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Personal Finance FAQ

How Many Gifts Were Given During the 12 Days of Christmas?

When we started listening to Christmas songs this year, one of the first songs that we heard was Bing Crosby’s Twelve Days of Christmas.

As I was listening to the song, I started wondering just how many gifts total were brought. After all, from days 5 through 12, my true love gave to me five golden rings.

That turns out to be a lot of rings.

So, I decided to actually calculate how many gifts were given. It turns out that there were:

  • 12 Partridges in a pear tree
  • 22 Turtle doves
  • 30 French hens
  • 36 Calling birds
  • 40 Golden rings
  • 42 Geese a-laying
  • 42 Swans a-swimming
  • 40 Maids a-milking
  • 36 Ladies dancing
  • 30 Lords a-leaping
  • 22 Pipers piping
  • 12 Drummers drumming
  • 364 total gifts

The most commonly given gifts were 42 geese a-laying and 42 swans a-swimming.

Furthermore, there were 184 birds given and 140 people given. Were they servants? Can you imagine the contracts that had to be negotiated?

Also, just imagine how much bird poop there was. There were 92 bird days of poop before a person was given. I don’t think that the maids a-milking figured that cleaning up bird poop was on the agenda, but someone had to clean that mess up.

Finally, given that the average household size in the U.S. is 2,422 square feet and there are 2.6 people per household, meaning that each person in an average U.S. household lives in 931.58 square feet per person, the recipient of the set of 12 days of Christmas gifts would need 130,415.4 square feet just to house the people who were given. That doesn’t even count birds. That’s quite a castle!

So, if you ever decide that you want 12 days’ worth of Christmas presents, be careful what you ask for!

By

Jason Hull, CFP®, was the co-founder of Broadtree Partners, a firm that acquires $1-5MM EBITDA companies. He also was the co-founder of open source search consultancy OpenSource Connections, a premier Solr and ElasticSearch firm. He and his wife FIREd (financial independence retire early) at 46 and 45, respectively. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a MBA from the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business.

You can read more about him in the About Page.

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