Ranking the Gifts in ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ Song

It’s that time of year: Lords a-leaping. Geese a-laying. Which of these gifts would anybody actually want?

It’s December again, which means — whether you love Christmas season or not — you and I will both be sick of hearing “The 12 Days of Christmas” by — well probably by the time you’ve already read this.

So let’s have some fun with everyone’s second-least-favorite Christmas song. Not by figuring out how much each thing would cost. That’s, uh, been done.

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But by ranking the gifts based on how much I’d actually want them. No. 12 is, obviously, GTFO, all the way down to the most desirable present.

12.) Twelve drummers drumming

Drums are loud, annoying, and generally unwelcome outside of a concert. So now 12 of these people are just hanging out in my house pounding on cymbals or banging their hands on an empty bucket? Nope.

11.) Eleven pipers piping

See above. At least bagpipes are a more unique, regal sound. But I’d send them home after a day.

10.) Four calling birds

You might sense a theme: I don’t like noise. And while having four songbirds serenading you all day might, in theory, make you feel like you’re living in a Disney movie, the last thing I want in my life is their incessant chirping at odd morning hours messing up my sleep. My girlfriend’s two cats do that enough already.

9.) Two turtle doves

Turtle doves aren’t even the nice white doves from Prince videos. They’re basically fancy pigeons. This is an incredibly shitty gift and I’d probably release them right after I opened the box.

8.) Three French hens

Will Bullas/Fine Art America

At least hens aren’t roosters (re: noise). Still, hens are incredibly spastic creatures and would be a bitch to take care of. Where in the New York City area would I be able to afford an apartment with a chicken coop? Free eggs though.

7.) Six geese a-laying

But not as big as goose eggs. I’m assuming this gift would also mean I’d need space to raise the geese. But I’d at least only have to worry about them until they flew south for winter. Which, it’s Christmas, so I wouldn’t have this headache for long.

6.) Seven swans a-swimming

Same thing. I’d take some dope pictures for Instagram, then just put the swans in a local lake. I’d sit and enjoy their elegance — they are the most majestic of any of the animals on this list. And why are all the animals on this list birds? Did nobody in the 1700s gift dogs? — and maybe come back once or twice a week when I needed to just watch them and unwind. Again, until they flew away or whatever. Important note: if the “swans” here are actually seven Mila Kunises from the movie Black Swan, this immediately goes to No. 1 and you can shred the rest of the list.

5.) Nine ladies dancing

I enjoy watching dancers. I enjoy watching ladies dance. Many people pay a lot of their own, hard-earned money to be on the receiving end of this display. This is a winning gift.

4.) Ten lords a-leaping

Why the lords over the ladies? I enjoy the female form and all, but assume that if someone with the title Lord has succumbed to dancing for me, I must now wield some sort of royal or political influence over 10 powerful people.

3.) Partridge in a pear tree

The star of the song, but only No. 3 here. I couldn’t care less about the partridge. Stick it wherever you take my hens, doves, and geese. But the pear tree? Solid get. I actually used to have a pear tree at my apartment in Queens. We never ate from it because:

  1. We were too lazy to tend to the tree
  2. We always let the pears that fell to the ground rot before throwing them away
  3. Taco Bell is better than fruit

But as a thirtysomething now indebted to his own body’s health and the increasing strain on the environment, owning a pear tree sounds downright lovely.

2.) Five golden rings

I do not need five golden rings. Nobody does. I already wear one and if I ever get married, someday that might be two. That’s it. But still: gold is gold. I would instantly turn around and sell the rings. Or, depending on the purity — I’m not sure how great of a gift-giver this person in the song is — melt them and sell the gold pure.

1.) Eight maids a-milking

Let’s talk about human trafficking. I assume I’m not actually being gifted the rights to the lives of eight milkmaids. Rather, I’m being gifted their work, like if you bought me a membership to a housekeeping or landscaping service. If that’s a fair assumption, this is far and away the greatest gift of the 12. Do you know how much money I spend on milk — whether cow’s or almond — a year? Cheese? Ice cream? Butter? Mozzarella sticks?

Should I not consume as much dairy? Irrelevant. According to Wikipedia (citation needed, but I trust it), not only do milkmaids milk their cows; they also prepare all of the amazing products we get from milk. And, unlike all of the damn birds on this list, I wouldn’t have to keep the cows at my house.

Plus, researching this piece allowed me to find this article.

Or you could get me some new running shoes this year, whatever.

What do you think?

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