The Twelve Days of Christmas in N.H.Lisa Martineau
NewHampshire.com December 14. 2017 4:36AM
Ever wonder about those pesky 12 Days of Christmas?
Not "The Christmas Carol." Actually, yes. "The Christmas Carol," but more to the point, the gifts you are supposed to multiply into drummers and golden rings to bless your "true love" with.
We're not going to do that here. We just thought you might enjoy having a little fun with the 12 Days of Christmas. This led to us trying to determine which days qualify as the 'official' 12 Days. If you are of Latin heritage like myself, or you go by church calendars around the world, you probably at least acknowledge the holiday known as Three Kings Day. According to that holiday, the 12 days actually start on Christmas Day. The story gets more complicated when you consider the secular holiday. If you sing the carol you know that the 12 days must start sometime before Christmas so you can purchase the hoards of items to give to your "true love."
Sort of. We all know the secular holiday unofficially begins on Thanksgiving now, or that bling-y day known as "Black Friday." Stores are even open now on that sacred day we are supposed to be giving thanks for all the multitudes of Turtle Doves we are about to receive.
But, on which day do they start? December 1st through December 12th? Or December 14th (add 11) through December 25th? We don't really know where to officially begin, so you'll just have to follow along, but we think it's important to provide buyers time to get the gifts on the list. It also makes the most sense that all gifts - leaping lords, milking maids and drumming drummers included - should be in hand on Christmas Day.
Today. For our purposes, the 12 Days of Christmas (in N.H.) begin today. We hope we don't get in trouble with Santa, because what then? No gifts? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Clear your shopping lists, folks. And remember that this is only our version of the 12 Days of Christmas in N.H. Have a little fun with it and create your own, or let this serve as a guide.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me - a quart of maple syrup. True love is real, especially when it comes to what you put on your pancakes. Real N.H. made maple syrup is a thing here (and everywhere else too, if we are being honest). We even have a Maple Weekend in early spring where you can tour sugar houses. Gift your friends and relatives from the south a quart or two and they will love you for life. True love. In a bottle. Where can you get it? Try Fuller's Sugarhouse in Lancaster, Walker Farm in Bristol or Ben's Maple Syrup in Temple. You may have to shop around if you wait until the holidays, but some N.H. Sugar Houses do make enough maple syrup to offer it online.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me - two Monarchs tickets. Because why would you want to see a hockey game alone? Manchester's oldest professional sports team, the Manchester Monarchs, are an ECHL Hockey team that plays at SNHU Arena in Manchester. N.H. natives do love their hockey, and why not? Tickets are inexpensive, you don't have to drive to Boston, the action is non-stop, and it makes for a great date night. It's hard to hate hockey.
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me - three pork-filled pies. Also known as Tourtière to Canadians and N.H. natives alike, this meat pie is made with spices, potatoes and onions in a crispy pie crust, and often eaten with sweet pickles. You true love will be happy that he or she doesn't have to cook! Bring one to Christmas dinner. A piece of pork pie is a savory side dish that will accompany any main meal just fine. You can buy Tourtière at the supermarket but if you want a cooked pie, look no further than Newell Post Restaurant in Concord or Harvey's Bakery in Dover.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me - four Boston Pops tickets. The Boston Pops have been performing a holiday show for many years at the SNHU Arena (formerly the Verizon Wireless Arena) making it kind of a Christmas tradition. It's a highlight of the Christmas season and a treat for those north of Boston who can see the talented conductor Keith Lockhart bring some magic to Manchester. Santa Claus always shows up too! A four pack? That means you can probably bring your whole family. The kids will love the holiday sing-a-long. Or - if you are new to the true love scene, go on a double date.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me - five golden rings. This could be interpreted in more than one way. We did actually consider gold rings, before downgrading them to silver rings and finally Onion Rings. We realized the gold rings just were not very realistic. Besides, who wears five gold rings? You've already dumped a large amount of dough into this song. So we'll go with five onion rings. They are golden, and yes, your true love only gets five. You'll have to eat the rest. Best place to dine on onion rings? It's definitely not Burger King! We do understand that everyone has a budget, and, let's be honest, that zesty dipping sauce is pretty tasty. Instead, we're going to recommend a few places where you can find "the best onion rings in the state" (rated by diners) on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Check out Banners Restaurant in North Conway. You can also find some delicious onion rings at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, the Beefside Restaurant in Concord, and another favorite spot, the Pleasant Street Restaurant in Claremont. As for silver rings, you can find cute stack-able designs at Goodwill in Hooksett for under $10 a piece.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me - six eggnog cupcakes. Oh yes, we said that. They make cupcakes that taste like eggnog without the morning after hangover. Pick them up at Queen City Cupcakes in Manchester on Wednesdays. Any other day and you'll possibly be stuck with gingerbread, red velvet or peppermint stick. You can call ahead to make sure they have a half dozen. Your true love might be putting on a few pounds by now. Stay the course!
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me - seven Shaker boxes. New Hampshire's historic Shaker history can be found at Canterbury Shaker Village's Museum Store or on their website. Buy them in different sizes (or colors) and stack them on top of one another for decoration, or use them to store anything from Christmas Ornaments to crafts or other small items to keep things organized. Each oval box is individually handcrafted using fine quality woods with traditional Shaker techniques, and each one is made in New Hampshire. Another spot to buy them is at Frye's Measure Mill in Wilton. They've been at it since 1858 and their boxes come in a set of 11 Shaker Boxes from tiny to large for the purpose of stacking them. You can't go wrong with this one!
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me - eight ski lift tickets. This should offset some of the calories we've been feeding you. You can buy season tickets if you really want to splurge, but if your true love is a novice it might be best to try several different ski areas. We suggest Loon Mountain, Cranmore Mountain, Mt. Sunapee Resort, Waterville Valley Resort, Gunstock Mountain Resort, Bretton Woods, Cannon Mountain and Attitash Mountain Resort, some of which are already open in time for the holiday week. Pat's Peak in Henniker, Attitash in Bartlett and McIntyre Ski Area are also good choices for alpine skiing. And again, if you have "little" true loves, you will be able to bring them along since there's always something to do for all ages. It'll be "sick," or something like that.
For more information, visit our Ski Conditions page as we get closer and pick a day to hit the slopes!
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me - nine Christmas Carolers. Give or take a few. We're not perfect. You can hire a group and have them at your door or, if you're like us and want to sing the songs of Christmas, head to a place where you'll find carolers. Need a place to sing along? Try visiting the Friends of Stark Park in Manchester. They'll be caroling on December 17 at 2 p.m. at the bandstand. The Community Church of Durham holds Christmas Eve services and a youth pageant, followed by a Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols at 9 p.m. In Lincoln, they light the tree on Christmas Eve. Singing Christmas Carols is just part of the fun. The Loon Mountain Ministry will be offering free cookies, hot cocoa and coffee too. A popular caroling event is held on Christmas Eve on the Oval (downtown) at the gazebo. Celebrate with Open Air Caroling! The Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols in Milford was first held on Christmas Eve 1918 in London, England as a celebrating the end on the Great War. It has remained and is virtually unchanged these past 98 years. Complimentary hot drinks and refreshments will be served for both young and old to help fend off the New England weather. Rochester celebrates the eve of Christmas with The Night Before Christmas with Grace Community Church. There will be Christmas carols and special music at the Rochester Opera House. If you're in the Lakes Region, Belmont offers a Village Christmas Singalong at the bandstand. They even provide songbooks! If you're starting to break your budget, consider this. Unless you're hiring carolers, this one is free. See our Holiday Happenings page for additional opportunities to go caroling.
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me - ten pairs of skates. This one might sound puzzling, but it's not. Assuming you'll want to decorate your tree, you are going to need some ornaments. The best ornaments that are made in N.H. can be found at the League of N.H. Craftsmen online or at one of their stores. This year's ornament, Winter's Waltz, is a pewter pair of skates, designed and crafted by metal worker Walker Boyle of Antrim. This is the 30th Annual League Christmas Ornament. You might want to give some away to friends or create a themed 'ice skating' tree. Start collecting them every year and you will have a tree that is one-of-a-kind and covered with ornaments made in the Granite State. Then take your true love skating already!
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven "Heirloom Candies." These traditional treats are also known as candy canes. Your true love will adore these one-of-a-kind, delicious minty delights and - although they are sold by the pound, each piece may differ from another in weight. That means you may be getting more or less than eleven of these beauties. Nelson's Candy in Wilton creates each of their candy canes by hand. No molds! Nelson's just relies on a great recipe, a tradition of many years, and a lot of love. It's called hand pulling and Nelson's has been doing it since 1911. It's a technique that has put Nelson's on the map. They are often sold out as fast as they can make them, so you may want to call ahead if you need a specific amount. Wait until you try them. You may want to buy more than we're suggesting. At this point we aren't really counting....or are we?
Editing Update: Nelson's Candy is behind on production this year due to storm damage that closed the store earlier this fall. They are unable to keep up with demand. They will be back on track next year so be sure to keep them in mind during the holidays next year and call ahead if you have any unusual requests. We were unaware of the damage they sustained and we apologize for any inconvenience.
So, what do you think should be chosen instead? Well beer, of course. Share ten different kinds of beer from one of our many craft breweries across the state. White Birch Brewing in Hooksett has a "Winter Warmer." 603Brewery in Londonderry has one called "Fireside Smoked Porter," that is all dark and warm at the same time. A "Black Ice" ale is so named for late January's Black Ice Pond Hockey Tournament. They have one that is served with cranberries hand-picked in N.H. called the E09 Cranberry Tart which is rather festive and tasty all at once. Get this tart brown ale on tap! Then bring home a pair to share with your "true love." Remember you need eleven. Just don't drink them all at once and this will work out just fine, even if it required a trip around the state! Try the "Long Winter's Nap" Imperial Stout at Canterbury Aleworks. This one is off topic but still a part of the N.H. roundup. It's called the "John Stark Porter" and features our "Live Free or Die" state motto on the front. You'll find it at Stark Brewing Company in Manchester. At the Flying Goose Pub in New London, you'll find an "Isle of Pines Barleywine." Now THAT sounds interesting (at least to an amateur beer connoisseur). Look for the Winterhook Dark Ale at the Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth. That should get you started. Look for a place that carries local packaged beers and you might be able to "spend it all in one place."
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve cans of Moxie. That would be a 12-pack, friends. Never heard of Moxie? Either you are a millennial who hasn't yet enjoyed this bitter flavored soda or you live in a state that doesn't carry it. Moxie is a tradition dating back to 1885 when it was called Moxie Nerve Food. Rumor has it that a pharmacist created it. At the time it was said to cure many ailments, and one claim promoted "health and vigor" much like the energy drinks that millennials drink on the daily. Known for their simple orange logo, Moxie's taste is really hard to describe, a combination of bitter and sweet. Any native of New England should at least try it. Considered the state soft drink of Maine (where it was invented), Moxie has developed a cult-like following. There's even an annual Moxie Festival held in the summer. Your true love is probably wondering what the heck is in the fridge.
Here's the final song. We're going to do away with all the formalities of verses and such. These are the twelve gifts for the twelve days of Christmas in N.H.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me - a quart of maple syrup.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me - two Monarchs tickets.
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me - three pork-filled pies.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me - four Boston Pops tickets.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me - five golden rings.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, six eggnog cupcakes.
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me - seven Shaker boxes.
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me - eight ski lift tickets.
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me - nine Christmas Carolers.
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me - ten pairs of skates.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven "Heirloom Candies."
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve cans of Moxie.
Now, that's a lot of loot! Start now.