You know that song.., "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me..."
Well the economy, or lack thereof has had quite an effect on the items glorified in the lyric of the song. According to PNC Financial Services Group, the total cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the items in each verse will cost over $75,000. The Partridge hasn't increased much but the Pear tree prices have risen dramatically.
The milking maids remained the steadiest due to the outsourcing of unskilled labor in the song. Maids a'milking can be purchased for very little capital from most developing nations or traded for a couple plastic beads, beer, or a whoopie cushion.
There has also been a major decline in the housing market which has decreased the demand for golden rings and other luxury items, driving their prices up.
Leaping lords and dancing ladies, as well as piping pipers have all had an increase in average wages in the last few hundred years. So, if you are planning on giving your true love all of the items from the twelve days, you may want to reconsider your budget.
The milking maids' minimum wage, fortunately for vulture capitalists, remains at $.15 an hour. This is the same wage that has been instated since 1697 adjusted for inflation. Next year Republicans have vowed to remove environmental protections making the birds in this song a bit less plentiful which will inflate their values as speculators reap windfalls in commodities such as geese a layin'. Swans range in the $4,000 price range... and you'll be needing 7.
At Waterloo Gardens, a nursery in Philadelphia, the pear tree went from $89.99 last year to $129.99 this year.
While on the subject, there is a good bit of urban legend surrounding this song.
Starting in the 1990s the lyrics were touted as some type of code for religious doctrine. The story goes that Catholics in England were not allowed to practice their faith openly, so "The Twelve Days of Christmas" became a secret catechism. Several suggestions are listed as to what doctrines the verses actually represented.
Now there are serious problems with this.
None of the hundreds of emails or citations of this story on the net includes any credible source. Most have no source at all, but those that do most often cite an article published on the Catholic Information Network in 1995. It was authored by Fr. Hal Stockert of Fishnetsite and it too offers no sources or corroboration of any kind.
The good Father was interviewed in 1999 about this and offered this bit of balderdash-"I've got all kinds of people writing me demanding references for my work," he said. "I wish I could give them what they want, but all of my notes were ruined when our church had a plumbing leak and the basement flooded." Meanwhile, he said, his copy of the original article is on "a computer floppy disk that is so old that nobody has a machine that can read it, anymore." Fr. Stockert's loss is of course unfortunate, but evidence that cannot be examined is not evidence at all.
The song, according to documented historical records would seem to have originated in France, not England. The prestigious New Oxford Book of Carols which not only cites the French roots of the song, but says it is based on a game that children would play on the Twelfth Night, the eve of Epiphany. In the game, each child would have to try to remember and recite the objects that were said by a previous child. If successful, the child would add another object to the list for the next contestant to recite. If not, the child dropped out. The game would continue until there was a winner.
There are also other problems with this catechism falsehood.
The assumption behind it is that the song allowed Catholics to secretly embrace their beliefs behind the backs of non-Catholic Christian leaders during a time when being a practicing Catholic was against the law under Anglican rule. None of the doctrines said to be represented in the Twelve Days of Christmas, however, was any different from the beliefs of Anglicans or even Presbyterians. There is also the question that if the song was that important for teaching or remembering doctrine, why was it associated only with Christmas? Still a few versions make the generic claim that it was concocted in some land that outlawed Christianity such as some unknown Muslim country...but it's French origin seems to make that absurd as well.
(Unless France is a secret Muslim like the American President is claimed to be by the same folks that tout this false rewrite of history). One final note is that the first printed version of the song is said to be in the children's book "Mirth Without Mischief" published in 1780 and that describes the song in similar terms as the Oxford Book of Carols.
The Twelve Days of Christmas" is what most people take it to be: a secular song that celebrates the Christmas season with fanciful evocations of gifts, dancing and music. Nonetheless, people continue to make up nonsense about "the beauty and truly biblical and spiritual meanings locked away in this wonderful song" that puts Christ into Christmas where he doesn't appear to be. I suggest those who consider this tale to be "beautiful" and "inspirational" (despite its obvious lack of truthfulness) should consider its underlying message: That one group of Jesus' followers had to hide their beliefs in order to avoid being tortured and killed by another group of Jesus' followers. Of all the aspects of Christianity to celebrate at Christmastime, that doesn't sound like a particularly good one to place importance on