It’s on every party playlist, bombards us on the radio several times a year, and is often a fixture at school and church Christmas programs.
The “12 Days of Christmas,” an English Christmas carol that dates back to 1780, is still a going strong. Everyone knows the words, (even that too-cool-for-Christmas idiot at every gathering who pretends not to) and we’ve all found versions that make us laugh, sing-a-long or facepalm. No one, however, can escape the Christmas and holiday season without stumbling across it at least once, as avoiding it might be like trying to traverse a music minefield.
So now, in no particular order, I give you 12 of the best, weirdest and funniest versions of the 12 Days of Christmas:
12. The Muppets 12 Days of Christmas. Remember the 1979 “John Denver and The Muppets Special,” and the resulting Christmas album? I like to call it the most 70s Christmas special ever (next to the Star Wars Holiday Special, of course). This is the song from that show that still resonates. Sing along now: “Five, gooold rings…Badum, dum, dum, dum.”
John Denver & The Muppets - 12 Days of Christmas
John Denver & The Muppets singing 12 Days of Christmas from the 1979 A Christmas Together holiday special.
11. YouTuber Tyler Robinson’s 12 Days of Christmas Muppets…in One Take. Robinson has made habit of performing this every year for his YouTube audience, with some digital help. This time, he did it in one take. Pretty impressive, actually. Don't try this at home.
10. Bob and Doug McKenzie 12 Days of Christmas. Before Rick Moranis was Louis Tully in “Ghostbusters,” he and fellow comic Dave Thomas were the fictional Canadian brothers and hosts of the “Great White North,” Bob and Doug McKenzie. Their 12 Days of Christmas catering to the “hoser” sensibilities is known primarily for it’s opening oft quoted opening line…”On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…a beer.”
9. Straight No Chaser. A cappella group Straight No Chaser is just several levels of nifty, and this “12 Days of Christmas” live performance has gained more than 21 million views on YouTube. It goes off in all directions, including a venture into 1980s pop/rock. Better watch out, though, as this might cause a binge watch of many of their live shows and medleys.
Straight No Chaser - The 12 Days of Christmas (original from 1998)
Straight No Chaser performs their unique "12 Days of Christmas" for the first time, on December 7th, 1998, in the Musical Arts Center at Indiana University, in ...
8. Redneck Twelve Days of Christmas. “Whoo, someone done been to Wal-Mart!” Not to be outdone by the hosers, Blue Collar Comedy icon Jeff Foxworthy has his own version. Scoff if you want, but I actually have given “parts to a Mustang GT” as Christmas gifts. Ask my dad.
Redneck Twelve Days of Christmas
7. Twelve Pains of Christmas by Bob Rivers Comedy Corp. The Twisted Christmas album was standard issue in most college radio stations back in the day, and The Twelve Pains of Christmas was practically memorized. “Why are they blinkin?”
Bob Rivers Comedy Corp - The Twelve Pains Of Christmas (HQ)
1987 Christmas release from Courtesy of Critique/Atlantic Records
6. Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters. Mele Kalikimaka, all. Where would a Christmas list be, without Bing? Here’s his and the amazing Andrews Sisters taking on the song for Decca Records in 1951.
5. Creature Comforts discussing 12 Days of Christmas. Aardman Animations, the British stop-motion studio behind the Wallace and Gromit series, released a Christmas version of their hilarious Creature Comforts mockumentary series, in which the animals share their observations on the song’s gift choices and other Christmas conundrums.
4. Christmas Countdown by Frank Kelly. The late Irish actor lets his love Nuala (that dirty Jezebel) know exactly what he and “Mother” think of these alarming gifts.
Frank Kelly Live On top of the pops Christmas Countdown TOTP (VHS Capture)
Frank Kelly Live On top of the pops Christmas Countdown TOTP (VHS Capture) please comment like and subscribe for more from me and my video tape collection. and please ...
3. The 12 Days of Christmas by Justin Edwards (as the drunk children’s entertainer Jeremy Lion). Want to know what happens when you turn “12 Days of Christmas” into a drinking song? Ten points if you can make it through this one without laughing out loud.
2. 12 Days of Christmas On A Budget by The Odd1sOut. Really, who can afford all that stuff? The Odd1sOut presents cute, geeky and more affordable options.
1. Norm McDonald. You can’t help but love McDonald’s comic deadpan, here, which is enhanced by Steve Lawrence lending his classic voice to the mix.
For those who have made it through this list without losing their mind, I salute you. Have a very Merry Christmas.