On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... seven swans a swimming. Have you ever thought about the meaning of that song? Do you know when the seventh day of Christmas is? According to legend, the seventh day of Christmas falls on January 1st. Here's how it works: the first day of Christmas begins on the evening of Christmas day and continues through until the 26th. Day two is the 27th and so on.
Epiphany, or the 6th of January, is the twelvth day of Christmas. That is, unless you go by the Eastern Orthodox Calendar, in which case, gifts are given on January 7th and Epiphany, or Theophany, is observed on January 19th. Its actually very interesting the way it works out, but far more complicated than I could ever begin to explain. If you'd like to read up on it yourself, go to this link and you may be quite surprised at what you learn.
So the next time you hear the The Twelve Days of Christmas playing, consider how much history is actually involved. For myself, I always thought that the Twelve Days of Christmas started either December 1st or twelve days before Christmas Day. How 'bout you?