What’s the Deal with The Twelve Days of Christmas? In Case Anyone Else was Wondering

Every year around this time–surrounded by Christmas carols including The Twelve Days of Christmas–I wonder, how can there possibly be twelve days of Christmas? My thought process generally follows a similar path as Bob and Doug McKenzie:

You’ve got Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And you could count Boxing day, so that’s Three. New Year’s Eve plus New Years day makes five. But even if you count all the days in between that only brings it up to nine. How do you get twelve? The traditional school break is two weeks, but that’s more like sixteen days if you count weekends, so that doesn’t work either.

Then I listen to Bob and Doug trying to sing Twelve Days of Christmas, I laugh, and forget the whole thing for another year.

This year I finally decided to solve this problem the way we solve all our problems in the modern world. I took eight seconds to Google it. It turns out the Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, officially starts on Christmas Day and ends with the Festival of Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, on January 6th when, traditionally, king cake is consumed and Christmas decorations are taken down.

Mystery solved. You’re welcome.

You may notice counting the days inclusively brings the total to thirteen, but I think it’s actually the number of nights that’s significant. The timing for taking down Christmas decorations is the only part of this that resonates with my personal experience, but even that ‘tradition’ seems to be fading. We’ve been known to leave our lights up until March, and we’re not the only ones. I can’t deny a thread of laziness here, but it’s also an attempt to make darkness at 5pm and freezing cold a little less depressing.

I will leave you with a link to Bob and Doug’s rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Lots of gift ideas in there for your Canadian friends 😉

Haggis…or Not

I’ve never been to Scotland (it is on my list). I might have some Scottish heritage, I’m not really sure. I certainly wasn’t raised with any connection to the culture. Thus, it’s really not for me to say…but um…vegetarian haggis?

According to Merriam-Webster haggis is “a traditionally Scottish dish that consists of the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep or a calf minced with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the animal”.

From what I understand the actual stomach is optional by present-day standards. But, just like calling it cheese doesn’t make it so, I’m pretty sure removing the meat makes it, well, not haggis.

Points to note:

This is not intended as a dig at vegetarianism or any other diet choice. It’s a dig at the incongruous naming of food items.

The pub this menu belongs to is very nice. The food was good, so was the service, and this dish (whatever you call it) is probably tasty. I can’t vouch for it specifically as I opted for fries and deep-fried pickles.

Marketing: Snake Venom

When I was in university, my friends and I would occasionally go to the nearest Shoppers Drug Mart and buy some of their face masks. We would then go back to the dorm and, usually with a beverage or two (or more) in hand, do the whole cucumber slices on the eyes thing while whatever moisturising, nourishing, anti-wrinkle (a big deal at nineteen, you know), exfoliating goo did its work.

Aside from these luxuriating events, my skin care routine in those days consisted of soap and sunscreen. This hasn’t changed much other than I now also, occasionally, use a moisturiser other than sunscreen. Thus, I have never purchased one of these face masks to use on my own. However, I do sometimes think about buying one. I tell myself that I’m going to pick out a mask. Then tonight I’ll have a bubble bath, use my mask, pour a glass of wine…

I’m usually in Shoppers, because I’m out of shampoo or I need new nail clippers, when I have this idea. So far, I’ve only ever gotten as far as scanning the face mask selection before I remember I only enjoy slathering goo on my face when in the company of friends. The same rule applies to nail polish. The wine is good too, but wine alone is not sufficient to make the goo and polish fun for me.

All that to say, I was at Shoppers today perusing the selection of face masks. The expected varieties were there: aloe vera, argon oil, coconut and papaya, various citrus fruits and oils, cocoa and shea butter with a picture that looked like chocolate pudding (I was hungry).

Then there was the volcanic ash and blue-green algae mask. At this point, I would have raised one eyebrow if I were capable of moving my eyebrows independently. That brow would not have been alone for long, however, because next I saw the caviar and pearl dust mask. I can only imagine the high-quality pearls that went into this 5-dollar product. Neither of these were my favorite, though.

This was my favourite:

The synthetic snake venom anti-aging mask. Obviously, seeing as the venom is (gasp) synthetic, this mask may not appeal to the all-natural, organic-only community. I imagine ongoing debates about the merits of synthetic vs genuine snake venom are forthcoming. Note, however, this mask is labeled paraben free. Parabens are exactly what I’d be worried about while smearing snake venom on my face.

Yet again, I left the store without purchasing a face mask.

Beer Delivery

Last night I thought to myself, “Self, I might like a beer tonight.”

Self replied, “It’s Monday.”

Me: “So?”

Self: “Do you really need beer on a Monday?”

Me: “I didn’t say I need a beer, I said I might like a beer.”

Self: “Too bad. There’s no beer in the fridge.”

Me: “Oh. Well, that’s easily fixed.”

Self: “Really? Do you really want to get in the car and drive halfway across town to the Beer Store? There are only so many hours between Kiddo’s bedtime and the time you turn into a pumpkin. And weren’t you going to do some writing tonight.”

Me: “Hmm good point, Self. Still, we should get beer sometime this week so we have it for the weekend. We have company coming after all. And it’s Canada Day weekend. If I wait until Friday the Beer Store will be way too busy. It won’t take too long, I’ll still get my writing done. I promise.”

Self: “Whatever you say.”

I told Hubby my plan to go get beer. He was supportive. He did request that I swing by the Shell station on the way home and get some of those garbage tax tags as it’s garbage day and we might be over the limit this week. No problem. I grabbed my wallet and keys.

On my way down the street, I noticed dark clouds on the horizon. By the time I was across the bridge raindrops were falling.

By the time I got across town Armageddon had arrived. Sheets of rain and ice pellets were coating my windshield faster than my wipers could swipe them away. I know hail is common during thunderstorms, but I have a grudge against Nature when she makes me deal with frozen water from the sky in June.

I was seriously reconsidering how badly I wanted that beer. But the Beer Store was in sight, so I pulled into the parking lot. I turned on a podcast and waited for the onslaught to let up. Eventually it did. Sort of. I got beer.

I went to the convenience store closest to the Beer Store. Turns out, they don’t sell garbage tags. There was a Shell across the street. Not the one we usually go to, but if one Shell sells them…it’ll be faster if I just jog over. By this time it was raining again. They don’t sell garbage tags either. I gave up, ran back to my car, and drove to our usual Shell station. I got garbage tags.

I came home soggy. I had a shower, and some tea, and a beer. I didn’t get my writing done.

Which brings me to today. Our Tuesday morning routine went as usual: dropped Kiddo at daycare, Hubby and I went to the gym, I dropped Hubby at work. On the way home, this came on the radio:

Have you ever found yourself sitting on the couch in the evening thinking, ‘Boy, I’d really like a beer.’


Only, you realize you don’t have any beer in the fridge. And you don’t really want to go all the way to the store to get one.

(It’s like they know me)

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have beer delivered to your door?

(That would be so great)

As it happens, starting today, the Beer Store in Ottawa will be trying beer delivery on a trial basis. I no longer live in Ottawa, so I won’t benefit unless it’s successful enough for the Beer Store to expand this idea to other locations. My first thought was, “Cool! It’ll be great if that catches on.”

My second thought brought me back to university, and I realized we were all probably better off that it took considerably more effort to get our hands on alcohol than it did to get a pizza. I can probably continue to survive without beer delivery.

On the other hand, if the liquor store got on board and we could get delivery wine…ok, ok I don’t really need that either. The list of reasons to leave the house is getting pretty small as it is (thanks, Amazon).

Cricket Candy

I recently came across these in a candy store:

Cricket and larva candy? Much too real looking to be appetizing, if you ask me. Turns out, that’s because…

…they are the real deal. The other green meat?

They’re a popular item, according to the lady working behind the counter. I opted for the saltwater taffy instead.