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Eleventh Day Christmas Bash

Sorry I missed last week. Christmas village residents did not want to go back into storage. The ungrateful wretches attacked me and tied me up with cheap garlands. While I gnawed my way out, I got a song stuck in my head. Which brings me to today’s topic:

What famous Christmas carol takes a long time to sing and is not very interesting? The Twelve Days of Christmas

First the history. Catholics in England could not publically worship until 1829. The song is code. The “partridge in the pear tree,” for example, is Jesus. A partridge will sacrifice her life to protect the chicks, a reference to Jesus who sacrificed himself for sinners

Today, the song is about getting strange presents for 12 days. Conversely, all the items could be used for a really terrific party. Why else would anyone want 11 Pipers Piping, 10 Lords Leaping, 9 Ladies Dancing, 8 Maids Milking, 7 Swans Swimming, 6 Geese Laying Eggs, 5 Gold Rings, 4 Calling Birds, 3 French Hens, 2 Turtledoves, and 1 Partridge in 1 Pear Tree? published a price list.  This is a useful resource, but I advise shopping around. You might find a “swan special” somewhere.

You can pick up a partridge for $15.  The pear tree seems a bit pricy at $189.99.  I suggest planning ahead.  If you plant a seedling the previous spring, it could accommodate a small partridge the following January.

Pair of Oriental Turtledoves, Wikipedia Commons
Pair of Oriental Turtledoves, Wikipedia Commons

Turtledoves – $62.50 each.  These seem a bit small for eating.  Perhaps as gifts?

French hens cost $55 apiece.  This could be due to their foreign language ability.  I suggest substituting free range American hens.

Five gold rings — as you know, the price of gold only goes up.  Each ring costs $150.  I’d let this one go, unless the rings are for you.

Next we have six geese.  If you decide to keep them, they are excellent “Watch-fowl.”  Each goose goes for $35 — a bargain compared to French speaking hens.

Swans on Radipole Lake, John Firth, 1992, Wikipedia Commons
Swans on Radipole Lake, John Firth, 1992, Wikipedia Commons

Seven swans swimming.  Swans are big birds and not very friendly.  Did you know it’s against the law in England for anyone except the queen to eat swan? What does one serve with swan?  Does it taste like chicken?  [Hmmm…I rub my chin with contemplation.]  I found a recipe for roasted swan on The Old Foodie  (

Step One: Pluck

Step Two: Scald

Step Three: Spit, skewer in four places

Step Four:  Roast with all its feet and beak (Should that be at 350 degrees for 3-4 hours?)

Step Five:  Leave the head unplucked. (Might have worked better to include that information with step one)

Step Six: Serve with yellow pepper

Swan, of course, is the main dish, so it’s worth splashing out at $7000 per swan.  Reports suggest swan is tough and not very tasty.  But remember, no one else will be having a swan feast.

Where were we?  Ah, we now have eight maids milking.  For a party this size, I’d prefer eight maids cleaning.  Either way, the team, at minimum wage for one hour, will run about $58.

After dinner entertainment provided by Nine Ladies Dancing.

Artist Antoine-Jean Ducios (1742-1795) Wikipedia Commons
Artist Antoine-Jean Ducios (1742-1795) Wikipedia Commons

Followed by Ten Leaping Lords

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

All accompanied by Eleven Pipers.

Cost of Performance $13,623

Total Party Cost (minus the canaries & gold rings) $21,385.99

Look on Handsome Bloke’s face when he sees the bill — Indescribable

Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.

 Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.


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