Breaking Down the 12 Days of Christmas

All twelve days of Christmas forming a tree

Christmas is just around the corner (can you believe it?).

And soon enough, the malls will be filled with the sounds of shoppers, Santa and singing.

When it comes to Christmas carols, The 12 Days of Christmas is pretty unique. After all, it’s basically a detailed shopping list of what the singer wants from their true love.

But have you ever thought about how much it would cost to purchase:

  • A partridge in a pear tree
  • Seven swans-a-swimming
  • Eleven pipers piping

Not to mention all of the other goodies mentioned?

NuStone Transformations was curious. So we set off to find out how much The 12 Days of Christmas would cost.

Get your wallets ready (prices converted to Canadian dollars).

The First day of ChristmasA partridge in a pear tree

A partridge is a game bird (meaning it’s hunted for sport and/or food). They are readily available at your local poultry farm and will cost you around $27.62 (including shipping). Info: Wildmeat.co.uk

Now, getting the partridge in a pear tree is a different story.

Partridges are ground nesting birds and mainly eat seeds and insects (so your kitchen pantry is safe). They don’t hang out in pear trees.

But if you had to get a pear tree for your partridge (and it would have to be fully grown so the bird can perch comfortably), you’re looking at about $131.83 (including shipping). Info: Fast-Growing-Trees

Total cost: $159.45

The Second Day of ChristmasTwo turtle doves

The European turtle dove migrates north around April and doesn’t return south until September.

Unfortunately, turtle doves are hunted regularly in the following countries:

  • Malta
  • Cyprus
  • France
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Greece

A single European turtle dove will run you $163.28. Info: StrombergChickens  But remember, you need two of them.

Total cost: $326.56

The Third Day of ChristmasThree French hens

French hens – also known as Faverolles – are primarily used for display or exhibition purposes.

So if your true love brings you 3 French hens, prepare to keep them as a conversation piece on your coffee table or countertops.

But that’s okay, because they’re quite gentle and tame. In fact, Faverolles are sometimes kept as pets in France.

Also, what makes French hens unique is they have five toes per foot (usually chickens and hens have only four).

A single French hen goes for $45.15. Info: MyPetChicken.com. And because you need three of them…

Total cost: $135.45

The Fourth day of ChristmasFour calling birds

There’s a rumour that in The 12 Days of Christmas, the actual phrase is “colly birds” and not calling birds.

In that case, a “colly bird” is another name for the common blackbird (which just so happens to be the national bird of Sweden).

Catching them would be a challenge, as they’re quite quick in flight. On the ground, they tend to hop more than walk.

A single “colly bird” would set you back about $565.21. Info: BirdsExpress.net

However, you don’t need just one. You need four of them.

Total cost: $2260.84

The Fifth day of ChristmasFive gold rings

Jewelry is just about the perfect Christmas gift.

Five gold rings ensures each finger and thumb is covered.

And if you happen to lose one down the bathroom sink drain, you still have four rings left to admire.

Now in The 12 Days of Christmas, the song simply states they’re five gold rings.

There are no extras like:

  • Diamonds
  • Engravings
  • Decorations

Just five gold rings and nothing more.

A woman’s classic 18k yellow gold ring retails for $280.00 (thankfully, that includes free shipping too). Info: Blue Nile

Let’s see. Four fingers plus one thumb equals five gold rings in total.

Total cost: $1400.00

The Sixth Day of ChristmasSix geese-a-laying

Before you pick up six geese-a-laying for your true love, consider these facts:

  • Geese can sometimes lay up to 15-25 eggs per year
  • Geese stop laying eggs well into their teens
  • Babies (goslings) can start to hatch anywhere from 28-31 days after the eggs are laid

So you aren’t looking for goslings. You’re looking for geese who can lay eggs right away (around 1-2 years of age).

A single Barnacle goose (very common, you’ve probably seen them at the beach) retails for $48.93 Info: BirdTrader.co.uk

Just take that number and multiply it by six.

Total cost: $293.58

The Seventh Day of ChristmasSeven swans-a-swimming

Fun fact about swans: In England, unmarked mute swans on the Thames River belong to the British Crown by default.

So if you’re looking to buy swans, you can’t get them from the UK. They’re all spoken for.

Another fun fact about swans is that when they take flight, they can reach 60 a top speed of 60 miles per hour.

So catching them in the wild is tricky, too.

However you can purchase mute swans (with free shipping too) for $1669.51 a pop. Info: PurelyPoultry.com

But remember, you’ll need seven of them.

Total cost: $11,686.57

The Eight Day of ChristmasEight maids-a-milking

According to Wikipedia, the definition of a milkmaid is “a girl or woman who milked cows.”

In this day and age, though, a milkmaid can also be known as a “dairy technologist”, whose average salary is approximately $55,235.40. Info: InsideJobs.com

Assuming you need all of them to work full time (after all, there are 8 cows needing to be milked regularly), you’ll have to take that number and multiply by 8.

Total cost: $441,883.20

The Ninth Day of ChristmasNine ladies dancing

Unfortunately, in The 12 Days of Christmas, the type of dancing these nine ladies are performing isn’t really specified.

It could be anything, really:

  • Belly dancing
  • Hip-hop
  • Jazz
  • Tap

So you want to make sure your Christmas dancers are versatile enough to put on a cabaret show, hop into the bathroom for a quick change and then showcase some traditional folk dances.

In that case, two ladies dancing are available for $645.32. Info: Warble-Entertainment

But your true love will be giving you nine of them.

Total cost: $2903.94

The Tenth day of ChristmasTen lords-a-leaping

Flying over to England and convincing 10 British Lords (there’s actually a gallery featuring all the members of the UK House of Lords) to come back and leap for your true love might be a bit complicated.

The closest thing would be the Irish-style Riverdance made popular by the Lord of the Dance performance show (which debuted in the mid-1990s).

So who better to be the leaping lord than the Lord of the Lord of the Dance himself, Michael Flatley?

Now, the average cost to hire Mr. Flatley is around $112,500 Info: CelebrityTalent.net. However, there’s only one of him and your true loves needs 10.

Instead, rely on some junior dancers to bring this gift to life. Bringing in 3 leaping lords will cost approximately $196.67 each. Info: BradyMusic.co.uk.

Of course, 10 lords are required.

Total cost: $1966.70

The Eleventh Day of ChristmasEleven pipers piping

The 12 Days of Christmas does not specify what type of pipe instruments are to be played:

  • Bagpipes (from Scotland)
  • Caval (from Romania)
  • Diple (from Serbia)
  • Fujara (from Slovakia)
  • Gemshorn (from Germany)

However, since the song appears to originate from Scotland (it was first published there in 1780), it’s safe to assume that your true love will be looking for bagpipers.

Historically, the role of the bagpiper was to rally Scottish clans to battle. In fact, the sound bagpipes made was so offensive to some; it was labeled a banned military instrument.

But Christmas is a time of peace, so a single bagpiper for a celebratory event costs around $312.50 Info: CostHelper.com

Remember though, your true love needs 11 of them.

Total cost: $3437.50

The Twelfth Day of ChristmasTwelve drummers drumming

And finally, we arrive at the last stop in The 12 Days of Christmas shopping gallery.

Although it would be nice for your true love to pick up a dozen tasteful jazz drummers or powerful rock drummers, it makes sense to use the drummer featured in another Christmas carol, The Little Drummer Boy.

In most versions of that song, he is playing a simple snare drum.

They’ve been around for since medieval times, but the snare drum we’re most familiar with got its shape and size in Switzerland by mercenaries around the 15th century.

But today, snare drums are closely associated with the Scottish Highlanders.

So, a single Scottish snare drummer boy will set your true love back around $163.54. Info: LastMinuteMusicians

However, the song is called The 12 Days of Christmas, so a dozen drummers it is.

Total cost: $1964.48

Total costAdding it all up

So, how much will all this cost your true love?

Well, there’s 2 ways to look at it.

Firstly, you can simply add everything up, which gives you a total cost of $468,418.27.

However in The 12 Days of Christmas, gifts are presented multiple times as the song progresses.

That requires multiplying each day as the song moves along:

  • Day 1 cost x 12
  • Day 2 cost x 11
  • Day 3 cost x 10
  • Etc…

In that case, you end up with a grand total cost of $3,747,774.00

A new kitchen or bathroom should cost a lot less

Firstly, thanks for checking out our longest blog ever.

It was a blast to research and write and we hope you enjoyed it.

Secondly, if you’re looking to transform your kitchen or bathroom with new countertops, we’d like to help.

(And it’ll cost you a lot less than The 12 Days of Christmas too).

Contact us to schedule a FREE (can’t beat that) in-home consultation with our design expert.

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