In Holiday Guide

Twelve days, 12 presents and seven swans, swimming and running up the water bill. (PHOTO: Flickr/Wil C. Fry)

The 12 Days of Christmas, ranked

It's everyone's favorite Christmas song to make fun of, and no one's favorite Christmas song to sing at your elementary school winter concert: "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

Twelve days of gifts may sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread, but the gifts listed in the song really run the gamut from "Wow, this is a great gift!" to "I can't believe you've given me this; you've created an enemy for life. How dare you bring this into my home, with my family. A pox upon your house!" At least, I assume that would happen, because according to the PNC Christmas Price Index, all 12 gifts would run you a cool $38,993.59 – a fair price that any family can afford.

As OnMilwaukee's resident intern who insists on ranking things, it's my duty to rank the twelve gifts of Christmas, in order from worst to best. Remember: This is only my opinion, but it's the right opinion, so treat my word as gospel. Now, on to the list:

12. Two turtle doves

Have you ever seen a turtle dove before? Probably not, because they are native to Europe and North Africa. While you may not have seen a turtle dove before, you've probably seen their sister species: the pigeon. That's right, your true love is bringing you a dolled-up pigeon for Christmas. Two, in fact. The song mentions nothing about a cage, nothing about bird feed – just the birds themselves. Talk about a bummer of a gift.

11. Seven swans a swimming

Swans are evil. Sure, they may be a symbol of love, but have you ever seen one of these beasts in person? Terrifying. Not only that, but if the swans are swimming, that means water must be part of the gift as well. Does your true love provide the water? Are the swans camped out in your bathtub? That's going to be a high water bill, all for a bunch of little demons.

10. Four calling birds

I hope you don't enjoy sleep, because these four birds are going to be yakking up a storm throughout your house. To paraphrase the great words of Smash Mouth, "The birds start calling, and they don't stop calling, and they don't stop calling, and they don't stop calling." You'll go crazy before the twelve days even end.

9. Six geese a laying

The only reason the geese are listed as slightly better than the swans is because there are less of them. Mathematically, six is fewer than seven, and I know that, because I'm a college graduate. Also, I'm going to assume that these geese aren't laying eggs; instead, they're laying down some sick rhymes over a fat rap beat. That would be a sight to see. I bet their rap group would have something to do with honking.

8. Three French hens

Hens lay eggs, which is good because now you'll have a food source since you'll be spending so much money on your water bill because of the swans. These hens are French, which means they definitely look like this. Oui oui!

7. Partridge in a pear tree

The partridge is unimportant to this ranking. Sure, you get a bird, and maybe that bird is part of a family of musicians that rides around on a bus throughout the country, but that's just a fun addition. Your true love is giving you an entire tree. A pear tree, in fact. Do you know how difficult it is to gift a full-size tree? It's difficult! I'm beginning to think I ranked this too low ...

6. Twelve drummers drumming

With these drummers, you now have a personal army of percussionist pests to do your bidding. Is someone at the office annoying you with their constant pen clicking? Send these drummers to their desk and watch the joy drain from your enemy's face. These aren't just drummers; they are weaponized music, which is something we all can use during Christmastime.

5. Nine Ladies Dancing

No matter what anyone says, people who can dance well are incredible. Imagine having your own crew of Jabbawockeez, answering to dance requests at your beck and call. That's pretty neat!

4. Ten lords a leaping

In my head, this is the Rim Rockers from the Bucks. Sure, they may have eleven members currently, but maybe one of them can serve as a coach or something. Just picture it: Every time you walk into a room, you are introduced by a gaggle of acrobatic, slam dunking men. That's pretty sick.

3. Eleven pipers piping

One of the major issues that "The Twelve Days of Christmas" has is a lack of specificity. Pipers can mean so many things, leaving it up to your interpretation. In my mind, these pipers are decorating so many cakes. If each piper is working for eight hours a day, and they each pipe one cake an hour, that's 88 cakes a day. Not only is that more cakes than any one person can consume, it's also enough to open a bakery. Turn your hobbies into money-making opportunities, people!

2. Eight maids a milking

This is probably too high of a ranking for the maids, but I love milk. So much so, in fact, that I have ordered a tall glass of whole milk from a bar. I got some weird looks, and the bartender looked like she wanted to kick me out, but I got my milk. And let me tell you, it was delicious. So here the eight maids stay, milking that sweet, delicious milk.

1. Five golden rings

Call me Yukon Cornelius, because I love gold. Financially, this is the most valuable gift, and the only gift that doesn't come with another living creature that you have to care for. Rings don't require food, or shelter, or anything else that every other gift requires. They just sit there, shining for you, waiting to be thrown into the fires of Mt. Doom. Wait, that was The One Ring. These are five rings – though, they do seem precious ...

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