Andy Griffith once calculated what it would cost to give the Twelve Days of Christmas

"Plus sales tax."

The Everett Collection

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" is, at its heart, a song about someone showing their love through gifts. After all, what's more romantic than... waterfowl? We'll take the five golden rings happily, but the lords a-leaping... well, people have given worse gifts.

In a 1969 Christmas episode of The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, that was exactly what Glen Campbell told his guest, Andy Griffith. Andy, at that time, was fresh off the success of The Andy Griffith Show. Campbell tells Griffith that he's going all out on the romance this year by gifting his wife the gifts described in "The Twelve Days of Christmas". He brags it won't cost nearly anything, at which point Griffith calls for an adding machine and a choir to walk through the song and tally up the costs.

Here's Andy's calculations for each gift:

A partridge in a pear tree:

$10 for the partridge, $6.75 for the pear tree, and $2.98 for the pot to put it in.

Two turtledoves:

$14 for each, plus $43 for the cage.

Three French hens:

"Now if you get the layers, at least you can get somethin' back on the eggs." $45 for the hens, plus $500 because "you've got to have a chicken coop."

Four calling birds:

Griffith decides these must be a "talking bird" like a parrot, so they can tell Campbell's wife he loves her. $300 for the parrots and cages, plus $600 more for a parrot trainer so they don't call Campbell's wife by another woman's name, since "that'd ruin your whole Christmas."

Five golden rings:

$500 for all of the rings.

Six geese a-laying:

$120 for the geese, plus $750 for a goose pen.

Seven swans a-swimming: 

$700 for the swans, and $5,000 to re-landscape Campbell's property to add a pond for them. Campbell argues that he could just put the swans in the tub, but Griffith rebukes him with "wouldn't they feel foolish?"

Eight maids a-milking:

$200 for the maids' time, plus $4,000 for the milking cows, $100 for feed, and $20,000 for a new barn.

Nine ladies dancing:

"Now nine dancers gotta be at least a couple of thousand, plus another thousand for the choreographer." 

Ten lords a-leaping:

"I would say that your average lord wouldn't take too kindly to flying all the way from London to Glen Campbell's house on Christmas just so they can leap for the little lady." Airfare, hotels, and pocket money Griffith estimates at $8,500.

Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming:

Griffith suggests that the combined pipers and drummers will cost about $2,000.... but Campbell will have to remodel his living room to fit all of them in, which will cost much more. Campbell argues about this, and Griffith concedes that "you know, you're right. After all them birds and cows and swans been in there, you gonna have to sell your house. You'll be lucky to get much for it after all them animals been in there." They agree on a $10,000 loss from the sale of the house.

All added up, Campbell and Griffith peer at a receipt for $210,304.15.

"Plus sales tax," Griffith cheerfully offers. "Why don't you get your wife what I'm gettin' mine?"

"What're you getting her?" Campbell asks.

"Bottle of perfume."

Watch The Andy Griffith Show on MeTV!

Weeknights at 8 & 8:30, Sundays at 6 & 6:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
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19 Comments

ThomasPotter 6 months ago
I have always wondered how "ten lords a leaping" was a romantic gift.....
harrigan7922 6 months ago
Just think if people were like that today the world would be a better place. No greed, no hate, no violence just piece of love.
Coldnorth harrigan7922 5 months ago
And a lot of respect
Tresix 6 months ago
I remember a newspaper article that did a breakdown in the Eighties. They even had some (Chicago) stores and talent agencies where you could purchase or hire the “presents”.

One thing I’ve noticed about this song: The singer doesn’t give the “true love” one gift in return! Wonder what would happen if this person dated the person from the song “Santa Baby”. Also, what is with all of the birds? And does the “true love” give the previous day’s gift again? For example, does this person get 12 partridges by the time they get to day 12?
Moverfan Tresix 6 months ago
Twelve partridges, twenty-two turtledoves, thirty French hens, thirty-two calling birds...does anybody know who we have to talk to about a permit for all these birds?
Tresix Moverfan 6 months ago
It would be 24 turtle doves. But does the true love give the previous gift with the new one? Why would they repeat the gift?
Chris23bradshaw Tresix 5 months ago
No, 22 is correct. They aren’t given on day 1, so 2x11=22.
Mark 6 months ago
You can put a price on all those things, but talents like Andy Griffith and Glen Campbell are priceless! I miss both of them.
RobertK 6 months ago
This is priceless! (no pun intended) This was in 1969, I wouldn't want to even think about what it would cost in today's dollars... Yup, a bottle of perfume it shall be!!!
ETristanBooth RobertK 6 months ago
$1,758,243.40 in 2023
LoveMETV22 6 months ago
Great article. Fun to read and even more fun to watch.
ThomasPotter LoveMETV22 6 months ago
Thank you for posting this video, it was very enjoyable to watch
LoveMETV22 ThomasPotter 6 months ago
Your Welcome. I sometimes when reading an article like to see if there is video that goes along with it, like in this story and hopefully on YouTube so that it can be shared here. It's not always available for every story/article they do, but when there is something, it's fun to share.
DeborahRoberts LoveMETV22 6 months ago
Thanks so much for posting!
Runeshaper 6 months ago
Hahaha 😆 bottle of perfume for win 🏆!
Irish 6 months ago
WOW!!! I'D RATHER HAVE A CAR OR A HOUSE!!!🎁
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