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# In “The Twelve Days of Christmas” which gifts, and how many of each, were given in the greatest quantity?

Question #118935. Asked by nibbles0011. (Nov 25 10 10:23 AM)

Zbeckabee

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
12 Drummers Drumming
11 Pipers Piping
10 Lords-a-Leaping
8 Maids-a-Milking
7 Swans-a-Swimming
6 Geese-a-Laying
5 Golden Rings
4 Colly Birds
3 French Hens
2 Turtle Doves
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelve_Days_of_Christmas_(song)

 Nov 25 10, 11:54 AM
davejacobs

The eight maids a-milking must have had at least one cow each, so the total that day would have been 16 items. But then the 12 drummers must have had a drum each, making 24 items - not to mention items of clothing!

 Nov 26 10, 2:23 AM
looney_tunes

We can get a different answer if you interpret the lyrics to mean that all of the listed gifts were given each day. In other words, there would be 12 partridges, as one is given on each of the 12 days. This approach gives the following totals for gifts, where calculations show number per day multiplied by number of days on which this gift was given:

Partridge in a Pear Tree: 1 x 12 = 12
Turtle Doves: 2 x 11 = 24
French Hens: 3 x 10 = 30
Calling Birds: 4 x 9 = 36
Golden Rings: 5 x 8 = 40
Geese-a-Laying: 6 x 7 = 42
Swans-a-Swimming: 7 x 6 = 42
Maids-a-Milking: 8 x 5 = 40
Ladies Dancing: 9 x 4 = 36
Lords-a-Leaping: 10 x 3 = 30
Pipers Piping: 11 x 2 = 22
Drummers Drumming: 12 x 1 = 12

So this interpretation of the lyrics gives a joint maximum of 42 for the swans and the geese.

Consideration of subsidiary parts - cows (and milking stools?), drums, pipes, something in which to swim, etc. can only lead to madness as we strive to come up with more ideas of something that could be considered to accompany one of the gifts.

No new reference - the previous link to the lyrics is all that is needed.

 Nov 26 10, 3:12 PM
Baloo55th

Don't forget there are alternative versions which may change the proportions of items. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelve_Days_of_Christmas_%28song%29 which should work better... Also, if you count the stools, you must not forget the pails (and yokes for carrying the pails off...).

They're not Calling Birds, by the way. They're Collie Birds. Doesn't affect the count.

Another thing has just occurred to me. The items are uncountable. How many eggs are there? The geese are 'a-laying' - so there must be some.

 Nov 26 10, 4:03 PM

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