# In the carol, "12 Days of Christmas." just how many of each gift does the singer end up with?

Asked by

ETpro (

34563)
December 20th, 2011

Listen and count. Clearly it’s 12 partridges in pear trees because there is one given on each of the 12 days. And there are 12 drummers drumming given only on the 12th day. But on day 2 through 12, all the previous presents are repeated. So just how many turtle doves, french hens, calling birds, golden rings, geese a-laying, swans a-swimming, maids a-milking, ladies dancing, lords a-leaping, and pipers piping does the singer end up with?

As a present for your calculations, here’s the story of how this British Christmas Carol came to be. The link at the end of the explanation goes into why it speaks of 12 days of Christmas. To all those jellies that celebrate something at this time of the year, happy Holidays.

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## 9 Answers

At last count? *All* of them.

As long as I get the six geese a’ laying..I’m happy, you can keep the damn Partridges, golden rings and lords a leaping. ;-p

12 * 1 Drummers Drumming

11 * 2 Pipers Piping

10 * 3 Lords a Leapin

9 * 4 Ladies Dancing

8 * 5 Maids a Milkin

7 * 6 Swans a Swimmin

6 * 7 Geese a Layin

5 * 8 Golden Rings

4 * 9 Calling Birds

3 * 10 French Hens

2 * 11 Turtle Doves

1 * 12 Partridges in a Pear Tree.

Assuming the gifts really are recurring:

12 drummers drumming

22 pipers piping

30 lords-a-leaping

36 ladies dancing

40 maids-a-milking

42 swans-a-swimming

42 geese-a-laying

40 golden rings

36 colly birds

30 French hens

22 turtle doves

12 partridges in 12 pear trees

It adds up to 364. Is there one extra thing somewhere that can make it add to 365? Because that would be a lot more meaningful…unless it refers to all the days *except* Christmas…

@DominicX Yes, actually. Traditionally, the very last line is repeated. So one could argue that the narrator actually recieves 13 partridges, not 12.

seriously? Did that happen by mistake or is the writer just genius? Did MC Escher write this song?

Jesus, you guys are making my head hurt…I never did those trick math questions well at all. :-P

@JilltheTooth That’s a very practical if rather inspecific answer. :-)

@Coloma I know you love geese, but you’d get 6 geese a laying 7 times, for a total of 42 geese. That’s a lot of fowl to feed. :-)

@MrItty That’s pretty close to the calcualtion formula.

@SavoirFaire Thanks for doing the above math. Makes a nice modified Bell Curvce, no?

@DominicX Almost, but not quite.

@MrItty Bingo. Here’s the total. And isn’t it fascinating it covers the days from Christmas to Epiphany and the days of the standard year. Maybe the Lords a-Leaping take care of leap years. :-)

@judochop The odds that happened by chance are awfully slim.

@Coloma Don’t despair. While we play math games, somebody needs to mind that gaggle f geese.

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