How many days before Christmas are there? The twelve days of Christmas? No, not at all. The twelve days start on December 25th and complete on the feast of the Epiphany, on January 6th.
The song that we all know so well is an English Christmas carol, published in 1780. It has been with us for hundreds of years. The version we have today comes from the English composer Frederic Austin, in 1909, when he introduced the prolongation of the verse "five gold rings".
Go to the wikipedia entry and see the table that shows the differences, variations and developments over time. The columns have the source, then the giver, and then 1 to 12 for the 12 days of gifts. There are many rows with all the changes over time. For example, it wasn't until 1966 that "My true love sent to me" became "My true love gave to me".
The song is considered to originate from a children's memory and forfeit game. Each person repeats the gifts and when he/she misses one, he pays a forfeit (a kiss or sweetmeat) for the mistake.
Are there some notable parodies? Yes - a long list in the Wikipedia entry. Still featured on the radio today is Irish actor Frank Kelly's recording "Christmas Countdown" in 1982 in which a man named Gobnait O’Lunacy receives 12 different Christmas gifts from a lady named Nuala. As each gift is received, the man gets increasingly upset with the person who sent them.
And did you know this song gave rise to a Christmas Price Index? It started in 1984. There is a total of 364 items, assuming they are repeated in full in each round of the song. The total cost for all goods and services for the 2015 Christmas Price Index is US$34,130.99 or $155,407.18 for all 364 items. In 1984, the cost was $12,623.10.
We see Charles Daley park yesterday - full of snow and tobogganing fun.