A Modern Twisting of the 12 Days of Christmas

The song "12 Days of Christmas" is a staple to the Christmas holiday. It drones on and on with the long pause in the middle for five golllllllllden rings and then continues the list of things the true love bought. First of all, this list carries a hefty price tag, along with some labor-law agreements, and the need for a barn (all those eight maids milking cows!), and dance floor (where do the nine ladies dance and ten lords leap?) and probably some ear plugs (eleven pipes and twelve drums could contribute to some long-term hearing loss). Because we’re obsessed with our gorgeous glass-blown, hand-painted ornaments we see it only fitting to present the 12 Days of Christmas ornament style. There are some modern twists to this list and a couple long reaches, but we’ve come up with an enjoyable and festive list none-the-less. 

On the first day our love gives a partridge in a pear tree. We have some options here. We have a partridge in a pear ornament, and if you hang it on your Christmas tree, then voila, you have a partridge in a pear on your tree. There’s also a plain partridge ornament for the collector who doesn’t like to complicate things, or who appreciates birds not mixed with fruit. However, for the completely bizarre would be the avocado ornament for the vegetarian take on the list. It’s shaped like pear and there’s no sign of any meat.

Avocado Ornament

The second day features two turtle doves. For the traditionalist, we have a love bird ornament with two pristine white doves. But, to change it up giving two turtles would give a more tropical theme to the gift. We have a tortoise, a small turtle and a green sea turtle, so you’ll have to pick two of the three for your “turtle” dove interpretation of day two. 

Tortoise Ornament

Day three features French hens, which sound so fancy. We wonder if the hens speak French and lay baguettes. Old World Christmas does feature a lovely hen ornament sitting on her fluffy nest. And do give her the French flair she deserves we recommend the baguette and Eiffel Tower ornament.

French Christmas Ornaments

More birds are on the list for day four, but this time calling birds. Originally, this bird was thought to be a “colly” bird, which was an old, old word to describe “black as coal.” Since the phrase “black bird” would wreck the cadence of the song itself, the lyric was eventually changed to “calling bird.” This could be interpreted as a lovely song a bird makes, but we’d like to interpret it as a black bird that can use a phone.

Clip On Oriole Ornament

Day five is the line everyone anticipates and sings with gusto. It’s also probably the only item on the list that everyone would love to receive. Even though, there is a chance that originally the “ring” could have meant a “ring-necked pheasant” and then we’d be back to a long list of birds. Either way, Old World Christmas can offer both the pheasant and the golden ring.

Engagement Ring Ornament

Day six is another bird, and if you get six geese, you may want to employ the ear plugs you’ll be asking for towards the end of the list. As the bird list grows, we offer the Canadian geese ornament representing day six.

Duck Ornament

Now that the bird list is getting long, and technically day seven is another bird, and a basic swan at that, here’s where we’re going to take creative license and interpret the swan as the swan dive. And really, we don’t have a middle-aged-dad-swan-diving ornament, so instead our artistic liberty interprets the seven-day swan as the scuba diver ornament.

Scuba Diver Christmas Ornament

Day eight employs eight maids a’ milking. This could get tricky with labor laws and the fact that not many people have a spare barn to house the cows or the eight maids who show up as a generous, surprise, Christmas gift. We presume they’re milking cows, but technically they could be milking goats or as a popular movie once suggested, cats. 

Goat Ornament

It’s not clear if the maids invite one more friend and become the nine ladies dancing or if this is a whole new group of nine ladies who love to shimmy and break it down, but our best interpretation of these nine ladies would have to be our graceful hula dancer ornament. Hope there are enough grass skirts to go around. 

Hula Girl Ornament

Not to be shown up, ten lords show up, leaping (or doing an Irish jig maybe?). The song doesn’t give good reason as to the leaping, so we have a few suggestions. Could it be they are leaping over a camp fire, trying not to get burned? Did their team win the big game and they’re leaping for joy? Or possibly they’re so happy that the song is nearly over and they had been waiting so long for their time to shine.

Irish Santa Ornament

But adding to the chaos would be the eleven pipers piping. We hope in this day and age they aren’t smoking pipes because that could cause some lung damage and potentially start a fire. We think that eleven bagpipes piping is the likely and more accurate interpretation and we have the perfect ornament for it. 

Santa Playing the Bag Pipes Ornament

The list started with birds and is ending with a lot of large animals, dancing, jumping and musical instruments. Ending with a literal bang are twelve drummers drumming. We hope they handed out some ear plugs before they started, and we hope their song doesn’t last into the night. 

Marching Band Ornament
Back to blog

Written by

Rachael Mitchell

Rachael Mitchell is a freelance writer based in Seattle, Washington, and has over 15 years of writing experience. She’d never be able to pick just one favorite ornament, but narrowed it down to the S’more and Tennis Ball. She always looks forward to s’mores in the summer with friends and family adding gourmet ingredients, and played 4 years of college tennis in the mid-west.


Excellent idea! I’ve been looking for On your website for a 12 Days of Christmas collection and this is a great way to put it all together!


What fun interpretations! I like the idea of making your own 12 Days of Christmas collection — and this is the place to find all the treasures. Thank you for this idea!

Karen Adolphson

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.