On the first day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the second day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the third day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the fourth day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

Four Calling Birds*

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the fifth day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

Five Golden Rings

Four Calling Birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the sixth day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

Six Geese a Laying

Five Golden Rings

Four Calling Birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the seventh day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

Seven Swans a Swimming

Six Geese a Laying

Five Golden Rings

Four Calling Birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the eighth day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

Eight Maids a Milking

Seven Swans a Swimming

Six Geese a Laying

Five Golden Rings

Four Calling Birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the ninth day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

Nine Ladies Dancing

Eight Maids a Milking

Seven Swans a Swimming

Six Geese a Laying

Five Golden Rings

Four Calling Birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the tenth day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

Ten Lords a Leaping

Nine Ladies Dancing

Eight Maids a Milking

Seven Swans a Swimming

Six Geese a Laying

Five Golden Rings

Four Calling Birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the eleventh day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

Eleven Pipers Piping

Ten Lords a Leaping

Nine Ladies Dancing

Eight Maids a Milking

Seven Swans a Swimming

Six Geese a Laying

Five Golden Rings

Four Calling Birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the twelfth day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:

12 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 Golden Rings

Four Calling Birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

*Originally sung as “four colly birds.” Many modern interpretations use the phrase “four calling birds.”

Contrary to popular belief, the song was not created to be used as a secret code by persecuted Catholics. It is just a catchy little tune with quirky lyrics, published in England during the late 1700s completely without music, that tells of the magnificent gifts given each of the 12 days that come after Christmas (not before as many have erroneously believed – though I am posting this 12 days before that day).  The melody the rhyme is set to comes from Englishman Frederic Austin circa 1909, according to most sources. Not only have colly birds become calling birds, but other words have changed over the years including ‘gave’ once being sung as ‘sent’ and even ‘brought’. Whatever, the song is a silly delight and I like to have fun with myself by trying to recall all the goofball gifts in the verses (I usually get tangled up with the last 3 gifts). Hey, have fun with it!

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