Power Rank

'12 Days of Christmas' Gifts, Ranked by How Much I'd Actually Like Them


The best part of having a true love, in my opinion, is the lavish gifts they will inevitably bestow upon you during the holiday season. And apparently, it's always been that way: "The 12 Days of Christmas," written in the late 18th century, is a righteous jam that celebrates the lengths some dude went to three centuries ago to appease his bloomer-clad lady. Back then, all this bird-heavy swag would have cost over $27,000 -- and probably would have made for one impressed maiden fair. 

But the world has changed, and some things just don't hold up over time. The gifts this so-called "true love" gave his lady seem downright bizarre, cumbersome, and generally shitty in today's terms. Which is why I took it upon myself to gaze through my modern lenses and rank the desirability of all the gifts presented in the cumulative holiday classic.

There's a lot of birds (like, a lot), some apparent human trafficking, dancing ladies, and, of course -- a partridge in a pear tree. Sounds like my Friday night.

12. Six geese a laying

What the hell are the geese “a laying”? Are they dropping massive turds all over the place? Are they “laying” other geese, in adult terms? No matter, I don’t need a six-pack of geese shitting or having sex all over my apartment. And if they are laying eggs, so what? I’ve never seen goose eggs on any menu. Plus one time when I was 7, a goose spit at me and my OshKosh B'gosh™ overalls. This is a worthless, mean-spirited present.

11. A partridge in a pear tree

I live in Manhattan. I can in no way facilitate a pear tree in my apartment, and a free-range partridge would almost certainly void my safety deposit. The guy's heart is in the right place here, but it’s just not feasible and would severely complicate my life. Plus pears are just bullshit apples, anyway.

10. Ten lords a leaping

I don’t need a bunch of over-entitled, over-stimulated d-bags jumping all over my situation. And I can’t imagine getting 10 leaping lords into my dad’s Honda after Christmas, and home from grandma’s house.

9. Eleven pipers piping

Yeah, that wouldn’t get annoying or anything. And where does this guy get off giving away human beings as presents? Human trafficking is no joke. Especially when piping is involved.

8, 7, & 6. TIE: Seven swans a swimming/four calling birds/three French hens

Why the eff does this guy keep giving away birds? Have you ever heard of literally anyone ever giving a bird as a present? I feel like most people would rather have a simple iTunes gift card than a bunch of living, breathing, shitting, pecking, fornicating animals that you have to take care of for a decade. Is this guy in collusion with the Audubon Society?

5. Two turtle doves

If I’ve learned anything from obsessively watching Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, it’s that two turtle doves can be magical as hell, and should always be welcomed with open arms.

4. Twelve drummers drumming

If I’ve learned anything from obsessively watching Nick Cannon’s every career move, it’s that drum lines can be magical as hell, and should always be welcomed with open arms.

3. Eight maids a milking


2. Five golden rings

Is this real gold we are talking about? And what kind of rings? Wedding rings? Because I can't deal with that kind of commitment. Is this a Sonic the Hedgehog reference? A nod to the Olympics? Am I able to melt these suckers down and turn them into a badass letter opener? We definitely need more info on this one, but it’s better than 95% of the trash on this list -- mainly because it lacks a beak and feathers and it’s not alive. 

1. Nine ladies dancing

 I’m only human. Who doesn’t love a good ballet?
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Thrillist. Follow him: @wilfulton. Or don't. He's not the boss of you.