This past week, Twinkle Toes has been singing The Twelve Days of Christmas ever since she was given a bookmark on our way out of Mass on Christmas Day. She was thrilled when I asked her if she wanted to make a 12 Days of Christmas Lapbook and learn the symbolism behind the words of this song.
Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829 were prohibited by law to practice their faith either in public or private. It was illegal to be Catholic until Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England in 1829.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as one of the “catechism songs” to help young Catholics learn the basics of their faith. In short, it was a coded-message, a memory aid. Since the song sounded like rhyming nonsense, young Catholics could sing the song without fear of imprisonment. The authorities would not know that it was a religious song.
“The 12 Days of Christmas” is in a sense an allegory. Each of the items in the song represents something significant to the teachings of the Catholic faith. The hidden meaning of each gift was designed to help Catholic children learn their faith. The better acquainted one is with the Bible, the more these interpretations have significance. Source
Whether or not the above is true, I love anything that helps teach my children their catechism! 🙂
I wanted to point out, that although I got the directions and mini-books for this lapbook from Homeschool Share, they DID NEED TO BE MODIFIED. I’ll include the links to all the pdf files in this post, as well as any modifications needed to correct the errors, in case any of you plan to make one as well. Next year I will probably purchase this Catholic version for the boys.
We read The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett, listened to the song, and then got started. We used four red file folders, gluing each additional folder onto the back of the right side flap, making a double “Double Lapbook”. (Here is an old post of mine which shows how to make lapbooks.) Next we printed out this Pdf and glued it on to our cover.
On the left is the Song Layer book which includes all the words to the song. In the middle there are 12 Matchbooks. Each Matchbook shows an item from the song and inside what Biblical item it represents. On the left there is a simple fold book with the origins of the song.
The partridge in a pear tree is Christ Jesus upon the Cross In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge because she would feign injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She was even willing to die for them. The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the symbol of its redemption by Jesus Christ on the tree of the Cross.
The two Turtle Doves refer to the 2 parts of the Bible, the Old and New Testaments. (For this we have a God’s Word Three Circle book, a Bible Flap Book (this needs to be corrected to: 46 Books in the Old Testament), and Old and New Testament Pockets with Old Testament and New Testament Flash cards printed on cardstock.) NOTE: I added flashcards for the seven books of the bible that the Protestants erroneously reject: Wisdom, Tobit, Sirach, Judith, 1st Maccabees, 2nd Maccabees, and Baruch.
The “three French hens” stand for faith, hope and love—the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (1 Corinthians 13). It can also remind us of the three gifts that the Christ Child received from the Magi as well.
The “four calling birds” refers to the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ. We used this simple petal book, but you could also use this tab book.
The “five golden rings” represents the first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
The “six geese a laying” represent the Six days of creation. This was our first time making a flag book. It was a bit tricky, but these instructions really helped. What didn’t help is when we took a break and came back to find it cut to pieces by a little sister who “wanted to help!” After the book was made, we drew in pictures for each day: Day 1) “Let there be light.” Day 2) God created the firmament, the sky and the clouds. Day 3) God separated the waters of the earth from the land. He also made the grasses, flowers, trees, and fruit. Day 4) God made the sun and the moon and the stars. Day 5) God created the fishes and the birds. Day 6) God created animals and man.
The “seven swans a-swimming” refers to the Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. NOTE: Instead of using the names provided at the previous link, we used: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. The “seven swans a-swimming” can also refer to the Seven Sacraments!! I think we may go back and a mini book of these to the lap book too!
On the left flap Twinkle Toes wanted to glue in a couple of her bookmarks. This would have been a great spot to add the Seven Sacraments.
The “eight maids a milking” reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.
The “nine ladies dancing” were the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. We used the accordion book, but you can also use this Sentence Strip Book. Also, it is hard to keep accordion books closed, so we glued in a ribbon behind it so we could tie it shut.
The “ten lords a-leaping” represents the Ten Commandments. NOTE: YIKES!!! I did use this template for Ten Commandments, however, I JUST used the first page, and wrote in the CORRECT 10 Commandments.
The ‘twelve drummers drumming” are the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed.
There is SO much information in this lapbook!! I love it!! I am sure we will be referring back to it often as she works on memorizing some of these things.