12 days of Christmas…
the math

Have you ever wondered about those gifts from the song “The 12 Days of Christmas”? And since the lines repeat, does that mean that on Day 1, the True Love gave a Partridge in a Pear Tree, and on Day 2, gave Two Turtle Doves and yet another Partridge in a Pear Tree, etc, etc, ad infinitum on down the line?

It doesn’t sound very green to us. Assuming the gifts do, in fact repeat, it adds up to a lot of… well, stuff. The gift from Day 1 was received 12 times, and the gift from Day 12 was received only one time. So, the formula: Number of times the gift was received X the number of items listed as the gift = Total items.

  • 1 x 12 = 12 Drummers Drumming
  • 2 x 11 = 22 Pipers Piping
  • 3 x 10 = 30 Lords a’Leaping
  • 4 x 9 = 36 Ladies Dancing
  • 5 x 8 = 40 Maids a’Milking
  • 6 x 7 = 42 Swans a’Swimming
  • 7 x 6 = 42 Geese a’Laying
  • 8 x 5 = 40 Golden Rings
  • 9 x 4 = 36 Calling Birds
  • 10 x 3 = 30 French Hens
  • 11 x 2 = 22 Turtle Doves
  • 12 x 1 = 12 Partridges in Pear Trees

Whew! OK, so that means the final counts look like this:

  • 140 people (12+22+30+36+40)
  • 184 Birds (42+42+36+30+22+12)
  • 40 Golden Rings (40)
  • 40 Cows or Goats (40 Maids a’milking have to be milking something)
  • 294 Goose Eggs (42 Geese a’laying are laying at least one egg each per day for 7 days of the song)
  • Unknown quantity of Pears (the song doesn’t say whether the trees are bearing fruit)
  • Unknown quantities of milk (the maids are a’milking after all)

This is of course not taking into account the 22 pipes being played, 12 drums being drummed, the lake, pond or tub for all those swimming swans and all of the pens for the various other bird life, not to mention the activity of the leaping lords and dancing ladies.

We’ve got a better, and certainly more eco-friendly, idea. We’re offering special, one-day only discounts for 12 days in a row. Just in time for Christmas.

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