Sunday, December 23, 2012

Examining the 12 Days of Christmas

Trust me when I say I am all about Christmas.

And believe me, I love me some Christmas music.

But there's one song that baffles even a Christmaso-phile like myself, and it's a classic. I'll give you a hint... in fact I'll give you 12 hints, one for each day of one of my least favorite Christmas songs.

Because really, could anyone handle the shopping and the wrapping and the baking and the cooking and the cleaning if we had to keep it up for TWELVE consecutive days of Christmas? That's nearly two weeks of Christmas, in case you're keeping score. It was hard enough growing up in a culture that celebrates Christmas on December 25th but a church that celebrates the birth of Christ on January 7th- and that's only two Christmases. So again, TWELVE?

Clearly this song was not written by a woman (9 ladies dancing- need I say more?), and sure, I know it's the thought that counts, but come on. Pipers and drummers? Have you ever heard of a little thing called naptime? Shhhhh already!!! And what in the world am I supposed to do with leaping lords? With three children ages five and under in our house, we currently have all the circus action we can handle.

Let's delve a little more deeply in the specifics of the 12-day extravaganza as laid out in the festive tune. Each year the U.S. Bank calculates the cost of the 376 gifts in the song, and this year the total comes in at $107,459.72. That's a lowball estimate, assuming minimum wage for unskilled workers in the milking department, and not taking into account things like the cost of the cows. Last time I checked, the cows constitute a rather integral part of the milking operation, and don't be looking at me because after having 3 babies in less than 4 years, I can assure you that my personal milking days are behind me.

But the biggest problem I have with song is all the poop. That's right, poop. While it's not explicitly mentioned, please note that between the partridge, the hens, the geese, the swans, and the other members of the menagerie, there are 23 birds gifted to the lucky recipient. And because the song repeats the previous verses, by my calculations that yields:

12 days X 1 partridge/day = 12 partridges 
11 days X 2 turtle doves/day = 22 turtle doves 
10 days X 3 french hens/day = 30 french hens 
9 days X 4 calling birds/day = 36 calling birds 
7 days X 6 geese-a-laying/day = 42 geese a laying 
6 days X 7 swans-a-swimming/day = 42 swans a swimming 

...for a grand total of 184 birds. Nothing says Merry Christmas(x 12!) like 184 flapping, squawking, e-coli carrying, feathered creatures flying around the house. Pooping everywhere. Did I mention the poop? Because what woman hasn't at some point said "You know, the one thing we need around here this holiday season is more poop. Now THAT would make for a Merry Christmas."

To make matters worse, apparently the cost of these foul fowl is up significantly this year, because the nation's drought drove up the price of bird feed. Let's just be clear: you can save yourself a whole lot of cash because the only bird welcome in this house is the $4.99 rotisserie chicken from Costco.

Perhaps if we gave this some thought we could come up with a more satisfactory, less expensive, and less poop-filled alternative:

On the first (and only) day of Christmas my true love gave to me... a nap. Repeat for 12 days. Now that's what I call true love.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good nap.


  1. Excellent observation! But have you thought about two other dumb Christmas songs? In "Do You Hear What I Hear," we are told "A child, a child shivers in the cold. Let us bring him silver and gold." To heck with that! Bring the kid a blanket! Silver and gold will do no good because there's no room at the inn -- and there's no room at the end because Joseph didn't call ahead! ... And what about "Little Drummer Boy"? I mean, seriously? Mary FINALLY gets the baby to go to sleep, and here comes this brat with a DRUM??? Gedouddahere!!!

    1. Seriously!! If some kid with a set of drums came near one of my sleeping children, I'd grab those drumsticks out of his hands and... oh wait, we're supposed to be full of good cheer right now, aren't we? :-)