I saw where I could order “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a cell phone ring tone. I didn’t. I don’t believe anything would sap my Christmas spirit quite like hearing that song every time someone called me—except maybe hearing “The Little Drummer Boy” every time someone called me.
The thing that’s always bothered me about the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” besides that it’s repetitive and relentless and it takes twelve days to sing is that the giver’s choice of gifts is just plain odd. By day three, when my true love walked in with three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree, I’d be yelling, “The birds go or I go!”
I do give the guy credit for shopping. It can’t be easy to find four calling birds and seven swans a-swimming, let alone catch them and put them in the trunk.
Also, you could never accuse him of being cheap. According to PNC Wealth Management which tracks the cost of the gifts listed in the Twelve Days of Christmas, the price tag is $155,407. But I like to think my true love could make better use of $155,407. For starters, I need some new tires. I know tires aren’t much of a Christmas gift, but with $155,407, I think I could get a really nice sweater too.
I’ve got some suggestions for saving True Love time and money, and more importantly, giving his lady some gifts she’ll enjoy. For starters, while a pear tree might be a practical gift, the ground is too hard to plant one right now. You’d think True Love would know that. Instead of a partridge in a pear tree, why not a fresh fruit basket and a nice roast chicken.
And rather than two turtle doves, how about two Dove bars? The chocolate kind, not the soap. Soap might send the wrong message.
On day three, True Love sends three French hens. French hens are nothing but chickens with accents, and the recipient already had roast chicken this week. I suggest French bread—three loaves. She can freeze two.
On the fourth day, True Love sends four calling birds. According to my clever friend Google, calling birds are actually European blackbirds, but try singing that. Considering the migratory habits of calling birds, I think calling cards might last longer. Plus it works in the song.
On day five, True Love finally sends a real gift: five golden rings. With gold prices what they are, this will probably prompt the recipient to ask, “Honey, can we afford these.” But she can keep them—or give them to me.
On the sixth day of Christmas, True Love shows up with six geese a-laying. By now, our unfortunate recipient is becoming concerned by his sudden interest in fowl, especially when he sends her seven swans a-swimming the very next day. At this point, she might find a traditional gift reassuring. Maybe slippers and a robe. No fruit cake. She’s already got one of those.
If she hasn’t moved out without leaving a forwarding address by day eight, our lucky recipient will receive eight maids a-milking. This would be a very useful gift if she had cows. If not, True Love would be better off sending cheese.
On day nine, he sends nine ladies dancing. Let me just say, if your true love ever shows up with dancing ladies, it ain’t gonna be a happy Christmas. The ten lords a-leaping scheduled to arrive the next day may help ease the tension by giving the ladies someone else to dance with. But True Love could save a lot of explaining if he’d just take his own wife dancing.
Having learned nothing during his gift giving rampage, True Love sends an entire pipe and drum corps on days eleven and twelve. Before the neighbors complain, our recipient could announce to the musicians, “Put down your instruments and come paint my house.” That would be a lovely gift.
(Send your golden rings, French Bread and Dove bars to firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.dorothyrosby.com.)