“The 12 Days Of Christmas” attracts bad parodies like a partridge to a pear tree. But your true loves deserve better! Get your Ladies dancing and your Lords a leaping with these awesome covers of this essential holiday classic.
This is either really cute or kinda creepy. I haven’t decided. Either way, it’s awesome and a must-have. Also, the only time you’ll hear the phrase “a most lovely lavender tie” uttered.
Why it’s a must-have: It’s Ol’ Blue Eyes – no other reason needed.
If you like this, then check out: the slightly awkward version sung by Johnny Cash and his family and friends.
11. The cast of Twin Peaks, 1990
The inspiration for this list, this is the weirdest version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” you’ll ever hear. Sure, it might fall squarely into the category of “parody versions that only fans will like”, but the more I listen to this, the more I’m convinced that it’s high art (emphasis on the “high”).
Why it’s a must-have: For Jack Nance’s deadpanned first day of Christmas, at least.
While this may have offended a good portion of the family in the eighties or nineties, tastes and standards have moved on - so much so that you might even call this quaint. This is as inoffensive a version as one could make about “5 STOLEN RINGS!”.
Why it’s a must-have: Because Christmas is the time to let your (metal) hair down.
9. Hawaiian Calls Orchestra & Choir, “Numbah’ One Day of Christmas”, 1974
This is no Mele Kalikimaka, but in many ways that’s a good thing. This is the real deal: Hawaiian Pidgin English that transports you straight to the luau on a balmy December evening. Yes, Virginia, there are places that celebrate Christmas in 100 degree weather. Originally recorded by Ed Kenney in 1959, this version from 1974 is my favourite.
Why this is a must-have: Because we all need a little dose of Hawaii when it’s 20 below.
If you like this, then check out: the German “Sound of Music”-inspired version by Julie Andrews and the King Singers.
Never heard of Ray Conniff? And you call yourself a hipster? I’m sure it was probably illegal in the sixties to have a cocktail party without him on the stereo. If you’re planning on hosting anything where eggnog will be served, this version is a must.
Why this is a must-have: To impress your family and friends with a dose of awesome.
If you like this, then check out: the sounds of the Mantovani Orchestra.
This is a British folk music gem that captures the spirit and warmth of Christmas. I dare you not to smile during this version.
Why it’s a must-have: It’s perfect for sing-alongs, particularly for those who forget the increasingly bizarre gifts the true love buys as the days go on.
If you like this, then check out: the beer hall stylings of Mitch Miller and the Gang.
The structure of “The 12 Days of Christmas” obviously lends itself to comedy, but it also lends itself to lounge music as well, as this list attests. This version from lesser-known crooner Vic Dana is a must if you’ll looking for that cool-Yule vibe.
Why it’s a must-have: Because this is what Christmas must sound like in “Blue Velvet”.
If you like this, then check out: the version by that other lounge music icon, Andy Williams, called “A Song And A Christmas Tree”.
Not a band that I’m overly familiar with, but I think this is the best reinterpretation of the last few years. Has a definite Blink 182/Simple Plan vibe that would fit easily into a Christmas episode of “What’s New Scooby Doo” circa 2002.
Why it’s a must-have: The catchy chorus they add to what is, let’s be honest, a pretty repetitive folk song.
If you like this, then check out: Blink 182’s pretty rockin’ Christmas ditty “Won’t Be Home For Christmas”.
4. Larry Groce, The Mike Sammes Singers and The Disneyland Sing-Along Chorus, 1979
“Five ONION rings!” Oh Goofy! This is the version I grew up with and still listen to every year. The whole Mickey gang is here, along with the dulcet tones of the underrated Larry Groce. The young (and young at heart) will love this.
Why it’s a must-have: Because it will remind you of what Christmas was like as a kid.
3. Straight No Chaser, 1998
16.5 million YouTube hits and a five-record deal on the back of this one song, is all you need to know about this version.
Why it’s a must-have: It’s pitch perfect and should tickle your funny bone (particularly after a few glasses of Christmas cheer).
If it doesn’t tickle your funny bone try: the Canadian version, eh, by Bob and Doug McKenzie (we miss you Rick Moranis!!), the happy drunk drag queen Mary Edith Pitts, Jeff Foxworthy’s redneck Christmas, Lucille Ball adding her distinctive style to the classic on The Lucy Show, and my favorite parody version from South Park (which would have made the list if it was ever finished).
The standard by which all other versions are now judged by. A perfect mix of Bing’s yuletide baritone and The Andrew Sisters’ sweet harmonies.
Why it’s a must-have: It’s Bing. There’s a reason why he’s known as “The Voice of Christmas”.
1. John Denver and The Muppets, 1979
For mine, the best version ever. (Sorry Bing.) It hits all the right musical AND comedic notes. I challenge you not to sing “ba-dum-bum-bum” after “5 gold rings” from now on.
Why it’s a must-have: It’s the one version guaranteed to bring a smile on everyone’s faces.
If you like this, then check out: The original version as shown on TV.