Our Twelve Days of Christmas Dinner Party on Twelfth Night!

by | Jan 8, 2013 | Twelve Days of Christmas | 20 comments

I mentioned the other night that I was planningTwelve Days of Christmas Dinner Party on Twelfth Night for my family!  I was able to make it to the grocery story after a lovely (early birthday) dinner date with my husband on Friday night and found almost everything on my list.  (Sean left early Sunday morning for another out of state training session and will be gone for three weeks… Please keep his safety, and my sanity, in your prayers!)   While Sean packed and prepared for his trip, I had fun in the kitchen creating this Twelfth Night/Epiphany Party for our family!  We enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner and then went to the Vigil Mass before coming home for dessert and games, before taking down our tree… I was so sad to see it go, but it is now quickly drying out, and the thought of me trying to wrestle it out of the house with the boys didn’t sound like too much fun! 😉  I did, however, keep the little trees and lights by the fireplace, and our nativity and Christ Candle will remain out until Candlemas!   

Inspired by the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, I came up with twelve menu items for our party. Legend has it that each gift represents an aspect of our faith and it has been said that this song was used to help teach catechism to children when religious instruction was prohibited.  Whether or not this is true, I just love all the symbolism and am always looking for ways to teach my children more about our faith.  (Note:  You can find our Twelve Days of Christmas Lap Book here.)  When creating the menu I drew from both the original gifts and the Catholic aspects of our faith which they symbolize.

I set the table with a red tablecloth and our Silent Night Table Runner, moved our Twelve Days of Christmas Ornaments from the kitchen to the table as well, and used the lovely new little ornaments from Jesse Tree Treasures to place next to each food item.

.: The Menu :.

Eight Maids-a-Milking Eggnog and/or Pure White Punch

Four Calling Birds Chicken Wings or Salad with Grilled Chicken
Five Golden Onion Rings with Dipping Sauce
Six Geese-a-Laying Deviled Eggs or Egg Salad
Seven Swan’s a Swimming Bean Dip
Nine Ladies Dancing Fruits of the Holy Spirit Salad
Twelve Drummer’s Drumming Chicken Drumsticks

Ten (Lord’s a Leaping) Commandment Cookies
Eleven Piper’s Pretzel Rod Pipes and/or Chocolate Choir of Angels

I did end up making a few modifications to my planned menu, based on what I was able to find shopping.  Here are some pictures of what we came up with: 
.: A Partridge in a Pear Tree :.

Partridge in a Pear Tree = 1 Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, on the Cross

When I saw the Partridge in a Pear Tree Pie over at Taste of Home, I knew I had to try making it… It was pretty simple and turned out so cute and delicious.   I didn’t have a partridge cookie cutter so I just hand cut a design with a butter knife.  I also added some little leaves and cross shapes as well.

.: Two Turtle Doves :.

Two Turtle Doves = 2 Testaments (Old & New) 
Turtle Dove Chocolates!  You can find the recipe at Catholic Cuisine
.: Three French Hens :.

Three French Hens = 3 Gifts of the Magi and/or 3 Virtues, Faith, Hope & Love
I made our Twelfth Night Rum Cake with three Chocolate Coins hidden inside.  I had a small gift for each person that found a coin in their slice.  (This year it was my husband, Chiquita and Snuggles.)

I also made some Gluten Free Mini Rum Cakes, and used Coconut Sugar for the rum syrup.  You couldn’t even tell the difference. (I knew I needed some healthier options for myself or I’d never be able to resist a couple of the treats.  

.: Four Calling Birds :.

Four Calling Birds = 4 Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
I planned to pick up four kinds of Chicken Wings/Appetizers for this menu item, but that was the one thing I forget to get at the store.   Grilled Chicken on top of Salad, or even bird shaped sandwiches would have worked as well.  Our meal was made up of mostly appetizers and desserts, but a chicken main dish could be easily incorporated here too.

Instead, I just ended up pulling our our Church Windows game for the kids to play – tying in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the 4 Gospel Writers.

.: Five Golden Rings :.

Five Golden Rings = 5 Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Snuggles (by far our pickiest eater) decided to try one of these “Golden Rings” (Onion Rings). After taking a couple bites he asked “What’s inside this?” When nobody gave him a direct answer, just asked if he was going to eat the rest, he said, “No… It tastes odd!” lol Next time I think I might opt for dried apple rings!  
.: Six Geese A-Laying :.

Six Geese A-Laying = 6 Days of Creation
Deviled Eggs made a yummy and healthy addition to the party and tied in nicely to the six geese a-laying!
.: Seven Swans A-Swimming :.

Seven Swans A-Swimming = 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Since the seven swans a-swimming represents the seven gifts of the holy spirit, I decided to serve our Pentecost seven layer dip with chips.
.: Eight Maids A-Milking :.

Eight Maid A-Milking = 8 Beatitudes
I already had some eggnog leftover from Christmas.  
.: Nine Ladies Dancing :.

Nine Ladies Dancing = 9 Fruits of the Spirit
A simple fruit salad made from nine fresh fruits: Kiwi, Banana, Apple, Pear, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Red Grapes, Oranges, and Pineapple. 
.: Ten Lords A-Leeping :.

Ten Lords A-Leeping = 10 Commandments
Pepperidge Milano Cookies with the Roman Numerals written with black sparkle gel.

.: Eleven Pipers Piping :.

Eleven Pipers Piping = 11 Faithful Apostles 
Pretzel Rod Pipes and A Choir of Chocolate Angels to match the beautiful illustrations in our book

.: Twelve Drummers Drumming :.

Twelve Drummers Drumming = 12 Points of the Apostles Creed
Originally I was going to make Chicken Drumsticks, but when I saw these Chicken Drumellas at Trader Joe’s I thought they would be perfect quick and easy! 
.: Picture Books :.

Twelve Days of Christmas Picture Books: 

The Twelve Days of Christmas Illustrated by Laurel Long
The Twelve Days of Christmas Illustrated by Jan Brett
The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Christmas Pop-Up Illustrated byJohn Patience
The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Story Behind a Favorite Christmas Song (not pictured)

Epiphany Picture Books Pictured:

The Last Straw by Frederick H. Thury
The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park
Baboushka and the Three Kings by Ruth Robbins
We Three Kings Illustrated by Gennady Spirin

Three Kings Original Gifts of Christmas: Gold Frankincense & Myrrh Deluxe Three Box Set


  1. Kerry Wolf

    Wow Jess! Amazing! I bet the family loved it–even if little Bud didn't make it all the way through, lol! Your ideas are so unique and inspirational.

  2. Grace Hincapie

    Wonderful celebration Jessica! And thank you so much for sharing, I will have remember that for at Christmas!

  3. fadfd

    Super cute! And the illustrations are amazing!

  4. fadfd

    Super cute! And the illustrations are amazing!

  5. Jacqui

    Just lovely! Totally doing this next year 😉

  6. Angie

    You did it again. This is amazing!! I can hardly wait until next year to try it.
    I will be praying for you while Sean is gone.

  7. Anonymous

    Amazing! Looks like so much fun and quite tasty too!

  8. Alyssa

    where did you get those beautiful cards by each of your items and your ornaments…

  9. Jessica Gordon

    The cards are actually a little set of wooden ornaments from Jesse Tree Treasures. You can find the link in the post, just above "The Menu."

    I found my set of ornaments, along with the stand, at a Homeschool Conference a number of years ago second hand for just $10! They are made by Kirkland (Costco).

  10. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you for the prayers! They are very much appreciated!

  11. Krista

    Just curious – do you take down the ornaments in the little trees as well or leave those on until Candlemas? I've got the O Antiphons and 12 Days of Christmas ornaments in a little fake tree with lights and just don't want to take them off – yet! I did take down the Jesse Tree this afternoon, however…. 🙁

  12. CeAnne @ Sanctus Simplicitus

    Looks yummy and fun! Makes me Hungary 🙂 I would LOVE to find out if this legend is true, perhaps Dear st. Anthony will find us an imprimatured book on it!

  13. Krista

    I would, too! If you ever DO find something on it, please let us know!

  14. Elena LaVictoire

    How beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. I am adding this to my Advent/Christmas Links page.

  15. Andrea

    Do you have a favorite between the two "Twelve Days of Christmas" books: Laurel Long
    or Jan Brett? Thank you, thank you! I love your blog. May God bless you and your family.

  16. Jessica Gordon

    Ooh! They are both great, but I think I prefer the Laurel Long. 🙂

  17. Andrea

    Thanks so much!

  18. Unknown

    This is just so precious ! I am a grandmother now but did all things raising 3 children bringing the religious significance to each event throughout the year. Love our Faith. I now do it for the grandchildren with a little less energy but every bit of love. You will lead a happy life no matter what comes your way. Thank you for sharing and God bless you and your family ❣❣❣❣

  19. Unknown

    Love Love Love all this. Thank you!
    There is actually 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit. I cant seem to figure in any research why its often published with the song as 9 fruits (Im thinking it has to do with the timeframe? Im looking to research and understand why) Anyway, it seems amiss and its published in most articles as so but with no explanation as there are 12 fruits and not nine. Seton publishes in their book the same except that (7 sacraments, and 9 Choirs of Angels.)

  20. Unknown

    This is just so precious ! I am a grandmother now but did all things raising 3 children bringing the religious significance to each event throughout the year. Love our Faith. I now do it for the grandchildren with a little less energy but every bit of love. You will lead a happy life no matter what comes your way. Thank you for sharing and God bless you and your family ❣❣❣❣


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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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