Friday, December 16, 2016

The 12 Days of Christmas

My family has had several opportunities this season to sing one of our favorite Christmas carols, "The 12 Days of Christmas." Of course, our family being quite dramatic, we don't just sing it, we act it out. For example, we flap our wings as "two turtledoves" and our beaks as "four calling birds," we pirouette gracefully as "nine ladies dancing," and we tootle our flutes as "eleven pipers piping." So I thought it might be fun to write a blog inspired by this particular carol. But what, exactly? Someone always writes up an annual cost analysis of the whole set of gifts (according to Forbes, this year's cost is $34,363.49), so that was out. Other writers have analyzed the list for secret hidden messages (ABC Sydney's theory is that it was "a secret teaching tool for Catholics during the 18th and 19th century"). Yet others have published lists of themed gifts to go along with each day (Partridge Family DVDs and pear jam, gold napkin rings, a dance video game, etc.). So where do I go with this theme?

Back to my "where to find beautiful and unusual ornaments" blog, of course! Below is my list of some of the most beautiful Christmas ornaments that go along with each gift in "The Twelve Days of Christmas". And if you find a single design you like, most of these ornaments are part of a complete series of all twelve gifts.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
This 8" tall ornament is beautifully hand painted and comes with a gift box suitable for both gift giving and safe storage. I love the details of the large pear at the base, the tiny bow around the partridge's neck, and the green bow and trailing silver streamers at the base. $40 from Patience Brewster. 

Two Turtledoves
This pair of cast pewter turtledoves stands 2-1/4" high. Sweetly touching beaks, the sit atop a graceful cascade of leaves and berries. $17.50 from Silver & Pewter Gifts.

Three French Hens
This gorgeous Waterford crystal ornament is etched with the image of three French hens and a pair of crossed holly leaves, and the bottom is finished to match their Lismore line of glassware. This ornament is sure to add a festive twinkle to your tree. $69.99 from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Four Calling Birds
This painted glass bauble was designed by artist Susan Winget for Ne'qwa Art. A cheerful bluebird warbles happily, perched on a fir branch adorned with pinecones and red berries. $26.99 from City Lights Collectibles.

Five Gold Rings
This 2-1/2" sterling silver ornament by Carrs of Sheffield bears five interlocking gold rings on each side and dangles from a festive red ribbon. $59 from Beverly Bremer.

Six Geese A-Laying
This elegant 3-1/4" high Canada goose sits on a golden nest and lays a gold egg with a 6 on it in dark gold script. This ornament is part of a dated 2016 series. $12.95 from Hallmark.

Seven Swans A-Swimming
This 3-1/4" ceramic oval bears the image of seven swans lazily swimming down a peaceful river through the woods. It can be personalized with a photo or message on the reverse side and hangs from a gold cord. $18.95 from Zazzle.

Eight Maids A-Milking
This hanging figurine from Waterford wears a traditional kerchief and dress, with her sleeves rolled up as she totes two milk buckets. This ornament is part of a discontinued 2002 series so not all ornaments in the series may be available. $84.48 from Amazon

Nine Ladies Dancing
This hand-painted Glitterazzi ornament series from Poland features a traditional Santa Claus/Father Christmas type figure with his robe adorned by images of each gift. In this case, he holds a star topping a decorated Christmas tree on the front of his robe and the nine ladies dancing adorn the back. $70 from Joy to the World Collectibles.

Ten Lords A-Leaping
This 3", hand-crafted, multi-layered wooden ornament is cut from "blue-stained beetle kill pine" and features leaping lords in tricorn hats, waistcoats, and hose, with elegant ruffled jabots. $9.99 from Tradeworks.

Eleven Pipers Piping

This approximately 3" round porcelain ornament is also available in oval, square, and star shapes (round and square also available with silver edging), and features the lyrics of the verse as well as a picture of a piper surrounded by flowering vines. It can be personalized with a photo or message on the back. $13.70 from Zazzle.

Twelve Drummers Drumming

This 6" tall vintage-style glass drummer is festooned with tiny glittering gold details, from the trim on his hat and jacket to the tension rods on the drum. He also bears a tag with the number "12" on it, to help out those of us who can never remember whether drummers or pipers come first. $90 from Reed and Barton.

Please note that if you were to purchase all the figurines listed, the price (not including shipping) would be a cool $513.55, significantly less than the above-referenced $34K and change for the actual items. But if that's too pricey for you, you can simply purchase a full set of coordinated ornaments. All the sets below are priced as a set of all 12 ornaments.

Complete Sets
This set of 3" cloisonne baubles are highlighted with gold wire and brightly-colored enamel. Each bauble is accented with leaves, berries, and flowers in addition to a gold number and the picture of the "gift of the day". $299.99 from Wayfair.

This series of more traditionally-styled 2-1/2" red baubles from artist Kurt Adler are beautifully detailed and each one has glittery gold highlights in the image as well as a large gold number. $40.99 from Overstock.

These multi-colored baubles designed by artist Li Bien are hand-painted from the inside with a special L-shaped brush. Each features a large number plus a smaller image of each gift. $79.96 from Pier One.

This antique-style set of hand-painted glass ornaments features a numbered drop dangling from either a round bauble with the gift of the day perched on top or, in the case of the French hen and the gold rings, the gift IS the bauble. $119 from Pottery Barn.

Now, don't you think your tree could use a few more ornaments? Like, twelve, perhaps?

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