James King
United States
North Central Louisiana / No Longer A Resident of the Shreveport/Bossier City Area
Louisiana
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THE 13 MISSING DAYS OF "THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS"
A Modest Appeal To Restore Them & Educate Others About The History of the Surprising Origin of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" Carol & Its Predecessor, "The 25 Days of Christmas"
(C) Copyright 2000 by James William King (jameswking@aol.com); All Rights Reserved.

For centuries, the origin of the English traditional carol, "The 25 Days of Christmas," had lain buried in obscurity until in the late 19th century when one Spanish scholar, don Santiago Guillermo del Rey (1834-1899) of Sevilla, Spain came across the text of the original English version in the diary of an ancestor in his late grandfather's libary.

While it is generally agreed that the English traditional carol we know today as "The 12 Days of Christmas" dates from some period not later than the 16th century, it was not until don Santiago del Rey came across some passages in his ancestor's diary that carologists were finally able to more accurately date the English version of the song to the reign of King Henry VIII of England.

Traditionally, the 12 days of Christmas were believed to be the 12 days from Christmas, Dec. 25 to Epiphany Eve, Jan. 5. (January 6 was celebrated as Epiphany and Three Kings Day.) However, the custom varied. Some eras in English history excluded counting Christmas among the 12 days of Christmas but counted Epiphany as the 12th day; others did not.

In October 1893, while casually reading the diary of his ancestor, don Santiago Guillermo del Rey discovered the truth of the matter: His own ancestors had known the exiled English composer of NOT "The 12 Days of Christmas" BUT "The 25 Days of Christmas."

In its original form of 25 days, it was evident that, excluding the main holiday itself, there were 12 days to be celebrated before Christmas -- Dec. 13-24, the Antenatale -- and 12 days afterward -- Christmastide -- up to Jan. 6.

The original gifts and 25 days were:

Dec. 13 - A partridge in a pear tree
Dec. 14 - 2 turtle doves
Dec. 15 - 3 French hens
Dec. 16 - 4 calling birds
Dec. 17 - 5 golden rings
Dec. 18 - 6 geese a-laying
Dec. 19 - 7 swans a-swimming
Dec. 21 - 8 maids a-milking
Dec. 21 - 9 ladies dancing
Dec. 22 - 10 lords a-leaping
Dec. 23 - 11 pipers piping
Dec. 24 - 12 drummers drumming
Dec. 25 - 13 horses prancing
Dec. 26 - 14 cockrels crowing
Dec. 27 - 15 peacocks strutting
Dec. 28 - 16 squires a-fowling
Dec. 29 - 17 jugglers juggling
Dec. 30 - 18 knights a-jousting
Dec. 31 - 19 friars' blessings
Jan. 1 - 20 jesters jesting
Jan. 2 - 21 minstrels singing
Jan. 3 - 22 Yule logs blazing,
Jan. 4 - 23 Christmas puddings
Jan. 5 - 24 jugs o' wassail
Jan. 6 - 25 boar heads roasting

______________


Why would crowing cockrels (roosters) be included among the gifts?

Ironically, it appears to be tangentially tied in with the old Christmas Eve legend called "the Night the Animals Talked," wherein domestic farm animals gain the power of speech at midnight Christmas Eve and share with their young ones the story of that first Christmas when their ancestors witnessed the birth of the Christ Child in the manger in that Bethlehem stable long, long ago. They also sing hymns of praise in their own animal tongues as well. (The four-legged animals were believed to even kneel.) Nearly a century of so later, William Shakespeare even alluded to the legend in a brief snippet of dialogue from "Hamlet" in which he remarks about how the rooster was believed to singing out his praise all night long:


"Cock-crow at Christmas"
from William Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
the bird of dawn singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike;
No fairy tales nor witch hath power to charm,
so hallowed and so gracious is this time.



Thus, the cockrels crowing in "The 25 Days of Christmas" evidently ties in tangentially with the legend of "The Night the Animals Talked" even though they're not necessarily crowing at night.

Indeed, the composer of "The 25 Days of Christmas" in its original French version is presumed to be the same one who authored the 12th-century French carol, "The Friendly Beasts", wherein each beast speaks and takes pride in its gift to the Christ Child.

At least two competing theories have been proposed as the origin of "The 25 Days of Christmas."

The English translator/composer of "The 25 Days of Christmas" was either an anonymous English court composer of no consequence OR he was an English composer exile in Spain because of an unfortunate misunderstanding with his employer/benefactor, King Henry VIII of England, due to court politics and intrigues.

Allegedly, the song was a favorite of King Henry VIII and for that very reason, the composer continued to add verses to the carol with the passing seasons. In its first version, the song contained only 12 days, marking the days from Christmastide (Dec. 13 to Dec. 24). The composer added 13 other new days over a period of years which corresponded to those tumultuous years in the royal household when King Henry VIII was marrying, divorcing and beheading wives.

When he had finished the carol in its completed 25-day form, the composer had his own minstrel group perform it for the king himself. At first, King Henry VIII was all effusive and embraced the carol. However, some of his more noodle-headed courtisans began a whisper campaign, insinuating that the final item, "25 boar heads roasting," was most definitely an affront to His Royal Highness because, they insisted, roasted boar head was mere peasant fare. Moreover, they misconstrued that through his use of decapitated roasted boars' heads that the composer was actually making a camouflaged, satirically barbed political comment snickeringly criticizing King Henry VIII's penchant for beheading wives.

Whether the king disapproved of the "19 friars' blessings" verse is unknown, but it couldn't have much impressed him if he and/or his courtiers inferred that that the 19 friars entry was an indirect affirmation embracing Catholicism or that the entire song in some sly wink-wink-nudge-nudge way was endorsing Catholicism.

Alerted to the king's displeasure, the composer fled to France and then to Spain. Outraged about the perceived slight, King Henry VII did the next best thing to decapitating the composer himself: He "decapitated" 13 days from the composer's Christmas carol, rolling it back to its original 12 days of the Christmastide.

(Because of the effects of aging and damage, don Santiago del Rey was unable to discern the name of the composer of the song. And thus, he remains anonymous to this day.)

And then there's another legend discovered in recent years which alleges that the court composer fled to France not during the reign of Henry VIII but some decades later when Mary, Queen of Scots, ascended to the throne. Reason: The court composer's ancestors originally hailed from the Languedoc region of southern France where the Cathars, Templar Knights, and the Albigensian Dynasty once ruled, all of whom were at various times declared enemies of Roman Catholicism by the Popes of Rome.

It may well be that after Mary, Queen of Scotts' short reign, the 12-day version of "The 25 Days of Christmas" was co-opted by the pro-Catholic English as an allegorical memory device for Christians to serreptitiously recite in the form of a song in order to learn and remember some of the basic tenets of Roman-Catholic doctrine. For example, the "true love" in the song is alleged to have represented God and the "me" who receives the presents is the Christian. The other alleged symbolic meanings of the 12-days version of the song:

1 Partridge in a pear tree = Jesus Christ who died on a tree as a gift from God

2 Turtledoves = the Old and New Testaments

3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Love - the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (I Corinthians 13)

4 Calling Birds = the four Gospels which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

5 Golden Rings = the first five books of the Bible also called the "Books of Moses."

6 Geese a-laying = the six days of Creation.

7 Swans a swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (I Corinthians 12:8-11, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4:10-11)

8 Maids a-milking = the Eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

9 Ladies dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness, 6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)

10 Lords a-leaping = the Ten Commandments

11 Pipers piping = the eleven faithful Disciples (excluding Judas Iscariot)

12 Drummers drumming = the twelve points of the Apostles' Creed


While the 12-day version of the song may well have served as a secret catechism for Catholics who were later not allowed to practice their faith openly in 16th-century England, it should not be forgotten that the song is indeed believed to have originated as a *French carol.* Indeed, it is ironic that the "25 Days of Christmas" in its original 12-Day French version originated from the Languedoc region of 12th-century southern France, the stronghold of the Cathars and the Templar Knights, for apparently similar reasons because of Roman Catholic prejudice toward them. Indeed, it may well be that Cathar tradition originated the
intriguing French belief that on Christmas Eve, while the genealogy of Christ is being chanted at the Midnight Mass, hidden treasures are revealed.

That's because the Cathars and Templar Knights believed that Jesus Christ left a human lineage of descendants through His wife, Mary Magdalene, who while pregnant fled to France after His crucifixion. The Cathars and Templars obscured their controversial belief in the human lineage of Jesus Christ by referring to it in serreptitious symbolic terms as the Holy Grail, the sacred chalice of the Last Supper.

It is interesting that proponents of "12-Days-of-Christmas"-as-a-Secret-Cathar/Templar-Catchism theory would allege that "the Partridge in a Pear Tree" represented Jesus Christ while at the same time acknowledging that Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."

After all, true to their beliefs, the Cathars and Templars would have said that the mother partridge represented Mary Magdalene, the wife of Jesus, and that the pear tree she sits in represents the familial line (family tree) of Christ's descendants. The grape vine also denoted similar symbolism related to the alleged bloodlines of Jesus Christ and His presumed descendants. Also, during Medieval and even Renaissance times, the more aesthetic ideal figure for women to have was pear-shaped. So, the Pear Tree could also be a symbolic feminine allusion to the Magdelianian lineage of descandants of both Mary Magdeline and Jesus Christ.

In the Languedoc region of France, "The 25 Days of Christmas" was said to have been sung by Cathar children on Twelfth Night, the eve of Epiphany (January 6), as a musical Memory game. As the song was sung in rounds, each child would endeavor to remember and recite the new item and all other previsouly-sung items that were listed in song by the other children. If a child couldn't recall all the items sung thus far, he/she dropped out of that round of the game. The song would continue to be sung until there was a winner.

If not originally begun there, this accumlative song tradition for both "The 25 Days of Christmas" and its latter-day abridged version, "The 12 Days of Christmas", later recrossed the English Channel back to the country of its origin where country singers were very fond of accumlative songs of this type. Indeed, according to Cecil J. Sharp, editor of "One Hundred English Folksongs (Oliver Ditson Company, Boston, 1916), "English country people considered the accumulative songs as tests of endurance and memory, and sometimes of sobriety!" Sharp reported that "The 12 Days of Christmas" was not only sung in typical accumulative (Days 1-12) fashion but also in a more challenging accumulative combination of decreasing-and-then-increasing fashion (Days 12-1 whereupon after the 1st day of Christmas verse, the items begin increasing again in typical Days 1-12 fashion) for a total of 23 verses sung.

"The 12 Days of Christmas" is believed to have been later exploited by Roman Catholics in like fashion as a competitive musical Memory game; however, the tradition never quite caught on and proved to be a passing fad because twelve items apparently presented no real challenge for most people to recall in song. Indeed, that Roman Catholics continued the musical-Memory-game tradition begun with "The 25 Days of Christmas" with "The 12 Days of Christmas" only seems to point to its glaring omission of presenting any real challenge at all and that they were merely co-opting the tradition established by its original 25-day Cathar version.

Indeed, what had worked with the musical Memory game for "The 25 Days of Christmas" apparently never quite caught on with its much shorter 12-day version except with young children.

For best enjoyment, sing "The 25 Days of Christmas" as game of Forfeits. Players should sit in a row or circle. The first player sings the first lines of the current verse up to the number of items for that day, and the second player continues it by singing the next number of items for that day; etc. Any player who names the wrong gift or can't recall the list of gifts in progress in their proper order would then drops out for the round. The next player continues the song at the verse missed by the player who had to forfeit.

Or, for the Memory game variation (for 2-6 players), each player can sing a single verse and adopt its item as his/her own at which time, and whenever the countdown of items begins in the chorus of the repeating ever-increasing-number-of-items, participants chime in singing the number and name of the item they'd adopted which is almost like singing it in rounds.

Example: How a 4-player game would sing "The 25 Days of Christmas" in rounds. The group has gotten up to item #10 on the list of 25 and would thus sing:

Player A: On the 10th day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me: 10 lords a-leaping,

Player B: "9 ladies dancing."

Player C: "8 maids a-milking."

Player D: "7 swans a-swimming."

Player A: "6 geese a-laying."

Player B: "5 golden rings."

Player C: "4 calling birds."

Player D: "3 French hens."

Player A: "2 Turtledoves."

Player B: "And a Partridge in a Pear Tree."

Player C: "On the 11th day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me: 11 pipers piping."

Player D: "10 Lords a-leaping."

(Continues with other players chiming in with the appropriate day and item.)

________________________________________



"THE 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS"
English Version by "Anonymous"


On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
a partridge in a pear tree.


On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 nine ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ vgol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 13th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 14th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 15th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
15 peacocks strutting,
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 16th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
16 squires a-fowling,
15 peacocks strutting,
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


__________________

*Squires a-fowling: A squire is an attendant and armor-bearer apprenticed to a knight who hopes to become a knight himself one day. Fowling was the sport of using trained hawks and falcons to hunt game birds.

___________________


On the 17th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
17 jugglers juggling,
16 squires a-fowling,
15 peacocks strutting,
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 18th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
18 knights a-jousting,
17 jugglers juggling,
16 squires a-fowling,
15 peacocks strutting,
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 19th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
19 friars' blessings,
18 knights a-jousting,
17 jugglers juggling,
16 squires a-fowling,
15 peacocks strutting,
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 20th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
20 jesters jesting,
19 friars' blessings,
18 knights a-jousting,
17 jugglers juggling,
16 squires a-fowling,
15 peacocks strutting,
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 21st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
21 minstrels singing,
20 jesters jesting,
19 friars' blessings,
18 knights a-jousting,
17 vjugglers juggling,
16 squires a-fowling,
15 peacocks strutting,
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 22nd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
22 Yule logs blazing,
21 minstrels singing,
20 jesters jesting,
19 friars' blessings,
18 knights a-jousting,
17 jugglers juggling,
16 squires a-fowling,
15 peacocks strutting,
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 23rd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
23 Christmas puddings,
22 Yule logs blazing,
21 minstrels singing,
20 jesters jesting,
19 friars' blessings,
18 knights a-jousting,
17 jugglers juggling,
16 squires a-fowling,
15 peacocks strutting,
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 24th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
24 jugs o' wassail,
23 Christmas puddings,
22 Yule logs blazing,
21 minstrels singing,
20 jesters jesting,
19 friars' blessings,
18 knights a-jousting,
17 jugglers juggling,
16 squires a-fowling,
15 peacocks strutting,
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 25th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
25 boars' heads a-roasting
24 jugs o' wassail,
23 Christmas puddings,
22 Yule logs blazing,
21 minstrels singing,
20 jesters jesting,
19 friars' blessings,
18 knights a-jousting,
17 jugglers juggling,
16 squires a-fowling,
15 peacocks strutting,
14 cockrels crowing,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5_ gol-den_ rings__ ,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a par-tridge_ in a pear_ tree___ .


___________________________________________________________



Since the posting of my original "Missing 13 Days of 'The 12 Days of Christmas" work back in 2000, only a few new revelations have come to light about the origin of the "25 Days of Christmas" work.

It may well be that the expatriot English composer in exile may well have not fled his temporary sanctuary in France but simply moved on later from there to Spain simply to seek out or accept new employment as a teacher in residence with a Spanish grande (lord), namely with the del Rey estate. And therein lies an intriguing detail: The shorter "12 Days of Christmas" was first translated into Spanish sometime around 1550-1560, a decade that falls quite nicely within the 41-year gap separating the reigns of King Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I (the latter of whom began her reign in 1588). More strikingly, no singable Portuguese version of the "12 Days of Christmas" appears until late in the 20th century.

In light of these discoveries, I have come to believe that "The 12 Days of Christmas" should henceforth be restored to its original unabridged 25-days length so that it can be better appreciated in all respects. Of course, because of my advocacy of this idea, certain Scrooges and Grinches (who shall remain unnamed) have tried to simply dismiss the entire matter out of hand by alleging that what I'd written above is nothing more than a modern Yuletide urban legend of sorts. And yet, when I press them for even one point of information that they claim I made up, they simply clam up.


Is there more than meets the eye to my "13 Missing Days of the '25 Days of Christmas'"?

I daresay there is, but to date, nobody has pointed ou that particular "something" to me.


In either case, although I don't know it for a fact, I suspect that the the only one(s) who may have at some time in the past taken notice of my "13 Missing Days of the '25 Days of Christmas'" posting was one or more of the writers for Fox's animated "Simpsons" series. That's because the final act of the 2010 Simpsons Christmas episode featured singer Katie Perry, Mr. Burns and the Simpsons singing "The 39 Days of Christmas."

When I first saw this episode back in early December, I almost quite literally did a spit take with the soft drink I was drinking and I couldn't help but talk back to the TV, saying, "That's thirty-seven days of Christmas, NOT thirty-nine!"

I said that because back in 2001, I'd been inspired to create and post my own "37 Days of Christmas" post as a follow-up to my earlier "25 Days of Christmas" post.

Having learned since the posting of my original work that Christmas observances throughout history in England at various times have ranged from as far as four weeks before Christmas to even up through Feb. 2 (Candlemas), I had for the pure Christmas-spirited fun of it taken pen in hand and, by rearranging a few of the Days 13-25 verses of "The 25 Days of Christmas," come up with the ultimate cumulative carol to date: "The 37 Days of Christmas" covering Dec. 1 through Jan. 6 ("Epiphany: Three Kings Day). The imagery I used in the newly-created verses for this song were not meant to be specific to any one century in British history but rather is a representative sampling of items from medieval times up through the 18th century.


"THE 37 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS"
The Ultimate Cumulative Carol Challenge Celebrating 37 Days of the Advent, Arrival and Passage of the Christmas Season, Dec. 1 through Jan. 6. (Epiphany: Three Kings Day)
[This carol contains 25 of the original days from "The 25 Days of Christmas" by the anonymous court composer of King Henry VIII along with twelve new ones: Days 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23, 25, 27, 31, 32, 34, & 37; Copyright 2001 by James William King (jameswking@aol.com)
[Sung to the tune of "The 12 Days of Christmas" Carol]


On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
a partridge in a pear tree.


On 2nd second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 3rd day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 4th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
5 golden rings.
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 6th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings.
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings.
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 9th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings.
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 nine ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings.
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 13th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 14th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 15th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
15 Eastern spices,*
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


_________

*Spices from the Far & Middle East were very much cherished and treasured by medieval Britons and Europeans alike because for a very long time, the tradesmen and suppliers kept the know-how of spice production a mystery. Indeed, the spice suppliers even went so far as to tell tantalizingly exotic and exaggerated tales, indeed, even outright lies, in order to to protect the secret of how spices were produced.
_________


On the 16th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
16 mummers mumming,*
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


_________

*According to"The Golden Bough" by James Frazier: "Mumming usually involves a group of performers dressing up in masks (sometimes of straw) and clothes bedecked with ribbons of rags, and setting out on a procession to neighboring homes singing songs and carrying branches of greenery." They also performed and acted out short morality plays, many times without use of spoken dialogue.
_________


On the 17th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 18th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 19th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 20th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 21st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
21 holly bushels,*
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


_________

*A shorthand way of saying: "21 bushels of holly"
_________


On the 22nd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear


On the 23rd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
23 hand-carved creches,*
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


_________

*A creche (pronounced KRESH) is a Nativity scene. Its plural pronunciation is pronounced "KRESHes". It's derived from French.
_________


On the 24th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 25th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
25 stags a-bounding,*
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


_________

*Inspired by the phrase "the running of the deer" from the classic English carol, "The Holly and the Ivy"
_________


On the 26th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 27th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
27 kissing boughs,*
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


_________

*According to "The English Festivals" by poet & glass-engraver Laurence Whistler, a kissing bough was a spherical framework bound with a box or some other evergreen inside from which red apples dangled from colored ribbons. Fixed to a strip of metal or osier that formed the circumference of the sphere were colored candles. The sphere was then hung up in a prominent place with mistletoe tied beneath it. Kissing boughs were more prominent in rural England.
_________


On the 28th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
28 jesters jesting,
27 kissing boughs,
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 29th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
29 friars' blessings,
28 jesters jesting,
27 kissing boughs,
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 30th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
30 Yule logs blazing,
29 friars' blessings,
28 jesters jesting,
27 kissing boughs,
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 31st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
31 turkeys baking,
30 Yule logs blazing,
29 friars' blessings,
28 jesters jesting,
27 kissing boughs,
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 32nd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
32 chefs' creations,
31 turkeys baking,
30 Yule logs blazing,
29 friars' blessings,
28 jesters jesting,
27 kissing boughs,
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 33rd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
33 boar's heads roasting*,
32 chefs' creations,
31 turkeys baking,
30 Yule logs blazing,
29 friars' blessings,
28 jesters jesting,
27 kissing boughs,
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


_______________________________________

*For more information about roasted boar heads being part of medieval Christmas feasting and the carols which evolved with that tradition, be sure to check out the Boar's Head Carols section of the Hymns And Carols of Christmas website at:

http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/No...
_______________________________________


On the 34th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
34 Christmas ghost tales,
33 boar's heads roasting,
32 chefs' creations,
31 turkeys baking,
30 Yule logs blazing,
29 friars' blessings,
28 jesters jesting,
27 kissing boughs,
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 35th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
35 bowls of wassail,
34 Christmas ghost tales,
33 boar's heads roasting,
32 chefs' creations,
31 turkeys baking,
30 Yule logs blazing,
29 friars' blessings,
28 jesters jesting,
27 kissing boughs,
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 36th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
36 minstrels singing,
35 bowls of wassail,
34 Christmas ghost tales,
33 boar's heads roasting,
32 chefs' creations,
31 turkeys baking,
30 Yule logs blazing,
29 friars' blessings,
28 jesters jesting,
27 kissing boughs,
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.


On the 37th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
37 church bells ringing,
36 minstrels singing,
35 bowls of wassail,
34 Christmas ghost tales,
33 boar's heads roasting,
32 chefs' creations,
31 turkeys baking,
30 Yule logs blazing,
29 friars' blessings,
28 jesters jesting,
27 kissing boughs,
26 knights a-jousting,
25 stags a-bounding,
24 squires a-fowling,
23 hand-carved creches,
22 peacocks strutting,
21 holly bushels,
20 Christmas puddings,
19 cockrels crowing,
18 jugglers juggling,
17 fiddlers bowing,
16 mummers mumming,
15 Eastern spices,
14 fresh-cut fir trees,
13 horses prancing,
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
and a part-ridge__ in a pear_ tree______.



___________________________________________________________________



So, if you share my sentiment that it would be a lot more sensible for us to consider returning to the original unabridged "25 Days of Christmas", I urge you to consider sharing its lyrics with family, friends, and acquaintances over the coming year so that come next Christmas, we'll all be singing from the same page, so to speak.

And if you really love a musical Memory challenge, I also encourage you to consider trying out my own "37 Days of Christmas." (At least when compared with the latter, "The 25 Days of Christmas" doesn't seem all that imposing after all, now does it? )

Moreover, if the Simpsons' "39 Days of Christmas" can unScrooge-ify (even temporarily) mean ole Mr. Burns, even without the alluring aid of singer Katie Perry, I daresay that my own "37 Days of Christmas" at least aspires to take on lesser species of Grinches.


May yours be an eventful, happy and safe holiday season!


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Plainwell
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TLDR

I assume you mentioned the best version of this song is widely accepted to be the John Denver and Muppet's version.


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James King
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vandemonium wrote:
TLDR

I assume you mentioned the best version of this song is widely accepted to be the John Denver and Muppet's version.

That might have been true before 2008, but now John Denver & the Muppets version is now merely the cutest version of the carol ever sung.

The best version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" to date occurred in December 2008 when the King's Singers singing troupe performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to stage the ultimate presentation of the carol in the most musically inspiring ways possible.






This "12 Days of Christmas" performance can be found on the "Rejoice & Be Merry!: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir" DVD and is definitely worth your consideration for purchasing, especially if you enjoy Christmas music and videos.



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vandemonium wrote:
TLDR

I assume you mentioned the best version of this song is widely accepted to be the John Denver and Muppet's version.


I prefer the Frank Kelley (Father Jack) version:



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James King
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Cal Mac wrote:
vandemonium wrote:
TLDR

I assume you mentioned the best version of this song is widely accepted to be the John Denver and Muppet's version.


I prefer the Frank Kelley (Father Jack) version:



I've read a short Christmas story whose content was almost identical to that that which Frank Kelly (Father Jack) was reciting; however, Kelly's version essentially updated, tweaked, and altered the original quite a bit. Even so, I think I prefer the original written story because it was written as a series of dead-pan eloquent thank-you letters which grew increasingly more exasperated in tone as the 12 Days of Christmas gifts accumulated.

Does anybody recall what the name of that original story was?

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