Tuesday, December 20, 2005


To everyone singing the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and thinking it's the days before, it's not. The song describes the twelve days after Christmas. The Western church counts 12 days from December 25th to January 6th, the beginning of Epiphany.

[Updated to clarify] Also, all of the doves, rings, ladies etc. in the song are (or may not be)* symbols for something, and if you're dying to know what, here's a good explanation (and a link to the opposing argument.)**(I actually have * and ** arguments with people about this song every year. Drives me nuts because both sides miss the point: It's Christmas, sing the damn song and quit worrying about who's right.)

The Twelve Online Reads of Christmas

1. One Curious Feline: Douglas Clegg's December newsletter : anyone with a curious pet will appreciate Natalie's hijinks. (I have three of them, Doug, so you're not getting any sympathy from me.)

2. Two Hot Excerpts: part one and part two of Alison Kent's excerpt from her new Blaze release, Goes Down Easy.

3. Who Were Those Three Masked Gems?: M.J. has letters from three anonymous authors, all whining to Santa about something horrid in the publishing industry. I guess Dr. Sue is taking off this week.

4. Four Times a Year: Does that mean posts, or books? Seems pretty dead over at the Lit-Blog Coop. (See, I didn't make any comparison to the books they read. Aren't you proud of me?)

5. Five We Missed: Lee Goldberg on the short-lived TV series The Fifth Corner.

6. Smart Six: Jo Leigh goes for focus instead of resolutions with her post on the same. You can't become the most boring person in the universe, Jo, because I already hold the title -- and will defend it.

7. Cool Seven: Marjorie M. Liu takes on the Dreaded Seven Things meme with her usual style.

8. 8 Track Player?: One of the items James Winter has on his Christmas wish list. Maybe he'll let me borrow it to play some of my old Bobby Sherman tapes.

9. 9th Level of Hell: Kate Rothwell tortures me with a delicioius-sounding cheesecake recipe.

10. Ten Shuffled: Some writers have left the Storytellers Unplugged weblog, but other new writers are coming on board.

11. Blog to Eleven: Well, none of you wrote eleven of anything to fit this list, and like Jon I'm a Spinal Tap fan.

12. Twelve the Hard Way: Stuart MacBride's posting The 12 Stories of Christmas, which start here. Be sure to click on The Hunger Site button and feed some hungry folks for free.


  1. Anonymous1:41 PM

    Author #3 said:

    "...whining, sniping and snarking in public is both childish and embarressing...bragging about your advance, productivity, popularity, reviews, talent, hardcover vs paperback, contracts and/or status on the bestseller lists or award lists is unattractive."

    Mary asks:
    Is this how other authors feel? Yes, some of it I can understand. But isn't some of it about promotion? If an author finally got asked (or told?) to be in hardcover, wouldn't they want to let their fans know about it? You go a great review, and this author doesn't thing it's all right to put it up on your website? (Then why get the review?) Same with making a BS list. Hell, if I made it to the top in my business I'd be burning the phone lines and taking out ads.
    I don't get it.

  2. I'm not sure what the link to the twelve days of christmas was supposed to be providing... The 12 symbols of the christian faith, or the subsequent snopes.com explanation that shows the 12 symbols are falsely identified as the origin of the song.



  3. Ah yes, the 12 days do go from Christmas onwards, but I figured that if I posted my little collection the right way round – between Christmas and New Year – no bugger would be around to read the damn things.


  4. Anonymous2:52 PM

    Erin wrote: I'm not sure what the link to the twelve days of christmas was supposed to be providing...

    Both sides of the argument, I hope (which is why I linked to a page with both the pro-symbolic and anti-symbolic stands.) I think I'll tweak the post to show that a little more clearly.

  5. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Interesting page about the symbolism of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." I'd never heard about that before. The symbolism was probably invented after the fact, but as you said, it doesn't really matter anyway. And it does show that you can squeeze symbolism out of pretty much anything.

  6. Ah well, so I'm a bit early with my 12 Days of Christmas Giving blogs. But...I'd rather be early than late with that because the whole idea is to include the charities in the holiday giving which people will feel good and done with by Christmas I'm sure. :)

  7. Spinal Tap! You just went up another notch in the 'cool person' chart.

  8. Anonymous5:02 AM

    Natalie, who is up sleeping next to me as I write this at 4:56 a.m., is worth missing the Christmas tree.

    Meantime, that "outlawed Catholics" reason for the 12 Days of Christmas has always confused me -- Anglicans, after all, have that same creed. So why have a song like this when, in fact, the dominant church of England at the time had all that stuff? Nobody would need to hide this particular information.

    And given the actual words of the song, I don't see why it probably wasn't just a fun counting song with the kinds of gifts one might expect to give to a "true love" in some high-falutin' way.

    Still, nobody needs any Lords A-Leaping, but five gold rings always come in handy.

  9. Anonymous8:04 AM

    Dear Santa,
    Could you please eliminate whining authors who complain all the time? They're making the rest of us look bad. Thanks!


    And complete sympathy on the cat-assisted Christmas. *-* My three have already managed to take out ornaments, pull out fake pine needles (I shudder to think what would happen with a real tree), and unwrap the presents under the tree. *~* It's a good thing I love them so much.


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