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12 Days of Christmas Song


This thread is for ideas related to teaching the 12 Days of Christmas song, which is said to be a medieval catechism for kids.

The symbols might mean the following:

  • Partridge = Jesus
  • 2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
  • 3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
  • 4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
  • 5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
  • 6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
  • 7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
  • 8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
  • 9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
  • 10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
  • 11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
  • 12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

You can find webpages which describe the images in detail.

Note: Whether the story about this famous song is true or not, is irrelevant. We're only interested in its teaching results!

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer
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A Nativity twist on the 12 days of Christmas

We took the following book and we pre-drew on 1/2 sheets of bristol board a picture to represent each day (using pictures from colouring books). The children coloured them for us in Art. We then sang the story to the tune of 12 days of Christmas. Note: You'll have to have your organist or piano player go over it and add an odd note as some lines are a little longer, at least that's what we did. The children presented the song and held up the cards. We had the congregation sing along using the pictures to help them with the new words. It went over very well - do it with your younger children. It also would be fun to do with puppets.

One Baby Jesus: A New Twelve Days of Christmas, Boardbook, By: Patricia Pingry, Ideals Publications, 2002, 

Publishers' Description: One Baby Jesus offers a new twist on the familiar Twelve Days of Christmas. Delightful watercolors show a mother and her child watch as children and animals create a live Nativity. Parents will love this new version of the well-known Twelve Days of Christmas because One Baby Jesus is more meaningful-and fun-for their toddlers than the traditional version. And toddlers will delight in counting the animals and other objects as the story is read. Partial Quote from book: "On the... my mama ..One baby Jesus sleeping peacefully."

Now also available in paperback:
One Baby Jesus - Ideals (Standard), 2005, 

Last edited by Luanne Payne

re: "looking for patterns and/or craft/banner ideas relating the 12 Days of Christmas", ...both the traditional carol and also the "teaching code" behind the traditional words of this familiar song.

(It was still good as of June 2020. Similar "twelve day" pages can be found on the web.)

Last edited by Luanne Payne

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