On the Third Day of Christmas...

December 27, 2019

It’s one of my least favorite Yuletide numbers (though it certainly beats Santa being run over by that Reindeer). It is replete with a mind-numbing litany of olde worlde “presents,” the caroling slowing waaaay down whenever we hit “five golldennn rings,” (which always feels a bit like a musical car crash.) When I was young, the only Partridges I knew were the groovy TV family led by Shirley Jones, and darned if I could figure out why they were in a pear tree.

In recent years, I was somewhat charmed by the theory that the Twelve Days stood for Christian symbols (four Gospels, seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, eleven Faithful Apostles), with Jesus as “My True Love.” As the story went, the song was a way to teach some tenets of Christianity without fear of persecution. Good old Snopes de-bunked this thoroughly (Christians at the time of composition were not being persecuted, and why in any event would people “get” the idea that eight maids a milking stood for the eight Beatitudes?) and so now it remains just an archaic and annoying ditty, trotted out faithfully every Christmastide.

But I do love the notion that Christmas joy extends almost two weeks beyond December 25th, and I am all for giving and being gifted. So here is the Elise rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” We begin today, December 27th, so we’ll need to play a little catch up.

Who needs three silly old French hens? On this, the third day of Christmas, my true love(s) gave to me:

Three days of sleeping (I’ve zzzz’d pretty much of every day and night since Christmas afternoon, making up for the entire previous month of pesky nocturnal wakefulness)

Two super grandsons (what were recent Christmases like before them? All I know is, they’re better now!)

And a “Mistletoe Mystery” (the cute show Aiden and I saw in Ambler yesterday).

And coming up…

Tomorrow, Day #4, Four Hours of Church Work (mostly end-of-year stuff, my mileage, my annual report but that’s OK…)

#5: Five Pounds of Cookies (both on the plate and on my hips)

#6: Six Coffee Mugs (presents all, and with the number we break around here, six new ones is just about right)

#7: Seven Resolutions (beyond that I will not go, and even seven is a HUGE stretch)

#8: Eight Grown-up Seyfrieds (in the House for Christmas:The Originals plus Yaj)

#9: Nine Scented Candles (Lit simultaneously, the fragrances are cancelled out, like using all the crayons on top of one another)

#10: Ten Books to Read (from The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane to Total Participation Techniques: How to Make Every Child an Active Learner. The latter will still be on my “to read” list in 2022.)

#11: Eleven Power Cords (All unidentified. Kindle? iPhone? Computer? Projector? Nope!)

#12 Twelve Christmas Cards Received (more than we deserve, since we didn’t send ANY out again this year.)

What do you think? Catchy, huh? And no golldennn rings!


    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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