What Are The Twelve Days of Christmas?
When most people hear the words "The Twelve Days of Christmas," they usually think of the Christmas carol of the same name. The actual Twelve Days of Christmas refers, for Christians, to the days between December 25, Christmas Day, and January 6, the feast of the Epiphany.
The celebration begins on Christmas Day, the day commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. December 26 is the Feast of St. Stephen, whom you may recognize from another Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslas.
This is followed by the Feast of St. John the Evangelist on December 27, and the Feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28.
The festivities culminate on January 6, with the Feast of the Epiphany. This represents the Baptism of Christ, Christ's first miracle, the nativity of Christ, and the visitation of the Magi, or Wise Men.
Does the Song Have a Deeper Meaning?
The song, The Twelve Days of Christmas is also said to have meaning beyond the words themselves. It is said to have come about during a time with Roman Catholics were not allowed to openly practice their faith.
Some say that each gift is symbolic of one aspect of the Catholic faith. For example, the two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testaments. The four calling birds represent the four Gospels. And, the ten lords a-leaping symbolize the Ten Commandments.
However, there is evidence to refute the claim that The Twelve Days of Christmas is a Catholic catechism. This evidence indicates that, while interesting, the "hidden meanings" found in the song are merely an urban legend.
Whether you're hoping to supplement seasonal learning or just give your students something fun (and quiet!) to do, download these free Twelve Days of Christmas printables to add to your arsenal.01of 06
Twelve Days of Christmas Vocabulary
Print the pdf: Twelve Days of Christmas Vocabulary Sheet
This activity gives young students a chance to practice writing number words. They should write the correct number from the word bank next to each item mentioned in the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas.02of 06
Twelve Days of Christmas Wordsearch
Print the pdf: Twelve Days of Christmas Word Search
Children of all ages will have fun completing this word search puzzle. Each of the words or phrases in the word box are associated with the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas and each can be found among the jumbled letters in the puzzle.
Don't miss The Twelve Days of Christmas Coloring Book which includes lyrics.03of 06
Twelve Days of Christmas Crossword Puzzle
Print the pdf: Twelve Days of Christmas Crossword Puzzle
How well do your kids remember the words to The Twelve Days of Christmas? Each of the crossword puzzle clues contains a word or phrase that completes one of those found in the word bank based on the lyrics to the song. Correctly pair the words and phrases to complete the lyrics and fill in the puzzle.04of 06
Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge
Print the pdf: Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge
Challenge your students to see how well they remember this lengthy Christmas carol. For each number listed, children should choose the correct item from the four multiple choice options using the song lyrics for The Twelve Days of Christmas as their guide.05of 06
Twelve Days of Christmas Alphabet Activity
Print the pdf: Twelve Days of Christmas Alphabet Activity
Students can keep their alphabetizing skills sharp over Christmas break with this activity. Instruct students to write each phrase from the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas in correct alphabetical order on the blank lines provided.06of 06
Twelve Days of Christmas Draw and Write
Print the pdf: Twelve Days of Christmas Draw and Write Page
In this activity kids can get creative while they practice their handwriting and composition skills. Students can use the blank box to draw a Twelve Days of Christmas related picture. Then, they can write about their drawing on the blank lines provided.
Children might also enjoy investigating Christmas Symbols and learning why items such as Christmas trees, wreaths, and candy canes are symbols of Christmas.
They may also want to complete these Christian-themed Nativity printables, which include a words search, crossword puzzle, and coloring pages.
Updated by Kris Bales