12 Days of Christmas Recipes (2024)

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This year, let’s celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas with 12 Days of Christmas Recipes. One for each day, corresponding to the Christmas classic song. You will find ideas for recipes from sweet treats to savory goodies. Most of these Christmas foods are easy to make, and all are festive and fun!

12 Days of Christmas Recipes (1)

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The 12 Days of Christmas

Though best known as a classic song dating to the 1700s, the Twelve Days of Christmas is an observance beginning on December 25 and leading up to January 6, the day before Epiphany.

It’s a span of days between the birth of Jesus and the coming of the Magi.

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12 Days of Christmas Lyrics

Here are the 12 Days of Christmas Lyrics to refresh your memory of this classic Christmas song:

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me: 2 Turtle Doves

On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me: 3 French Hens

On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me: 4 Calling Birds

On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me: 5 Golden Rings

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me: 6 Geese a Laying

On the seventh day of Cristmas
my true love sent to me: 7 Swans a Swimming

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me: 8 Maids a Milking

On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me: 9 Ladies Dancing

On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me: 10 Lords a Leaping

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me: 11 Pipers Piping

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me: 12 Drummers Drumming

Listen to Bing Crosby and the 12 Days of Christmas

When Does the 12 Days of Christmas Start?

The 12 days of Christmas is the set of days that marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day).

The four weeks preceding Christmas are known asAdvent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on December 24.

  1. A Partridge in a Pear Tree (December 25)
  2. Two Turtle Doves (December 26)
  3. Three French Hens (December 27)
  4. Four Calling Birds (December 28)
  5. Five Golden Rings (December 29)
  6. Six Geese a Laying (December 30)
  7. Seven Swans a Swimming (December 31) New Year’s Eve
  8. Eight Maids a Milking (January 1) New Year’s Day
  9. Nine Ladies Dancing (January 2)
  10. Ten Lords-a-Leaping (January 3)
  11. Eleven Pipers Piping (January 4)
  12. Twelve Drummers Drumming (January 5)

What are the origins of the 12 Days of Christmas?

The history of the carol is somewhat murky. The earliest known version first appeared in a 1780 children’s book calledMirth With-out Mischief. (A first edition of that book sold for $23,750 at aSotheby’s auctionin 2014, but you can also buy a digital copy onAmazon.) Some historians think the song could be French in origin, but most agree it was designed as a “memory and forfeits” game, in which singers tested their recall of the lyrics and had to award their opponents a “forfeit” — a kiss or a favor of some kind — if they made a mistake.

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas with Food

There are so many ways to commomeorate this set of days during the holiday season. Here are some ideas to add fun and festivity to the days following Christmas:

12 Days of Christmas Recipes


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Day 1: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

These Baked Pears are EASY and delicious with 4 simple ingredients. Drizzled in honey, warmed with spiced cinnamon and crunchy with granola. A go-to desserts without the guilt!


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Day 2: Two Turtle Doves

Photo Credit:www.thespruceeats.com

These easy classic holiday treats are perfect for Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas. "Surprisingly easy to make at home, they just need three common ingredients to recreate the familiarchocolate treat."


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Day 3: Three French Hens

Photo Credit:damndelicious.net

This "French Hens" recipe is a delicious take for the third day of Christmas. This French Chicken Casserole is "the coziest, most wholesome meal. With golden brown chicken, tender potatoes, white wine, fresh rosemary + thyme."


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Day 4: Four Calling Birds

Photo Credit:www.onekingslane.com

I had to look it up -- calling birds. Research shows that "calling birds" were most likely "blackbirds" or crows. This stumped me until I remember the renowned "Four & Twenty Blackbirds" pie bakery in Brooklyn. I came across their recipe for an Apple Pie Recipe of Our Dreams. That seems a better adaptation for Day 4!


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Day 5: Five Golden Rings

Photo Credit:slimfast.com

A healthier version of a favorite treat. "Sometimes you just want some onion rings. With this crunchy and savory recipe, we’ve got your cravings covered. You can throw together these deliciously crispy onion rings and be on your way to tempura paradise in under 30 minutes."


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Day 6: Six Geese a Laying

Photo Credit:www.womansday.com

Deviled Eggs: "Smoked paprika, bacon, and fresh green herbs give the traditional deviled egg a delectable new complexity."


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Day 7: Seven Swans a Swimming

Photo Credit:www.barbarabakes.com

It's New Year's Eve, consider this beautiful treat: Cream Puff Swans. "Golden cream puff swans filled with rich, delicious pastry cream are a must-try baking project for kids and adults. "


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Day 8: Eight Maids a Milking

Photo Credit:www.superhealthykids.com

This Homemade Banana Pudding Recipe, using of course milk, is a sweet, rich, and creamy banana pudding recipe that's light on added sugars and big on fresh banana flavor!


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Day 9: Nine Ladies Dancing

Photo Credit:bakingamoment.com

These homemade Ladyfingers serve beautifully for the ninth day of Christmas. With a cup of tea, of course!


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Day 10: Ten Lords-a-Leaping

This easy, homemade Sweet and Spicy Coconut Curry Popcorn literally "leaps" off the pan and is a delicious sweet and savory treat!


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Day 11: Eleven Pipers Pipping

If you're wondering how these Double Chocolate Baked Donuts qualifies for the eleventh day, it's simply that I "pipe" the batter into an easy donut mold. Although, you can spoon it too. But they're yummy, and kind of perfect as the twelve days of Christmas comes to a close.


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Day 12: Twelve Drummers Drumming

Photo Credit:www.womansday.com

These Mini Drum Cakes can also serve as Twelfth Night Cakes, a popular holiday concluding the Twelve Days of Christmas.

12 Days of Christmas Recipes (2024)


What should be eaten in each of the 12 days of Christmas? ›

12 Days of Delicious Christmas Dishes
  • Day 2: Turtle Doves. Jonny Valiant; Food styling Vivian Lui; Prop styling: Paige Hicks. ...
  • Day 3: French Hens. ...
  • Day 4: Calling Birds. ...
  • Day 5: Golden Rings. ...
  • Day 6: Geese A-Laying. ...
  • Day 7: Swans A-Swimming. ...
  • Day 8: Maids A-Milking. ...
  • Days 9 and 10: Ladies Dancing and Lords A-Leaping.
Dec 12, 2017

What is a 12 days of Christmas party? ›

The original twelve days of Christmas were a series of religious feast days celebrated as part of the Roman Catholic religion in medieval and Tudor England. Starting on Christmas Day, there were 12 days of religious celebrations, feasting and entertainments that lasted all the way up to 5 January.

What is the most common Christmas Day dinner? ›

Traditional Christmas dinner features turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and vegetables. Other types of poultry, roast beef, or ham, are also used. Pumpkin or apple pie, raisin pudding, Christmas pudding, or fruitcake are staples for dessert.

How do you observe the 12 days of Christmas? ›

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas with Your Family
  1. Play "Name that Christmas Carol." ...
  2. Sing "The 12 Days of Christmas." ...
  3. Open your Christmas gifts throughout the 12 days of Christmas. ...
  4. Look through your Christmas cards together. ...
  5. Set aside a special family day. ...
  6. Host an Epiphany party to celebrate the visit of the magi.

What is the most expensive gift in the 12 days of Christmas? ›

Lords-a-leaping were the most expensive gift, followed by swans.

What was the first gift in the 12 days of Christmas? ›

There have been some variations over the years (at first, the calling birds were sometimes canary birds or colley birds, meaning blackbirds), but the current common list of gifts are: Day 1: A partridge in a pear tree. Day 2: Two turtle doves. Day 3: Three French hens.

How much would 12 days of Christmas cost? ›

If you wanted to give your sweetie the true “Twelve Days of Christmas” — with gifts repeated several times, according to the song — it would cost $201,972.66. That would include 364 gifts.

What is a traditional Christmas dinner menu? ›

Traditional Christmas foods are very similar to Thanksgiving and consists of roast turkey, turkey stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and pies such as apple or pumpkin. Other non-traditional main dish favorites are ham, roast beef or lasagna.

What meat to cook on Christmas Day? ›

The 5 Meats of Christmas
  • 1) Beef Tenderloin. If you love filet mignon, this is the holiday roast for you. ...
  • 2) Crown Roast of Pork. A crown roast is created by taking a bone-in pork loin and assembling it into a circle with the ribs pointed upward. ...
  • 3) Prime Rib. ...
  • 4) Spiral Ham. ...
  • Holiday Short-Cut Rump Roast.

How to do a 12 days of Christmas campaign? ›

What is the 12 Days of Christmas marketing strategy? A 12 Days of Christmas marketing strategy is a marketing campaign where you reveal a new deal or piece of content every day for 12 days. Businesses use this strategy to engage their target audience, drive sales, and build brand awareness during the holiday season.

What is 12 days after Christmas called? ›

Twelfth Night (also known as Epiphany Eve depending upon the tradition) is a Christian festival on the last night of the Twelve Days of Christmas, marking the coming of the Epiphany.

How do you do the 12 days of Christmas Secret Santa? ›

Each night, as late as possible, beginning with the night of Dec 12th {that way it is there when they wake up on the 13th}, you will leave a little gift at the doorstep of the recipient. Just be sure you go un-noticed, you don't want to reveal who you are!

Why do we eat 12 on Christmas Eve? ›

A twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper is traditionally prepared to commemorate Jesus' twelve disciples in Central, Northern and Eastern European cultures, especially those that were formerly part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and neighbouring countries.

What are some of the foods that are eaten on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Germany? ›

Treat guests to a traditional German Christmas dinner with classic dishes like roasted goose legs, braised red cabbage. and dumplings, and don't forget the mulled wine and platter of gorgeous, festive cookies.

Why do we have 12 dishes for Christmas? ›

On the evening of January 6, on Christmas Eve, Ukraine celebrates the Holy Evening and traditionally puts 12 meatless dishes on the table – according to the number of apostles. As soon as the first star appears in the sky, the whole family sits down at the table and begins dinner.


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