"The 12 Days of Christmas" is a holiday song many of us know by heart. But, in addition to being a festive tune, it also serves as a fun way to create a theme for your next holiday gift exchange with friends, family, or coworkers. While some verses are easier than others to imagine presents for, the unique aspect of each day's lyrics poses a fun challenge sure to break any holiday gifting rut you find yourself in.
To help you out, we've brainstormed tons of clever gift ideas fit for all ages, all themed to the classic carol. They range in cost, time commitment, and complexity, but the ultimate point is to have fun with it—no need to take every verse literally. Let these ideas serve as a starting point and don't be afraid to get creative!
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A Partridge in a Pear Tree
You'll notice that many "12 Days of Christmas" gifts can be food-related, and we're certainly not objecting. Keeping your gift exchange edible works well no matter who your intended audience is. For the first verse, bake up anything that has pear as the main ingredient, like this easy and fresh pear cobbler recipe. Wrap your baked goods up in a holiday-themed disposable container and add a festive bow to complete your gift.
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Don't worry if you only take one word from "The 12 Days of Christmas" verse and run with it for your gift. In honor of the song's second line, why not gift a platter of homemade turtle candy? The chocolate shop classic—which consists of chocolate, caramel, and pecans—has been beloved since 1918, so you know it's bound to be a hit with adults and kids alike. Wrap your platter or plate in colorful decorative cellophane, then add a gift tag with "The 12 Days of Christmas" verse.
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Three French Hens
In the middle of winter, who wouldn't love to receive a soul-warming dinner? Your favorite chicken soup recipe lends itself perfectly to the third verse in "The 12 Days of Christmas" and, while it doesn't necessarily include an actual hen, we think your friends and family will give you a pass. If you don't have the means to deliver a fully-cooked soup to your gift recipient, compile all the dry ingredients into a mason jar and gift that, along with the recipe, instead.
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Four Calling Birds
At first listen, "four calling birds" may seem sort of confusing and, while you could opt for another present with birds, we love the idea of gifting something geared toward giving and receiving messages. For a play on the phrase "calling" in the lyric, opt to gift a pretty DIY custom phone case, decorated using the favorite colors of your intended recipient.
Other Ideas:Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Five Golden Rings
Unless you are doing this gift exchange with your significant other, we doubt you'll want to purchase actual gold rings in honor of this next verse. Instead, opt for a clever spin that your host or hostess is sure to love and gift gold napkin rings. You can purchase a set or make your own, depending on how much time you have for a weekend DIY project.
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Six Geese a Laying
To honor the sixth verse from "The 12 Days of Christmas," look for a gift that incorporates eggs or geese. Our favorite idea: a delicious batch of homemade eggnog. Not only does it fit the theme, but it's a seasonal classic and can be enjoyed by itself or as part of a larger holiday cocktail recipe. If you want to, you can take your gift one step further by including holiday mugs for the beverage to be enjoyed in, too.
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Seven Swans a Swimming
To us, swans evoke a sense of peacefulness and tranquility. Allow that to inspire your gift by theming your present around relaxation, like this spa gift basket from Design Love Fest. Include luxurious goodies like body lotion, bath salts, and even a robe, then package it all up in a stylish wicker basket that your recipient can use over again in their home.
- Inflatable swan pool float
- Swan Christmas garland
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Eight Maids a Milking
This "12 Days of Christmas" gift idea is another one you can make yourself. Encourage a little self-care this holiday season by whipping up a batch of this chamomile lavender oatmeal milk bath from Shaken Together Life. The good news: One recipe makes a lot of milk bath, so you'll have extra left over to gift to other loved ones—or use yourself!
Other Ideas:Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Nine Ladies Dancing
You have so many options for honoring the ninth verse of "The 12 Days of Christmas" and honestly, nothing feels more festive than nodding to the idea of dancing. If you have the budget, splurge on a smart speaker to help get your gift recipient grooving. If you're looking to be more frugal, consider making a playlist of all your favorite dance tunes that you can then share through an app like Spotify.
- A gift certificate for dance lessons
- Tickets to a dance performance, like The Nutcracker or The Rockettes
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Ten Lords a Leaping
When it comes to the tenth verse, encourage your friends or family to get up and at 'em with a jump rope just made for leaping. If the receiver is a fitness fanatic, you can splurge on the real deal (they'll appreciate it!) but more novice recipients may rather receive a charming DIY version, like this vintage-inspired rope style from Say Yes.
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Eleven Pipers Piping
Piping technically has to do with playing the flute, but it also calls to mind piping frosting, like you would onto a cake or cookies (or maybe we've just been watching too many episodes of "The Great British Bakeoff."). Pull together a gift set with everything you need to bake up and decorate holiday cookies, then finish it all off with a fun themed printable from C.R.A.F.T.
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Twelve Drummers Drumming
If you've made it this far in your "12 Days of Christmas" gift-giving, you should go out with a bang—a drum bang, that is. The percussion instrument is the obvious choice for the twelfth and final verse of the popular Christmas song, and one that suits recipients both old and young. Opt for a toy drum if gifting to a child, or splurge on a few drum lessons if you're buying for a friend or family member.