Holiday Party Theme: Twelve Days of Christmas

Let the Countdown Begin!

If you're anything like us, you love switching your holiday theme from year to year. And (psst!) this year, The Twelve Days of Christmas is the party theme. Create holiday cards, decorations, foods and even gifts that match this familiar and well-loved song. Let's get started with a few simple ideas.

Twelve Days; Twelve Symbols

The "twelve days of Christmas" were celebrated in centuries gone by beginning on Christmas Day (December 25) and ending at the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6). While most people in modern times don't celebrate these traditional 12 days, the classic Christmas carol endures and remains a popular symbol of the Christmas holiday. Some interpretations equate each "gift" in the song as a symbol for love, God, family and for Christmas Day itself, but most people simply enjoy the song for the fun of trying to remember each line!

If you have an exceptional memory, you may already know them all. The idea of giving "lords a leaping" may seem, well, a little dated. If you're curious about the origins of the gifts, here is some history of The Twelve Days of Christmas . In the meantime, here's a quick refresher:
  • 1st day: a partridge in a pear tree
  • 2nd day: two turtledoves
  • 3rd day: three French hens
  • 4th day: four calling birds
  • 5th day: five golden rings
  • 6th day: geese a-laying
  • 7th day: swans a-swimming
  • 8th day: maids a-milking
  • 9th day: ladies dancing
  • 10th day: lords a-leaping
  • 11th day: pipers piping
  • 12th day: drummers drumming

Pretty Cards for the Occasion

With the nostalgia and elegance of the imagery, the Twelve Days of Christmas couldn't offer a lovelier theme for all your Christmas stationery, so make sure your cards, family letters, and even gift tags reflect the song's lyrics.

The partridge and her festive pear tree are the most immediately recognizable symbols of the holiday song. Also consider other elements, such as drums for the twelve drummers drumming or an elegant pair of turtledoves.

Party Decorations and Food

Pretty printed clipart and other decorations will deliver an instantly festive mood for your holiday party this year. Again, choose Twelve Days; not only will your choices be easier to make, you'll also have a cohesive, visually pleasing theme guests will love.

At your local crafts store, pick up a pair of doves, a plump partridge or other seasonal bird and place at the center of the table; surround the bird or birds with real or artificial garlands, greenery and berries (be careful with these if there will be small and very curious children around; some winter berries can be unhealthy to eat).

Also look for specialty candies (marzipan or chocolate are great choices) that have a Twelve Days theme. If you can't find these, try old-fashioned candies instead, like ribbon candy, candy canes, peppermint and butterscotch. Alternately, make sugar cookies using 12 Days of Christmas cookie cutters. Finish off your party atmosphere with a big bowl of punch or traditional spiked eggnog.

If you have really adventurous friends, you could even throw a 12 Days of Christmas Costume party. Just imagine what the interpretation of "lords of leaping" would be! Lastly, have a few Christmas Carol favorites playing in the background and a lot of laughter -- and your party will be wonderful.

Written by: Melanie Henson