Buying a Christmas present for your loved one can be a pretty stressful experience.
Do you go for something small or expensive? If you go for the latter, how big do you go? Does either of you dare set a maximum price? You don’t want to embarrass them after all.
Well, if you felt this was the year you were really going to go for it and let them know how you feel in gift format, it would be hard to be more lavish than the guy (or girl) in The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Not only is sending your loved one a festive gift on 12 consecutive days incredibly thoughtful, it also takes one hell of a lot to organise.
Add to that the hassle of obtaining some of the presents in the first place and it really is quite the statement.
So feeling a little like we were in an episode of The Apprentice we set about trying to get a price for each item on the list to give you a rough estimate of what you can expect.
The total is at the bottom but if you wanted a clue before you get there, you will need very deep pockets indeed.
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The first thing you’ll realise when trying to compile all your gifts is that there are loads of ways you can cut corners.
For instance, do you get an actual partridge or just go down HMV and buy a copy of Alan Partridge Alpha Papa for £2.99 and stick it to a tree.
We took the approach of ‘try explaining that to Lord Sugar in the boardroom’ and, if you can’t, don’t do it.
So with that in mind we decided to get the price for a real partridge (an adult not chick) and Pear tree.
A fully-grown partridge will set you back £5 from Welland Valley Game and if you wanted to buy a pear tree you can do so for £19.50 from Pormona Fruits.
Two Turtle Doves
It will become apparent to you quite quickly that turtle doves are great for a shortcut and you will be tempted because the real deal is hard to track down.
But if you can avoid the temptation to buy two ornaments (£15 from eBay) or even adopt two (£40 from Sussex Wildlife Trust) then you’re looking at a fair outlay.
We should add at this point that we are novices when it comes to buying doves or many of the items below, so if you can find a better deal then fair play.
However, as far as we could tell, the sort of cost you’re looking at for a legitimate pair of Turtle Doves is £150, based on an expired Bird Trader advert.
Cost: £150 Running total: £174.50
Three French Hens
It appears the term French hen is fairly vague so you have the opportunity to be a bit liberal with this one.
We decided to call up Northamptonshire-based Mini Medaows Farm, which sells a huge variety of hens, for some advice.
They quoted us £17 each for something akin to a French Hen (a ranger or copper black) and despite some less than impressive negotiating we were unable to a seal a deal for three.
Cost: £51 Running total: £225.50
Four Calling Birds
Our first port of call with four calling birds was typing ‘what are calling birds?’ into Google.
And it turns out that there are all sorts of things you can do.
According to Mental Floss, a calling bird is another name for a ‘colly bird’, which is an old term for blackbirds, but the line was at other times ‘canary birds’ or ‘mockingbirds.’
Canaries are prettier than blackbirds and useful down a mine so we opted for those at a cost of £20 each.
Cost: £80 Running total: £305.50
Five Gold Rings
Next up gold rings. This is a cornerstone of the song, you really sing it, so you want it to be good.
But, on the other hand, things are getting expensive by this point.
If you’re rich enough to buy five solid gold rings go for it, but if you’re happy with scrimping on some gold-plated rings you can get them for £17.50 each from H Samuel.
Cost: £87.50 Running total: £393
Six Geese a-Laying
Don’t make a fatal error with this one that would be sure to see you fired.
Not only do you need geese but you need geese that you can lay eggs, so female geese. Remember that. .
We called Henlee Chickens in Nottinghamshire who sell them for between £20 and £25 each.
Asking for a deal, we were quoted £140 for six, which we greedily snapped up, only to realise later that 6 x £20 is actually £120.
Cost: £120 (if you’re not an idiot) Running total: £513
Seven Swans a-Swimming
Getting certain swans is complicated because as the RSPB explains The Queen has a prerogative over all swans in England and Wales and does actually own all unmuted swan on The Thames by default.
However, you can still buy them from certain breeders.
Moonridge Farm quoted us £150 each for seven Black Swans, sending our total cost shooting up to over a grand.
You’re next challenge is to set them swimming. You know your own circumstances better than us but a paddling pool is a cheap option from £2.50 upwards.
Cost: £1,052.50 Running total: £1,565.50
Eight Maids a-Milking
A logistical nightmare.
But assuming you have ready access to eight cows, or will be given access to them for free, then all you need to worry about his hiring eight female diary workers.
According to Farmers Weekly, the average female farm worker in the UK is paid £11.14 an hour.
If you get eight of them to work for a full day (eight hours), it’s going to cost you £712.96 – let’s hope your partner is suitably impressed.
Cost: £712.96 Running total: £2278.46
Nine Ladies Dancing
The options with this are endless and are actually fairly stressful to consider all at once.
Depending on how you’re feeling and what your partner is into you could go from something like ballet to the other end of the scale, pole dancing (we didn’t look into that one).
But since it’s Christmas we thought we’d go with a dance troop who could provide a variety of entertainment.
Leicestershire-based A-List Entertianment can do anything from Las Vegas to a Bollywood theme.
Their price structure is complicated by how many dancers are used but for nine it’s £1,245.
Cost: £1,245 Running total: £3523.46
Ten Lords a-Leaping
If you can pull this one off fair play.
Lord Sugar would of course point blank fire you on the spot if you dared to ask him so you’d have to branch out.
We called Lord West of Spithead to see how much he’d charge us.
To our surprise the first thing the Labour representative pointed out was that he’d leapt about for a calendar before with ten other Lords for free.
Thinking that we’d got ourselves a fantastic deal, he then dashed our hopes by adding that it was for charity and that he’d typically charge £5,000 for day for something he didn’t want to do.
Appealing to his gentler side, and asking if he’d support us in our bid to woo our one true love, he dropped down to £500, which we’ve taken as an average.
Cost: £5,000 Running total: £8523.46
Eleven Pipers Piping
If you have eleven pipes and eleven mates who can play them this could cost you very little.
However, we had none of the above, and struggling to find pipe players in 2016 we found a group of bagpipe players who were happy to help us out.
The City of London Pipeband could provide 11 bagpipe players for £250 a head and have good availability on January 4 (which is when you’d need them)
Cost: £2,750 Running total: £11273.46
Twelve Drummers Drumming
Almost there and starting to lose the will but we press on, inspired by how much we’d impress our figurative partner if we pulled this off.
Drumming like dancing is varied but we managed to get a quote from Talking Drums for twelve drummers for a cool £3,000 – a slight knock down from the individual price of £300 a head.
Total cost: £14,273.46
P.s. If you added up the total cost of the gifts each time they are mentioned in the song, it actually costs far more but we doubt you want to do that.