Advertisement

The 12 days of Christmas

December 17, 1998|By MEG H. PARTINGTON

The 12 days of Christmas

[lyrics] [cost]

For those who lament that holiday goodwill seems to disappear on Christmas Day, there is a way to let the spirit of giving continue for days after - 11 to be exact.

For a mere $111,000 and some change, the lyrics of "The 12 Days of Christmas" can materialize, starting on Dec. 25 and ending on Jan. 6, the Epiphany. In Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, the Epiphany commemorates the adoration of the baby Jesus by the three wise men, while Eastern churches consider it to be the day Jesus was baptized.

[cont. from lifestyle]

The going rate for a partridge is $8, according to Dave Hartman at Clearview Stock Farm and Hatchery in Gratz, Pa., in Dauphin County. The cost of the tree in which it perches varies depending on the type of pear you want it to bear.

Advertisement

At Potomac Farms Nursery in Shepherdstown, W.Va., a Bradford pear tree measuring 1 3/4 inches in diameter costs $69.99, while the same size Aristocrat pear tree costs $99.99.

A pair of turtledoves would cost about $6, says Hartman, while three French hens would run about $15.

When asking bird experts what would be considered a "calling bird," canaries commonly came to mind. At Pugh's Petcetera in Waynesboro, Pa., a male singing canary costs $59.98. Since the song calls for four, the cost would be about $240.

Like pear trees, the cost of golden rings varies with the size.

A thin wedding band of 14-carat gold costs about $30 at O'Connell Jewelers in Hagerstown's Valley Mall. For a chunky, 12-millimeter ring, the price jumps to between $300 and $400, but for our computing purposes, we'll go with the middle-of-the-road, 3-millimeter to 5-millimeter ring, which carries a price tag of about $150. Five would add up to $750.

Geese a-laying their precious eggs cost about $50 apiece, says Hartman, so six of them would run a buyer $300. Swans are even more pricey, at $750 each, so plan to drop $5,250 on seven of them.

The concept of eight maids a-milking isn't as medieval as it sounds, says Don Schwartz, Washington County extension agent for Maryland Cooperative Extension of University of Maryland.

In many of the better farms in the Northeast, farmers will only hire women to milk their cows, Schwartz says. "They just have a better touch" and are not as rough or noisy as men, he says.

Female milkers are compensated about $9 an hour for their skill, he says, so for a group of eight, the cost would be $72 an hour.

Nine ladies dancing, which for our purposes will be ballerinas, would cost $9,000 for one hour, while 10 lords a-leaping - or male ballet dancers - would ring in with a $10,000 price, according to Lauran Clowser, artistic director of The City Ballet School and The Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Company in Hagerstown.

Pipers, in our translation, are piccolo players. The cost for 11 of them for an hour calculates to $575, according to Jim Powers, secretary/treasurer of Musicians Union Local 770 in Hagerstown. One piccoloist would be considered the leader because he or she has more experience, and therefore would cost more than the remaining 10 "sidemen," he says.

A dozen drummers would charge $625 for an hour-long performance, Powers says, with the same hierarchy as the pipers.

Keep in the mind that the grand total - $111,047 - comes from the snowball effect created by the song. For instance, on the fifth day, the gift-giver not only has to bear the cost of five golden rings, but four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

If you are feeling extravagant and want to surprise someone with this gift that grows day by day, you'd better get moving. There are only five days until Christmas, and those pear trees are going fast!




[lyrics] [cost]

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|