Looking for a fun theme for your tree trimmings this year… why not turn to song for your inspiration? In this case the traditional English carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.

Actually referring to the 12 days after Christmas, and not before, this song’s supposed origin varies from a simple chant for children sung in a round-robin forfeit game, to a song of Christian catechism instruction dating back to the 16th century. But whatever the true origin, its words inspire many decorative holiday ornaments depicting the gifts from each verse of the song. So sing after me as you deck your 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.

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1 And a Partridge in a Pear Tree from Michael Aram Ornament Collection, silverplated metal, oxidized and goldplated finishes, 4¼”W X 1¾”D X 5½”H, $49.00 available at Saks

2 Turtle Doves from Hearts for Haiti 12 Days of Christmas Collection, recycled Papier-Mâché Ornaments, handcrafted by artisans in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 10% of the proceeds of each sale goes back to the HAND/EYE Fund that benefits the local artisans, $79.00, West Elm.

3 French Hens from Reed & Barton Exquisite Christmas Collection, mouth blown and hand painted 6½”H, available at My Tableware.

4 Calling Birds from Nod’s Twelve Days of Christmas Papier-mâché Ornament Set, features the hand-painted whimsical illustrations of San Francisco artist Michael Mabry, $44.95, The Land of Nod.

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5 Golden Rings from Waterford 2011 Annual 12 Days 5th Edition, collect one new piece per year $60.00 each, through Amazon.

6 Geese a Laying from Twelve Days of Christmas Ornament Set, molded mercury glass and resin, each dangles a charm bearing the number of its corresponding day, 1½ – 2 “W X 3 – 6″H, $99.00, Pottery Barn.

7 Swans a SwimmingCrowned Swan Ornament, made in vintage bottlebrush style with glitter-dusted feathers, 4½”W X 2½”D X 5″H, $6.50 each, Pottery Barn.

8 Maids a Milking from the 12 Days of Christmas Ornament Set, these whimsical individually handpainted papier-mâché ornaments from India, help support the Florence Hospital in Kashmir, $39.95, Crate & Barrel.

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9 Ladies Dancing – Degas’ Ballerina, sure to become a treasured piece for any ballet lover, $40.95 each at Da Polina.

10 Lords a Leaping from 12 Days of Christmas Cloisonné Ornaments Set, handmade copper filigree with enamel fill and electroplated with 24K gold, 2½”H, $299.00, Napa Style.

11 Pipers Piping from 12 Days Of Christmas Pewter Ornaments, simple embossed coin design, $49.95 (set of 12) or $9.95 each, Plow & Hearth.

12 Drummers Drumming – Toy Solider Glass Blown Marquis Ornament, modeled after a popular Victorian gift for boys, $24.95 each, Waterford Crystal.

As I was writing this post I started to think it would be be fun to create a new holiday tradition and get your children to unwittingly help you un-decorate the tree. Why not ask them to find and remove the “correct” ornament for each day after Christmas starting with the 12 Drummers Drumming on December 26th, all the way down to the Partridge in the Pear Tree on January 6th! You could also sing the song building the verses as each day goes by so that on the last day you have to remember all twelve, just like children did in days gone by.

After the holidays, let me know if the “trick” worked.



P.S. Sticking with the theme of tree trimming, next week we are going to do a bit of traveling and see what stylish ornaments we can find inspired by some of my (and hopefully your) favorite destinations: London, New York & Paris.

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