12 Days of Christmas

In my quest for art subjects during the month of December, I remembered something that I really enjoyed...the 12 days of Christmas. Since it officially started this week, I felt it was appropriate to include it. This song, while it's kind of silly and long, is really quite fun to illustrate!

Several years ago I decided that I wanted to draw the figures of the song. I started out huge, and just drew what struck my fancy. My version was silly -- the calling (or Cally) birds, where on cell phones, the swans were doing the back stroke, etc. My imagination was limited, however, and I never finished the project. There is only so much room for 12 drummers drumming, you know?

So then I decided to do ornaments for my brother. These, I reasoned, wouldn't have to be the multiples, just one figure representing each day. I painted them with watercolor, and pressed them into small frames and put red ribbon on them so they could be hung on the tree.

I was flattered to visit their home during the Christmas season last year to find my sister-in-law had strung them across her kitchen doorway.

I have to point out that how you are seeing them is actually larger than they are. They are perhaps 2x2", and it was a challenge for me to get them that small. I suppose I could have painted them larger and then shrunk them with a copier, but I didn't want to do that. I did, however copy the paintings and put copies in the frames -- keeping the originals, which is what these are photographs of.

There have been many versions of this song through the ages. Many different drawings, painting, and representations. While I like my miniatures, I like my larger ones better, and hope to finish them someday so that I can hang them up during Christmas time. If I had lots of money I would custom frame them all together, but that would end up being huge -- not sure I could handle that. They'll probably end up going in individual frames. Perhaps I'll hang them one each day...

Have you heard all the different stories as to how this song came to be? I was surprised to find that what I'd heard the most was actually not true. In doing some online research, I found that there were a couple of stories as to how this song came about. I also have decided this one makes the most sense. I think those that lean toward it's religious intent, are free to run with it.

I also think the idea that the song originated in France seems more likely...

Whatever the reason, whatever the history, I think it's a fun song, and I hope you've enjoyed my paintings...

Return to the Neighborhood.


Paul West said…
Cute paintings. You're a multi-talented lady, I can see.

I don't know where the song "12 Days of Christmas" came from, but did you know that what we normally think of as the 12 days of Christmas as preceding Christmas is wrong? Actually, day one is Christmas Day, December 25th. The event continues until January 6th (12 days later) on the day of the Feast of Epiphany. In the Catholic Church, the Day of Epiphany is celebrated as the day the Wise Men had their "epiphany" or came to the realization that Jesus was indeed the Christ and brought him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

I think it's a little known custom, but one we ought to think about. Wise Men came to the realization that Jesus was indeed the Christ.

Have a wonderful Christmas.

G. Parker said…
Thanks for stopping by, Paul! Actually, I did know that -- I probably should have added it in my brief discourse...grin. I was going with the more widely known version. Have a great Christmas!
Cindy Beck said…
Loved your drawings! You are so talented.

I have to say, my favorite was the "calling" bird. Very cute and it brought a chuckle.
Tristi Pinkston said…
Great pictures! Love them!

I didn't know where the Epiphany came from - good to know that!

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