The Twenty-Five Days of Christmas

Blanton & Kaput modify the Christmas carol The Twelve Days of Christmas for an algebraic reasoning task befitting the season:

How many gifts did your true love receive on each day? If the song was titled “The Twenty-Five Days of Christmas,” how many gifts would your true love receive on the twenty-fifth day? How many total gifts did she or he receive on the first two days? The first three days? The first four days? How many gifts did she or he receive on all twelve days?

“The X Days of Christmas.” I like it.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Ha! I used to have 7th graders calculate the number of gifts each day, the total number of gifts at the end of the 12 days… and even write and perform (in costume) cheesy “Math Carols” (think, Ge-o-me-tree Ge-o-me-tree! to the tune of Oh Christmas Tree! It was very, very corny!)

    I have never thought of the “x” days of Christmas extension. I like it too.

  2. For those teaching in classrooms with students who celebrate holidays other than xmas, you can do this same problem with Hanukkah candles lit and burned all the way down over the 8 (or more!) days. In the past, I have let the students pick between the two problems.

  3. There is a great lesson by Hallie Foster that was published in the CMC Communicator back in September 2011. I don’t have a link but would be happy to send it to anyone who is interested.

  4. @Dan – I love your comment. I used to do this with my 4th graders and it was interesting to see which students crumbled and which ones persisted. Not everyone loves the “challenge”.