Street comes alive with the ‘12 Days of Christ­mas’

The Advance of Bucks County - - YARDLEY-MORRISVILLE AREA - By Petra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

YARDLEY BOR­OUGH – While it’s un­cer­tain whether any­one would con­sider 10 leap­ing lords an ap­pro­pri­ate hol­i­day gift, it is cer­tain that the lords, along with the other 11 gifts made fa­mous by the English carol, have be­come a tra­di­tion unto them­selves in Yardley.

Quite sim­ply, Christ­mas sim­ply wouldn’t be Christ­mas in Yardley with­out the “12 Days of Christ­mas” dis­played strate­gi­cally set up on Canal Street rooftops, yards and porches.

The unique, or­ga­nized dis­play is al­ways the talk of the town around Christ­mas. Start at one end and see a par­tridge in a pear tree. The house across the street has two tur­tle doves perched pre­car­i­ously from the fence. The dis­plays con­tinue all the way un­til the other end of the street, where 12 drum­mers are drum­ming by the home’s front door.

Cars pass by slowly as pas­sen­gers check out the fes­tive hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions. Tak­ing a ro­man­tic stroll at night, folks can see the il­lu­mi­nated characters. It’s al­most as if they nine ladies danc­ing are mov­ing if you look close enough.

The idea started at least four decades ago when Craig Hill, one of the Canal Street res­i­dents, came up with the idea of cut­ting wood into shapes, which would de­pict such things as tur­tle doves and ladies danc­ing. The idea was to vis­ually tell the story of “The Twelve Days of Christ­mas.”

Hill’s dis­plays orig­i­nated in the 1970s and ran for a cou­ple of years, but stopped. In 1989, it was res­ur­rected, ac­cord­ing to Joy Har­ring­ton, who lives in the red house on Canal Street.

“It’s been run­ning con­tin­u­ously since then,” said Har­ring­ton, a re­tired teacher.

Twelve houses on Canal Street each have a de­pic­tion of each of the 12 days.

Har­ring­ton has three wooden French hens on her roof.

“Some of them have been changed over the years,” said Har­ring­ton, “but we have the orig­i­nals from the 70s.”

Get­ting the hens on the roof was once a chal­lenge. Some­one would climb up on the roof.

“WH fiJuUHG RuW hRw WR GR LW RuW WhH win­dow be­cause we’re get­ting older,” she joked.

Each dis­play is put up at the start of the sea­son. “They have to be up for the Christ­mas Pa­rade, which was Dec. 1 this year,” Har­ring­ton said. “They will stay up un­til New Years.

Beth Tre­visani, whose Canal Street house is clos­est to East Afton Av­enue, has been spear­head­ing the project. There’s a sign in her front yard, “Wel­come to Canal Street.“

“She takes over that re­spon­si­bil­ity and mag­i­cally ev­ery­one com­plies,” Har­ring­ton said.

Har­ring­ton said it’s truly a la­bor of love. “We know peo­ple really look for­ward to it,” she said. “We cer­tainly see peo­ple walking the street, driv­ing the street and singing “The Twelve Days of Christ­mas.”

A front porch on Canal Street in Yardley features 11 pipers pip­ing.

A par­tridge sur­rounded by -- what else? -- pears hangs in a tree.

Three French hens perched on a roof on Canal Street in Yardley.

Two of the eight milk­ing maids fea­tured at a house on Canal St.

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