning dude possessed more than a single gold coin or two. Change jingled in every pocket as he hooked his thumb at his chest and declared, “Stick with me. I’ll take you a-milking.” 

I figure our fair maiden planned to accept his proposal all along. So far she’s received a partridge, a pear tree, two turtle doves, three black birds, four French hens, five golden rings, six laying geese, seven swimming swans, and now eight maids with cows to milk.

Why not hold out a bit longer? She might get lucky and find nine dancers on her front lawn tomorrow. 

Day 9: Nine Dancing Ladies 


O
ur groom has spared no expense. He’s gifted his loved one in abundance. The geese are laying. The swans are swimming. The birds are calling. 

It’s party time!

The guests arrive–starting with nine lovely ladies, all of them, dancing.

Imagine what a colorful sight this medieval event must have been. I visualize brocade and silk gowns and a rainbow of bright veils and scarves.

Day 10: Ten Leaping Lords 

Twelve Days Christmas_Linda Brooks Davis
Source: https://www.quora.com/What-does-lords-a-leaping-mean

As if the gifts thus far didn’t raise the roof sufficiently, on the tenth day of Christmas our suitor gives his loved one ten leaping lords.

Now the courtly men join the ladies in a not-so-ordinary display of dancing.

Men danced with swords or antlers prior to battle and at grand celebrations in the Middle Ages. Their accompaniment: drums and fifes. Their dances involved great leaps that signified power and fertility–the higher the leap, the greater the victor or harvest. 

must admit I haven’t a single memory of anything that comes in tens. Do you?

Day 11: Eleven Piping Pipers

Pipes (fifes) and drums were a part of the merriment music at medieval celebrations

Not only is this groom affluent enough to purchase a bevy of fowls, he possesses enough property to house and maintain the birds and eight cows in barnyard, forest, and lake. 

This guy has the means to throw a party his guests won’t forget. Our maid should prepare herself for some serious merrymaking. 

My only memory that involves eleven of anything is my eleventh birthday party

My father treated us kids to a hayride while Mother (due to deliver a baby any minute) and two of her friends prepared our spot in the park.

The drinks were iced in a big tin pan. The weiners were sizzling on a hot grill. The buns and chips were ready. The cake was covered until the perfect time to unveil it when an ambulance screamed past the park  headed in the direction of our excursion.

Mother said later that her heart skipped a beat. Had something happened to one of us?

As it turned out, something had happened. One of the boys had tried to climb into the cab of the truck, and an overhanging tree limb knocked him through the air and plopped him onto the ground, bloodied.

Thank God, what could have been a tragedy of immense proportions turned out all right in the end. The boy sustained injury but was himself soon. 

My eleventh birthday celebration was punctuated by terror that turned into thanksgiving. My little brother was born the next day–the best belated birthday gift ever!

Day 12: Twelve Drumming Drummers


T
welve drummers
appear as the final act. 

Imagine the display of wealth. Fowls and cows with their maids. Pipes and pipers. And ladies dancing with leaping lords. And now come the drums–twelve of them. 

Imagine the racket!

dozen drummers or days brings to mind … A child’s song from church when I was growing up went something like this: “There were twelve apostles Jesus called to help Him. Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and his brother John, Philip, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon, Judas, and Bartholomew.”

It’s a Wrap—the Christmas Kind 

So there you have it, the Twelve Days of Christmas. A dozen days of feasting, music, and dancing. Twelve fantastic gifts. An ecstatic bride and groom. And a bunch of over-stuffed, partied-out guests staggering home.

What have I learned I must do to manage twelve days of Christmas? Take on the identity of a Middle Ages young woman. Catch me a wealthy man who can give me a ring for every finger of my left hand, a party worthy of song, and a grand estate with everything that goes with it.

Or

I can accept a free gift from a lowly suitor – a Carpenter who loved me enough to die for me on a criminal’s cross. He’s preparing a world of rapture beyond my imagination, one that will last not twelve days but forever. He offers me perfect love with no strings attached. A wedding gown of purest white. Joy unending. Peace that surpasses understanding. And the name I love to hear, the one the angels will declare over and over forever: Jesus. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. 

P.S. Here are a few of the “days” featured on the Christmas tree skirt I made forty-two years ago: 

~ ~ ~

Dear Lord, we acknowledge You as the reason for this season of celebrations. We celebrate not our own wealth by Yours—the gift of Your son. We offer You our praise and adoration and pray we’ll live the coming year in constant awareness of Your gifts of grace, love, joy, and peace.
~ For Jesus’ sake

14 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Twelve Days of Christmas

  1. Arletta

    I love your tree skirt – what a cool way to use doilies. I have many from my aunts and mother that I don’t know what to do with.

    And your grand babies are adorable! They look so squishable. Enjoy!

     
     
    1. Thank you, Arletta! You’ve added a touch of brightness to our conversation. That tree skirt is one of the Christmas treasures I’ll leave my offspring 🙂 42 years is a long time to keep something like that. I always packed it away carefully, but the years have been kind. Have a blessed and joyous 2019! Thanks for stopping by.

       
       
  2. SARAH TAYLOR

    Such Beautiful memories Thank you sharing Linda!

     
     
    1. Welcome, Sarah, my friend. So good to have you in our circle. Thank you for encouraging. Have a blessed 2019!

       
       
  3. Debbey

    Enjoyed reading this. There are biblical meanings to every gift. It was a way to teach youngsters about Christianity; for example the 4 Gospels…colly birds, etc. I teach it to my class every year. If you’d like to know more, I’ll be happy to share.

     
     
    1. Welcome, Debby. Yes, I read about the biblical meanings to the gifts too. Those add the richest layer of all to the song. Be blessed in 2019, friend.

       
       
  4. Perrianne Askew

    It’s fun to know why those items were chosen for the 12 days of Christmas. I always enjoy hearing how much those things cost these days, but I haven’t heard this years tally. I like your tree skirt, it looks like it has held up well over the years. Thanks for sharing some memories, too.

     
     
    1. Welcome, Perrianne! You encourage me so. Thank you. Have a blessed 2019!

       
       
  5. Pat Harris

    Interesting! The memories!

     
     
    1. Hi, Pat. Welcome. I appreciate your joining into the conversation. Have a joyous, blessed 2019!

       
       
  6. Amy C

    Interesting facts and fun family memories!

     
     
    1. Hi, Amy. Welcome! Thanks for commenting. You’ve encouraged me. Happy and Blessed 2019 to you and yours!

       
       
  7. Susan

    Beautiful memories.

     
     
    1. Welcome, Susan. And thank you for joining our circle. I hope you’ll come back. Have a beautiful, blessed 2019!

       
       

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A Writer’s Twelve Days of Christmas Memories

 

December 25 marks the first of Twelve Days of Christmas

By Xavier Romero-Frias – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23287278

Supposedly the Twelve Days of Christmas refers to the days between Christmas and Epiphany on January 6

The first known print version of the song we know appeared in England in 1780 in a children’s book entitled Mirth and Mischiefwhich presents it as a cumulative memory-and-forfeits game. The subtitle, “Sung at King Pepin’s ball,” suggests it originated in France a millennium prior. The only known King Pepin, father of Charlemagne, ruled France 752-768. 

As a child I wondered whose Christmas was twelve days long. Mine was only one. Considering the antiquity of the song, it’s no wonder I scratch my head at a Christmas lasting twelve days. And at the assorted birds and strange personages considered plum presents. 

As an adult I wonder how twelve days of Christmas memories might look. So why not a cumulative blog beginning twelve days before the Big Day? 

The First Day of Christmas

On the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree. Hmm. Pear trees don’t grow outside my back door. Nor would I know what to do with a partridge if on Christmas Day my true love presented me one perched in a pear tree.

But I’ve set up a Christmas tree or two in 70 years of life. The earliest tree in my memory wore a frock of silver icicles. Beneath her petticoats lay treasures galore: a china tea set, a dolly in a carriage, and a rocker of my own.

However, what dangled in her boughs like partridges in pear trees were bright ornaments galore. I recall their shapes. Their colors. And their textures

Matter of fact, I’ve saved a few.

One brings to mind a far-off star that came to Earth when a certain Prince was born.

The pink one reminds me of my dolly’s blanket

 

 

Ribbon candy.

 

 

And a blue norther (a term known as Texas speak) .

 

These old ornaments aren’t partridges. Or a pear tree. But they’re symbols, all the same … of true love–my parents’ and God’s. No partridge or pear tree can compare.

The Second of Twelve Days of Christmas

On the Second Day of Christmas, my true love gave me two turtle doves. Again, turtle doves don’t hang out around my house in Central Texas. But according to Wikipedia, they’re common in Great Britain and Europe. 

What I love most about these featured friends is they generally bond for life. Isn’t that sweet? No wonder they’re Day 2. 

This reminds me of my parents on all those Christmas mornings growing up. Often holding hands, they had way more fun sitting to the side watching us than we did opening packages. Their smiles outdid the tree lights.  

I’m so grateful they paired for life.

The Third of Twelve Days of Christmas 

When asked what comes in 3s at Christmastime, who doesn’t think Wise Men? Or the three Christian virtues–faith, hope, and love–or the Holy Trinity? I often think of us three Brooks kids (before there was Dale, the fourth): Jerry, Dalton, and Linda. But if you peek into Mirth and Mischief, you’ll find another threesome: three French hens

http://mygoldenbuffies.weebly.com/info-about-chicken-breeds-and-more.html
Retrieved from http://mygoldenbuffies.weebly.com/info-about-chicken-breeds-and-more.html on December 14, 2016.

What’s so great about French hens? Well, the term crève-cœur refers to a broken heart. So maybe the poet figured a trio of Crèvecœur fowls, one of the oldest French breeds, could mend a maid’s broken heart thrice over. Besides, they’re known for their excellent egg production, meat quality, and friendliness. 

However the best party-of-three in my box of Christmas memories has to be my triplet grandchildren in 2005: Ethan, Ella, and Davis.

The Fourth of Twelve Days of Christmas

On the fourth day our famous giver presents his true love four colly birds. (We now say calling birds, but the original is colly, which means black as coal–the common blackbird.) 

Public Domain: [[File/Nederlandsche vogelen (KB) – Turdus merula (016f).jpg|Nederlandsche vogelen (KB) – Turdus merula (016f)]]

Check out Wikipedia’s recordings of blackbirds’ songs. They’re actually quite nice, which surprises me. The black birds that hung around our farm when I was girl produced a “caw” like crows. Not something you’d give someone you love. 

The song’s four colly birds brings to mind my three brothers and me as an acapella quartet. We were the Brooks Quartet, known only to family and a handful of friends. Our mother thought we were the bees’ knees, so prior to her death we recorded some songs for her funeral. We wore black, and we sang, (Mother would have loved it) so I guess you’d say we gifted her with four colly calling birds. You can listen here: 

The Fifth of Twelve Days of Christmas

Five gold rings arrive on the fifth day of Christmas.

Thus far the singer’s true love has presented a flock of fowls to tend. So why the departure into jewelry? Your guess is as good as mine. 

Something tells me the giver of gifts knew he’d pushed his luck as far as he could. Better come up with something grand. 

Like a golden ring for each finger of his love’s left hand.

Works for me. 

Meanwhile, the only memory of five I’ve come up with is the size of the “perfect” family of the ’50s: 5.

The Sixth of Twelve Days of Christmas

half-dozen geese arrive on our singer’s front doorstep on day six. Not ordinary geese, mind you. These geese are a-laying. 

Now, if these six girls have been swimming with a dandy suitor, they could produce a flock in less than a month.

But if they’re bachelorettes, six geese can produce more eggs than the lady of the house cares to prepare. Their eggs can be two to four times the size of a chicken egg. That’s a lot of scrambled eggs, folks. 

Geese are better watchdogs than … well, watchdogs. They’re supposedly credited with saving Rome from a total sack by the Gauls a couple thousand years ago. The dogs slept through the enemy invasion, but the geese created a racket that woke up the Romans and kept the house from coming down completely. 

A word to the wise: Don’t ruffle the feathers of a gander. He’s one tough critter. Which reminds me of my mother. You didn’t mess with her kids. Or you’d regret it. 

The Seventh of Twelve Days of Christmas

I love swans.

Are there more graceful creatures in the world? Or more romantic? Sigh …

But what would I do with seven birds with a wingspan of ten feet each? I can’t imagine all seven trying to take off and land from the bird bath out back. 

I love that they’re monogamous. And fierce protectors of their young. Something tells me that’s exactly why the suitor in this old song gave his loved one seven swans a-swimming. He was promising to love her and be true to her seven times seven! A sign of good things to come.

One memory of swans stands out. Way back in the early ’70s our family lived in West Germany. The Sound of Music had been filmed not far away–in the Salzburg, Austria area. So off we puttered in our little Fiat to Salzburg where we found the grand estate … the gazebo … the lake … and the swans. Those photos are somewhere in a bin of old photos. When I find them, you’ll be the first to know.  

The Eighth of Twelve Days of Christmas

On Day Eight our suitor sends his loved one eight maids a-milking

Now I ask you … Why would a man woo his lady with eight unmarried young women, milking or otherwise? 

Apparently when the phrase “let’s go a-milking” was common, it communicated something akin to “let’s go spooning” or “let’s get hitched.” In that case, a maid and her milk cow could represent a marriage proposal. Eight maids and eight cows would knock off the recipient’s stockings. Why?

Milk wasn’t just a nutritious drink, but from it came butter, cheese, buttermilk, yogurt, custards, etc. But it wasn’t as conveniently available in the 15th-19th centuries as in the 21st. No mechanized dairy farms. Plastic gallon jugs. Waxed cardboard half-gallons. Or refrigerated grocery shelves. Matter of fact, milk was only available to those who could afford to graze at least one cow or goat and a little patch of grass to feed them. Add many more, and they’d need a barn to house them, a large family or staff to milk them, and acreage to feed them.

To Milk or Not To Milk

I was reared on a farm where a milk cow or two provided our family with milk and butter. Mother could have made cheese, buttermilk, and yogurt if she had wanted. The big difference: Mother had a choice. 

Back when this song was created, a girl had to be born to–or married into–the wealth required for a stable of cows and milk maids. What girl wouldn’t want to marry an amorous fellow who could afford to give away eight cows and the girls to milk them? 

This spooning dude possessed more than a single gold coin or two. Change jingled in every pocket as he hooked his thumb at his chest and declared, “Stick with me. I’ll take you a-milking.” 

I figure this fair maiden planned to accept his proposal all along. So far she’s received a partridge, a pear tree, two turtle doves, three black birds, four French hens, five golden rings, six laying geese, seven swimming swans, and now eight milk maids.

Why not hold out a bit longer? She might get lucky and find nine drummers on her front lawn tomorrow. 

The Ninth of Twelve Days of Christmas

Sure enough on the ninth day, nine drummers arrive at our maid’s front door, all of them a-drumming

Why would a young lady welcome such racket?

As it turns out, drums were associated with trumpets which announced the arrival of each course during banquets. And heralded important personages. 

Ahh. Now I see. The suitor of Twelve Days fame was making a point with his true love. Their wedding feast would consist of nine courses, each announced by an additional drummer. And there be so many important guests it would take nine drummers to announce them all.

This girl’s got a catch!

The Tenth of Twelve Days of Christmas

Public Domain: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3APipetaborchristmasminstrel.png

As if the gifts thus far didn’t raise the roof high enough, on the tenth day of Christmas our suitor gives his loved one ten pipers piping.

Which makes sense, actually. Pipes (known as fifes) and drums (known as tabors) were a part of the merriment music at medieval celebrations

Not only is this groom affluent enough to purchase a bevy of fowls, he possesses enough property to house and maintain the birds and eight cows in barnyard, forest, and lake. 

This guy has the means to throw a party his guests won’t forget. Our maid should prepare herself for some serious merrymaking. 

The Eleventh of Twelve Days of Christmas 

Our groom has spared no expense. He’s gifted his loved one in abundance. The pipers are piping. The drummers are drumming.

It’s party time!

The guests arrive–starting with eleven lovely ladies, all of them, dancing.

Imagine what a colorful sight this medieval event must have been. I visualize brocade and silk gowns and a rainbow of bright veils and scarves. 

My only memory that involves eleven of anything is my eleventh birthday party. 

My father treated us kids to a hayride while Mother (due to deliver a baby any minute) and two of her friends prepared our spot in the park.

The drinks were iced in a big tin pan. The weiners were sizzling on a hot grill. The buns and chips were ready. The cake was covered until the perfect time to unveil it … when an ambulance screamed past the park … headed in the direction of our excursion.

Mother said later that her heart skipped a beat as she wondered if something had happened to one of us. Surely not. 

As it turned out, something had happened. One of the boys had tried to climb into the cab of the truck, and an overhanging tree limb knocked him through the air and plopped him onto the ground, bloodied.

Thank God, what could have been a tragedy of immense proportions turned out all right in the end. The boy sustained injury but was himself soon. 

My eleventh birthday celebration was punctuated by terror that turned into thanksgiving. My little brother was born the next day–the best belated birthday gift ever!

The Twelfth of Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve leaping lords appear as the final act. 

Imagine the display of wealth. Fowls and cows with their maids. Drums and drummers. Pipes and pipers. And ladies dancing. 

Now the courtly men join them in a not-so-ordinary display of dancing.

Men danced with swords or antlers prior to battle and at grand celebrations in the Middle Ages. Their accompaniment: drums and fifes. Their dances involved great leaps that signified power and fertility–the higher the leap, the greater the victory or harvest. 

As far as memories these dozen days bring to mind … A child’s song from church when I was growing up went something like this … There were twelve apostles Jesus called to help Him. Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and his brother John, Philip, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon, Judas, and Bartholomew. 

So there you have it, the Twelve Days of Christmas. Twelve days of feasting, music, and dancing. Twelve fantastic gifts. An ecstatic bride and groom. And a bunch of over-stuffed, partied-out guests staggering home.

P.S. Here are a few of the “days” featured on the Christmas tree skirt I made forty years ago: 

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “A Writer’s Twelve Days of Christmas Memories

  1. Kita

    It was always such a treat to be in church when your dad or Jerry or Butch was leading the singing. Once in a while a rare solo from one of them. I heard the Brooks Quartet once and was awestruck. I wish I could have heard more. Such sweet memories.

     
     
    1. Aww. Thank you, Kita. Yes, it was a treat for Daddy, Jerry, Butch … and later on, Dale … to lead the singing. Dale’s the bass singer in the recording, by the way. Little Dale!
      Love and Christmas blessings on you and yours! Linda

       
       
  2. Marilyn R

    Thank you for sharing. I remember trees with icicles and similar ornaments. This is going to be so much reading each day until Christmas.

     
     
    1. How sweet of you, Marilyn. So glad you joined in. It’s fun looking at the various “Twelve Days” gifts and thinking how they might apply to our times and illustrate the real meaning of Christmas. Way back in 1976 I appliquéd a tree skirt showing the 12 Days. I’ll include a photo of it soon. 🙂

       
       

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