The twelve days of Christmas

Preparation Edit

Vocab Edit

  • decorate: make beautiful; add decoration
  • celebrate: feast; hold celebrations; praise

Conversation Edit

Andy walks in to find his girlfriend, Bethany, singing along to some Christmas carols.

  • On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
  • Hello Darling. Mmmuck! (Ji!?) That's one of my favourite Christmas carols.
  • On good, you're here. I wanted to ask you about these twelve days of Christmas: I though there was only one.
  • Sure, Christmas Day is the 25th but the whole festival lasts twelve days. December 25 is actually the first day of Christmas.
  • Ah, and January 6th, when people take down their Christmas trees, is the 12th day?
  • That's right. Catholics also believe that each of the twelve gifts has a special religious meaning.
  • Ah. I thought it was just about a great boyfriend who gives lots of gifts. Hint, hint.
  • That's certainly another way of looking at it.

TOC Edit

  • Introduction
  • How many?
  • The twelve days of Christmas
  • Origins of the 12 days of Christmas
  • Top Twelve presents
  • Twelve adjectvies
  • What did Santa bring?
  • Dialogue
  • Dialogue follow up
  • Christmas word quiz
  • Twelves
  • Your own song
  • for next year
  • blank
  • Copy of 5-Follow up
  • Copy of 8-Food Expressions
  • Whale - Hermanus.jpg
  • Table mountain with flood lights.jpg

Introduction Edit

Lesson Objectives

  • To practice some Christmas vocabulary
  • To talk about presents.
  • To discuss the origins of the song

Lesson Vocabulary

  • Verbs
    • to originate
    • to practice (a religion)
    • to introduce
  • Adjecives
    • inappropriate
    • thoughtful
  • Nouns
    • a version
    • a foot
    • a jury

Question: Why we use practice but not believe?

Practice: We may believe but may not practice.

Jury: Decide if somebody is guilty or not. Judge then decide what to punish.

How many? Edit

gold rings geese a-laying turtle doves lords a-leaping hens maids a-milking drummers swans a-swimming ladies dancing turtle doves pipes partridge

picture matching

What is partridge?

The twelve days of Christmas Edit

This is an old Christmas song about giving presents. What are the presents in the song?

On the first day of Christmas My true lvoe sent to me:

A partridge in a pear tree

On the second day of Christmas My true love sent to me: Two turtle doves and A partridge on a pear tree

Origins of 'the 12 days of Christmas' Edit

No one disputes that 'the twelve days of Christmas' is an old song but there have been some interesting arguments about its origin.

Read the following. What do you think? Why?

Some people believe that the song was invented in ENgland during the religious wars of the 16th century. At this time England was becoming Protestant and you could be arrested and executed for practicing the Catholic faith. The song was invented as a secret way for Catholics to teach their children about their religion.

Some people believe it is just a nonsense rhyme about some unusual gifts. The first printed version of the song appeared in 1780 (though people agree it is much older) in England. In this book it is described as a memory forfeits game

Top twelve presents Edit

What do you thinkj the twelve top selling Christmas gifts were this year? Did you receive any of these? Would you like any of these presents?

  • chocolate
  • Christmas cake
  • Christmas cards
  • fruits
  • toys
  • mobile phones / iPod
  • Christmas trees
  • watch
  • perfume

Twleve adjectives (6) Edit

12 adjectives Use the twelve adjectives in the box to complete the sentences about presents.


  1. She spent a long time deciding on a gift she knew I would like. It was a very ______ present. (beautiful/thoughtful)
  2. It was such a ______ present we couldn't fit it under the tree. (big)
  3. The chocolates you gave me were ______. (delicious)
  4. Thanks for the garden tools. I needed new ones and they will be very ______. (useful)
  5. I thanked my grandmother for the sweater she made me, but I will never wear it. It's ______. (inappropriate < small)
  6. He must have saved money for months to buy the present. It was very ______. (expensive)
  7. I get socks every year for Christmas. They're such a ______ present. (boring)
  8. She bought her boss some underwear for Christmas. It was a very ______ present. (inappropriate)
  9. I didn't have much money so I only got you a ______ present. (cheap)
  10. I got a lot of ______ presents in my stocking. (strange? horrible/useful/beautiful)
  11. What ______ earrings. I'll wear them now! (beautiful/expensive)
  12. My husband gave me a singing plastic fish for Christmas. It was a very ______ present. (thoughtful? inappropriate/horrible)

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